Fri 31st Oct 2014 | Last updated: Thu 30th Oct 2014 at 16:43pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo

Comment & Blogs

How many RE teachers actually care about the faith of their pupils? I’d like to know

Some bishops are demanding RE as part of the English Baccalaureate. But why? In Catholic schools, 90% lapse

By on Friday, 1 April 2011

Catholic school children wait for the Pope at Twickenham during the September 2010 papal visit AP Photo Peter Macdiarmid

Catholic school children wait for the Pope at Twickenham during the September 2010 papal visit AP Photo Peter Macdiarmid

Archbishop Bernard Longley has attacked the Government’s decision to leave Religious Education out of the rather weedy-looking and totally misnamed English Baccalaureate, in a lecture delivered under the auspices of the School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham. This follows a similar attack by Archbishop Nichols and a “call to action” by the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales, (which, you will recall, is one of the secularised bureaucracies attached to the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales).

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) was introduced in 2010 and is awarded to all students who achieve GCSEs (this is nothing like the much broader, far more advanced and highly prestigious French article) at grades A*-C in English, Mathematics, Science, a Humanities subject and a Modern Foreign Language. The CESEW, in its statement demanding that RE be included in it, professes quite a highflown idea of what is to be gained from this subject, which I suspect that many of those who have undergone the reality, in other words, have direct experience of what is actually on offer, will be hard put to recognise. Have a look at this:

“In RE pupils have the opportunity to engage not only with the most profound metaphysical questions concerning human existence and the nature of reality, but also with the most pressing ethical problems of our day. RE itself is a broad based humanity, demanding knowledge and skills in history, textual criticism, anthropology, ethics, philosophy and theology. Thus it seems aptly suited to being part of any qualification which seeks to ensure that our pupils receive a genuinely broad education. We therefore urge the government to ensure that RE be regarded as a humanity for the purposes of the English Baccalaureate.”

It is to be noted that the CESEW doesn’t point to RE as being a way in to religious faith: that wouldn’t be of much interest to the government, of course, but it ought to be for Catholics. However, it is not, I suspect, for the CESEW, or, indeed for quite a few— (I would be interested to know how many)—teachers of RE. Many Catholics suppose (as I did when 20 years ago I crossed the Tiber) that one way to pass on the faith to our children is to send them to a Catholic school. Don’t you believe it. I began to smell a rat when, at the convent school to which my wife and I finally sent one of my daughters, the sister who taught RE told me proudly that she didn’t believe in “indoctrination” (she expected me to be reassured by this).

“Why not?” I said: “don’t you WANT your pupils to believe in Catholic doctrine? I do: that’s why I sent her to a Catholic school. Indoctrination is precisely what I was hoping for”. From her reaction, you would think I had uttered some grotesque indecency.

But I almost certainly wouldn’t have found any very different attitude in any of the other Catholic schools available to us: the school we had chosen was probably the best we could have hoped for. At the first school we had a look at, the sixth former who was showing us round, when I asked whether the chapel was ever open (it wasn’t) and whether the Blessed Sacrament was reserved there, asked me what the Blessed Sacrament WAS.

There is, as the excellent Mrs Daphne McLeod has pointed out, a “total failure to teach the authentic Catholic Faith in Catholic schools, resulting in a staggering 90% lapsation rate among school leavers”. That’s worth repeating. NINETY PERCENT: it’s higher than the lapsation rate among Catholic children who go to secular schools.

And that’s because Catholic education is no longer focused where it should be focused. Compare the CESEW’s idea of what RE should be about with this:

“The fundamental needs of the human person are the focus of Catholic education – intellectual, physical, emotional, social, spiritual and eschatological (our eternal destiny). These fundamental needs can only be truly fulfilled through a rich and living encounter with the deepest truths about God and the human person.”

That, of course, is by Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue, and it comes from that wonderful document Fit for Mission? Schools (p. 17, CTS Expanded edition). When it was published, it was received with great acclaim in Rome, among others by Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, Secretary for the Congregation for Clergy, who said that his outfit had “studied the document with great interest and hopes it will become an example for other Dioceses in the country in their implementation of the General Directory for Catechesis and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

Their implementation of the WHAT? “Other dioceses in the country” have no INTENTION of implementing it; they probably haven’t even HEARD of the General Directory for Catechesis.

As for the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Bishop O’Donoghue directed that all Catholic teachers in his diocese be supplied with a copy of it. I wonder how many bishops followed his example? Not a single one, I bet (please tell me I’m wrong, someone). And I wonder how many RE teachers not only possess a copy of the Catechism, but use it as a constant teaching resource? I would be interested in hearing from any RE teachers out there who may be reading this. This is a genuine question to which I do not know—but greatly fear—the answer.

Meanwhile, forget making RE part of the English Baccalaureate. It will do nobody any good as it is taught now: and it could do considerable harm, if any more children get the idea, as I suspect many already do, that what they are taught is really all that religion is about. Unless, of course, they are Catholic and live in the diocese of Lancaster, whose new bishop, I devoutly hope, is building on what he inherited from Bishop O’Donoghue.

  • Anne

    The Bible clearly says “Parents teach your children about me and let them wear it as a circlet round their wrists”.It is the duty of parents to teach their children their faith. Centuries ago people could not read and write, so the church taught the Faith. Pentecostals make sure their children know about God so why don’t Catholics? Take Jesus seriously but not gloomily. He is wonderful. Get to know him and bring your children to Him.

  • Weary Convert

    I have previously said that EditorCT’s claim that Pope John’s dying words were “Stop the Council” are nonsense. Another of her convenient references from obscure sources (” a priest close to John XXIII”). I have now taken the trouble to read again in the late Peter Hebblethwaite’s biography his account of the last hours of the Pope. There is no reference to such an absurd cry. Instead his death – which is related virtually hour by hour – was as serene and beautiful as any Christian could ever hope for. At around 4,30 pm on 31 May he spoke of the coming conclave and went on to say “…I’m sure the bishops will bring the Council to a happy conclusion.”

    And perhaps the ultra-Catholics might care to remember that Pope John was indeed happy to be called “The Pope of the Council.” And as Cardinal Montini, soon to be Pope himself, said, “Perhaps never before in our time has a human word – the word of a master, a leader, a prophet, a pope – rung out so loudly and won such affection throughout the world.” How could the fundamentalists whom I have called, with reason, I believe, “ultras” spit out such hatred of such a man and his great work? Of course they will claim that what happened after the Council was not what Pope John intended. But how do they know? Perhaps they are they claiming that Pope John was responsible for banishing the Holy Spirit from the Church for the last half century by opening the windows and letting in the fresh air that they can only see as poison gas? They should be utterly ashamed!

  • Anonymous

    Peter Hebblethwaite? Who left the priesthood to marry and went on to have three children? Get a grip.

    And don’t accuse me of hating anyone. People who are not wrapped too tight tend to personalise issues, as if it is impossible to oppose the actions of Jack the Ripper without hating the man’s guts. Like I say – get a grip.

  • Ratbag

    ‘deed I do, EditorCT, ‘deed I do!

    My family was not made up of saints, of course. We were ordinary and made mistakes etc. However, we suffered in our lives – it certainly wasn’t a charmed life.

    In those days, the parish priest or curate would pop in for a cup of tea and a slice of home made apple pie, when he wasn’t popping round to give my late granddad the Sacrament of the Sick and Holy Communion.

    The telly or the radio would be off whilst the grown-ups would have a chat with the good father – he would talk to us, too. How many priests would pay visits to houses today? Sadly, because of fewer vocations, we know the answers…

    At least at school, there was not one pupil who did not know the Our Father, the Hail Mary or any of the responses to the prayers at Mass – that was because parents took their children to Mass.

    Teachers ensured that the children behaved themselves at Mass and Holy Communion, either with the quick flick of the makeshift hymn book across the back of the head or the beckoning of the knobbly teacher’s finger at the end of the pew at the offending naughty boy or girl. No messing!

    Having said that, I am pretty certain that children are CRYING OUT to learn more about their faith. They are no fools. If RE teachers tap into their enthusiasm, what a difference it would make – and let the PC brigade go and talk to their walls!

  • Weary Convert

    Having no sensible comment to make, the lady reverts to the inevitable ad personam rant – presumably still prefering her obscure source to a detailed and widely praised biography. On reflection I wonder now if it was fair to refer to her claim that all the bishops are apostates, as “mad, mad, mad.” In reality I suppose the correct word was “sad.” Anyway as she has made no attempt to withdraw that insult, it seems we need no longer concern ourselves with the views of someone who has long since left the mainsteam Church for the greater comfort of a bizarre sect.

  • Catherine

    I apologise if I came across as rude as that is not my intention, although I have to be honest that when I responded I did feel a bit cross, as you said ‘bishops are apostates’ and I felt that was unfair.

    You asked me to respond to the link you gave to the Telegraph reporting of Archbishop Nichols visit to the Mandir. My response is that I do not think it right to offer flowers to the ‘gods’ as there is only One God. I did read on the link that the diocese took that sentence down from the website. Could this be because the person who wrote it had written the wrong thing and that the Archbishop didn’t actually do that? The Hindus do actually believe in one supreme God which they call the Aum. The representations they have are of aspects of God.

    I hope this answers your question. You do not have to believe me when I say that I do teach the Church’s teaching but I actually do. We do have to respect all people, however, as our neighbours and Jesus did clearly show this in the parable of the Good Samaritan. There is goodness in those outside the faith and it is important for us to recognise that, while keeping true to Christ’s teaching.

    I apologise again that you felt I was rude to you.

  • Margaretallain

    I have seen just the same! A ‘unashamedly Catholic School’ as it pronounced itself – and at another primary school which we were visiting, we were treated to a true scoffing at the idea of teaching the Catechism.

  • Margaretallain

    That is why the Vaughan is under attack, it shines a light on the rest, or shall we say almost all of the rest of Catholic Schools. God bless those good R.E. teachers fighting a lone battle.

    A good sound Jesuit who I worked with some years ago said that it would be better for Catholics to send their children to non-catholic schools and teach them at home.

  • Ian

    So there is only one god? What about Shiva, Odin, Ganesh, Zeus, Apollo etc etc etc? Believers of those gods may not recognise yours.

  • Anthony Murphy

    Sure, your article was a dog whistle to anyone looking to blame someone for our falling mass numbers. Of course we are looking for answers. But that doesnt give you a free penalty from the box at the front line troops.
    And yes it was invective, but so was your article. Annoying isnt it? Bless you Will, I do like you; I like the passion you have. But robust debate works two ways.
    I also note you didnt comment on the quote form the Congregation for Catholic Ed.

  • Ian

    No, you are quite wrong. Evolution by Natural Selection, is provable, testable fact. There are many ways to show this & test it – you are simply putting your fingers in your ears.
    We know that life is not static & can be changed. There are many ways to show evolution & there is masses of evidence for it. There really is. True, science does not (yet) show us all the answers, but it’s kind of warped logic to suggest that if science can’t answer a particular question, then it must be the work of the supernatural – of which there is not a shred of evidence.

  • Ian

    “I would think parents have a right to teach their children what they believe to be true, within certain limits. Seems to me you want to deny them that right.”
    - But what a parent ‘believes’ might not be true. Surely, letting a child think for his/her self would be better for them?
    Deny them that right? Yes – until a child is old enough to understand. Whay do you feel the NEED to put YOUR beliefs into a yound childs mind? Why will you not just let them be kids???

  • Ian

    “Let them decide in due course on the basis of what – bigoted ditchkinite pig-ignorance? And will we have secularist thought-police posted in every home to ensure parents don’t ‘indoctrinate’ on the sly?”

    - Just letting them decide for themselves is enough surely? What is so wrong with letting children think for themselves?
    It shows what kind of warped logic you posess when you say that freedom to think is ‘bigoted’.

    “The tripe Dawkins shovels out” – Such as?

  • Ian

    “But exactly how has ‘science’ shown we are not born in any god’s image?”

    This statement shows that you simply haven’t looked at the science. Testable science has shown (using many methods) that life is changable. To pick one example – there are specimens that show the changes over time of homo-sapiens such as Homo Erectus. The discovery of DNA perfectly shows the tree of life/ancestory evidence.
    There are many, many testable scientific methods that show the earth is indeed older than 10,000 yrs.

  • Catherine

    ps If you read the speeches on the diocesan website you will see that both the Archbishop and Yogvivek Swami speak of God, rather than gods.

  • Weary Convert

    Ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue – see if you can find the latest Brentwood News for an inspiring example of how the Bishops of Brentwood and Chelmsford cooperate even over an affair as awkward as the Ordinariate. Then there is the new Nuncio who wants to reach out to all faiths and none – another example of how the Spirit of Vatican II still lives despite the endless sniping of the ultras. By the way, you never answered my enquiry as to why you joined a Church you seem to dislike so much.

  • Anonymous

    No, I’m NOT wrong. You are drinking in the propaganda, Ian. It’s not a case of “if science does not yet show us all the answers…” it’s about a theory being propagated as proven fact, when the very premise upon which it is built, is highly questionable to say the least.

    Listen, I’m no scientist, but even I know that life cannot spring from non-life, which is the belief (and I stress “belief”) at the heart of the theory of evolution. Thus, we are asked to believe (I repeat: “believe”) that by pure chance the right chemicals happened to be in the right place, arranged precisely in the right manner, at the right time, under the right conditions, and by some mysterious, unknown electrochemical process the Big Bang occurred and life created itself. Crackers. This belief is completely contrary to the universally accepted and proven law of science, the second law of thermodynamics, namely, that “All processes (left to themselves) go toward a greater state of disorder, disorganisation, disarrangement and less complexity.” American Scientist, Vol. 43, Oct. 1955, p.595

    Wake up and smell the fact the evolution is an unproven – and highly dubious – theory. In my opinion, it should be filed under the heading Science for Suckers…

    With all due respect, of course…

  • Anonymous

    Ian, I take it you do not lay claim to being a Catholic?

  • Anonymous


    Don’t worry about being rude to me – it’s unimportant and I take your word that you were annoyed at the time. I understand – forget about that. I really don’t take offence.

    I’m much more concerned – with all due respect – that you are now self-identifying as a very sincere Catholic who is not at all informed about the roots and nature of the current crisis in the Church. Perhaps you are even unaware that there is a crisis. I’m getting the feeling that you are a young teacher, brought up in the new Mass, post-Vatican II and, therefore, naturally accepting of much that is really anathema to traditional Catholics, versed in the true nature and history (ancient and modern) of the Church.

    I say this, not least because of your unwillingness (or, perhaps, inability) to recognise apostasy in our bishops. There were, without doubt, Catholics of the same mind as you at the time of the Reformation. How do I know? Because we have the “Church of England” to prove it. Here’s a little passage on the apostate Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, who was instrumental in so many Catholics sleepwalking out of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, thinking they were merely being faithful to a “reform” of the Church:

    “Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury under Henry VIII and Edward VI and architect of the “new liturgy”, was a master of the theology of the Mass, and hated it. He died an apostate, burned at the stake for heresy under Queen Mary, decrying the Mass to the end. She gave him a chance to repent of his crimes against God and His holy Church, which he did, briefly, then out of his hatred and sheer malice towards the sacred order, he recanted his repentance and chose death at the stake in hideous pride. Cranmer authored the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and is considered a “martyr” by many Anglicans, his spiritual descendants. He engineered the destruction of the Holy Mass under the Protestant kings, very cleverly, with deceit and cunning, so that many Englishmen adopted the changes slowly until they woke up and found themselves avowed Protestants, apostates like their mentor, although they merely thought the revolution was only a reform.”

    Now, fast forward to our own times, but first, a little historical perspective – I’m going to highlight the creation of the new Mass, not to divert discussion onto that topic, since the Catholic Herald is very good at giving us plenty of opportunities to discuss that, but as a major example of disobedience among the bishops. Bear in mind, that the Council of Trent (an infallible and dogmatic Council – unlike Vatican II, a merely pastoral Council) forbade the creation of a “new” Mass by anyone: 7th Session, Canon 13 of the Council of Trent: The correct Latin translation says: “If anyone says that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church, customarily used in the solemn administration of the Sacraments, can be despised or can be freely omitted by the ministers without sin, or can be changed into other new rites by any pastor in the Church whomsoever, let him be anathema.”- quoted, with source, here:

    Recall, now, that for the past fifty years, we have had (some would say “suffered” the novus ordo – New Order of Mass, which one of its ardent proponents admitted was a new Mass: “…The Roman Liturgy as we knew it, has been destroyed.” (Father Joseph Gelineau SJ, a Council peritus (expert) and enthusiastic propnent of the new Mass).

    Now, leaving aside the machinations which led to the creation of this new Mass, let’s take note of the fact that Pope Benedict issued a document entitled Summorum Pontificum – a Motu Proprio, which is a particularly authoritative letter directly from the Pope himself – in which he gave permission for every priest in the world to offer, once again, the Traditional Latin Mass – the Mass which just refuses to go away!

    The reaction of the bishops worldwide, not least the UK bishops was fury. They have either ignored it or largely refused to implement it. Priests are discouraged from learning the new Mass and when I wrote to my own bishop to ask what arrangements he was making for priests to learn Latin, he replied “none” since we’re all allegedly happy with the new Mass in my diocese (I don’t count, it seems!) Yet, at a press conference in London, the Pope’s representative at the time – Cardinal Hoyos – said the Pope wanted the old rite Mass to be made available in parishes alongside the new Mass so that young people, who have never known the old rite Mass, could experience it. The bishops refuse to do this, giving any reason that springs to mind to excuse their disobedience.

    So, those who ask for the Traditional Latin Mass are the baddies. Those who ask for “gay” Masses are the goodies. Archbishop Vincent Nichols looked positively vicious on BBC TV when he told the interviewer that those of us who object to these blasphemous Masses and sacrilegious Communions ought to “shut up.” Nasty piece of work – archbishop or no archbishop. And no, I’m not “cross” but, as the saintly Father Faber once said, we ought to “love God enough to be angry for His glory.”

    Turning now to the matter of Archbishop Nichols’ visit to the Hindu Temple. Catherine, that is a monumental scandal. Bad enough that he set foot in a place of pagan worship, but to lay flowers at the shrine of one of the Hindu gods, is tantamount to breaking the First Commandment.

    I remember your initial (or one of your first) posts on this blog, when you spoke about teaching young people to respect other religions etc. This entire inter-religious/ecumenical project has weakened, diluted, Catholic Faith – it’s back to the situation at the Reformation, again, where Catholics were gradually sleep-walked out of the Church. This is happening again in our own times, and ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue is one of the key means of stealing the Faith from our souls – unless we become alert to it.

    No archbishop should have put himself in the position of offering flowers to a pagan god. I wouldn’t do it, a mere laywoman, and I’m sure you wouldn’t do it, yet the chances of any reporter splashing our photos across the paper at such an event, are minimal. For a prelate of the Church to allow himself to be filmed paying homage to a Hindu god, is a scandal of monumental proportions. This fact was removed from the website of the Archdiocese, when the furore broke out in the blogosphere. Caught!

    Please don’t make excuses for any bishop who denies the Faith in this way – for that is what it amounts to. Archbishop Nichols, in full knowledge of the fact that the Soho Masses are run by and for “gays” and their partners, permits them to continue and makes public his support for them. He lays flowers at the shrine of a pagan god. What on earth is he, if not an apostate? And he’s only one of many, sadly. It gives me absolutely no pleasure to say any of this, Catherine, but I don’t want to be the modern equivalent of a “Cranmer supporter.”

    To deepen your understanding of what is going on in the Church today, visit and, if possible, sign up for the Conference – Consecration Now! – in Rome 9-13 May.

    God bless.

  • Anonymous

    Two things Catherine:

    Firstly, since the diocesan website has already been altered to remove the scandal of the Archbishop laying flowers at the shrine of a pagan god, I lay no great store by the reported speeches.

    Secondly, the Hindus do not believe in the Trinity – God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – so for the Archbishop to allow the impression to be given that we worship the same God – a very common thing to say, but utterly untrue – is (I repeat) hugely scandalous.

    It amounts to breaking the First Commandment.

  • Anthony Murphy

    You see William?
    This is your dog-whistle at work!
    Now it is recriminations time…who is to blame for falling mass attendence, and not what should we do about it.
    This is the point I am trying to make. You simply gave people a chance to wheel out their anecdotes about everything that annoys them. How about you tell us how we fix the probelm, which isnt children not attending mass; it is why parents arent going and taking their children with them.
    And then the manditory kicking of Vat II, probably by some who couldnt name one document, and certainly cant give me a quote that is a problem. As if that matters anyway…Ecumenical Council outranks Internet blowhardery.
    So Sir William, give me an idea about what we should do, not what him over there is screwing up.

  • W Oddie

    The most important thing is to provide decent catechetical material. Children simply aren’t having the full Catholic tradition given to them (by the way, I’m NOT saying that there are no decent RE teachers who do give the full teaching of the church, of course not. I’m generalising; that’s something that needs doing). There’s a lot more to be said about this, and maybe I will need to return to this subject at greater length. One official syllabus in this country, called Weaving the Web, for instance, told the children all about the lord Krishna on p34: it was page 78 or thereabouts before there was any mention of the Lord Jesus. There was no remotely adequate teaching about sin, forgiveness, the sacraments, salvation, eternal life. The English Church still publishes nothing remotely adequate. And this has nothing to do with recriminations; it’s simply an appeal to those who are genuinely responsible for the problem. We know who they are: why not say so. Then they might even do something.

  • W Oddie

    By the way, I did NOT criticise the teachings of the Council.

  • Vendeen

    “our salvation depended on being faithful Catholics”, / “we’re all saved, no matter what we’ve done, no matter what religion we are”

    And what about your own soul? Do you think you are saved CT Editor? Certainly, if being judgemental, a lack of charity, a lack of meekness and general smugness are now virtues then your soul should be just fine.

    Are the SSPX now the “Elect of God”, the only ones getting into Heaven? It’s faulty theology and certainly not “traditional” Catholicism to wave around the threat of eternal damnation to everyone else.

    Peter is correct they blame Vat 2 for everything including the tsunami which seems to be alluded to on the a few so-called traddie Blogs. They get more and more like the Westbro Baptists everyday

  • W Oddie

    Incidentally, I did not pamper my children: for you to insult my daughter (about whom you know nothing) in this way is simply contemptible.

  • Anthony Murphy

    OK Will,
    I appreciate the tone. One can get frustrated with generalisations however. If the curriculum needs changing over there, then the bishops are the ones to be talked to. The average RE teacher has no power on that level.
    I am sorry I called your princess pampered if you agree to give me a big Vatican II hug and forget we fought in the first place.
    However, the point I made quoting the document which is found here…

    read para.69
    It does seem to imply RE teachers are educators first, and not Catechists.
    Have a look and tell me your thoughts.

  • Mark Gliddon

    Thank you Anne and God bless you for your story and encouragement. Have a blessed rest of Lent and Easter.

  • Anonymous

    None of us can presume salvation, myself included. That’s why it is gravely wrong for priests to give the impression at funerals that the soul of the deceased is already in Heaven. It is the Catholic practice to always pray for every soul, presuming it is in Purgatory, since few of us will die perfectly in communion with God, ready for Heaven. Most of us will need the purification of Purgatory.

    The SSPX are one group of religious priests. Nobody claims they are the only priests getting to Heaven and certainly not the only laity to attain salvation. Far from it.

    I detect a hatred of Catholic Tradition in your post. Sad. Because it is Catholic Tradition that we can say with certainty comes from God. With even popes expressing misgivings (to say the least) about the state of the Church since Vatican II – with Pope John Paul II declaring the Church in “crisis” in his letter to Bishops, Veritatis Splendor – we are witnessing what Pope Paul VI called the “auto-demolition” of the Church in human terms.

    Christ’s promise to be with His Church until the end of time, cannot fail. Therefore, Catholic Tradition will be restored. People like you, Vendeen, are going to have to learn to live with it. God bless.

  • Vendeen

    I went to 10am Mass this morning, being Lent and the School holidays, the Church was busy. The idea that all these teachers, parents, old folks and families who are at an N.O. Mass during the week with their kids are somehow less Catholic than anyone else is a disgrace. The Rosary was said after Mass, Stations of the Cross, Devotions to the Sacred Heart, and this is the same at normal Catholic Parishes everywhere. Exactly what is not “traditional” about this? What is V2 apostate about this?

    These are good, devout, honest sincere Catholic communities, it’s a grave sin and utterly shameful to suggest that the they are either apostate or less devoted than some of the malcious fringe nutters who attend TLM.

    “People like me” as you say make up the vast majority of Catholics quietly going about our business trying to be good Catholics. We are fed up having to endure an endless stream of calmuny from internet-traddies who owe more to the American individualism than Rome

  • Anonymous


    The Mass you went to this morning is not the same Mass that the martyrs gave their lives to defend. It is, in fact, a creation of Archbishop Bugnini, who expressly stated that he wanted to remove anything and everything that would be objectionable to Protestants. Since the very concept of the Mass as the Sacrifice of Calvary is objectionable to Protestants, go figure.

    There are, of course, a lot of very good well meaning Catholics who have unwittingly gone along with the liturgical “reforms” of Vatican II. I have never suggested that every modern Catholic is an apostate, so you are being dishonest to give the impression that I did so. However, if you speak to some, if not most, of your fellow parishioners about lifestyle choices, you’ll find contraceptors and “gay rights” advocates amongst them – a phenomenon absent in the traditional parishes. Of course, If the wonderful Church-attending Catholics you describe, yourself included, are truly sound Catholics, then they will welcome the restoration of the full Traditional Faith when it comes – which it will do, when the Pope consecrates Russia to Our Lady, as she requested. Then, the “diabolical disorientation” in the Church, of which she spoke to Sr Lucia, will be overcome and order will be restored.

  • W Oddie

    I wish I could be sure you”re right.

  • W Oddie

    Whether the theory of evolution is right or wrong, it’s still a theory, and no scientist has claimed it as a scientific law: that’s because, precisely, it ISN’T “provable, testable fact”. For someone so certain of himself, you are strangely ignorant of the most elementary and universally accepted facts.

  • Vendeen

    First off, please don’t tell me to “Go Figure”, this is the Catholic Herald not High School Musical. Secondly, The Mass I went to this morning (With millions of others all over the entire Catholic globe from Goa to Ghana) WAS the exact same Mass which the martyrs gave their lives to defend. It had offertory, consecration and communion by a “valid” celebrant all in accordance with the Roman Rite. The rubrics and language don’t change that. Indeed, it makes me laugh to read your demands for the consecration of Russia to Our Lady despite the fact that by your own logic the Byzantine Catholic Rite is invalid. If N.O. is Protestant then so is the Eastern Rite of Russia and the Ukraine since it has a different language, architecture and rubrics so good luck with the re evangelization of Russia while holding any other non TLM liturgy as vaguely invalid. Or are we expecting that the Mother of God wants Russians to do the Mass in Latin???? Really?

    Yes, the Church is in a mess and nobody is denying that but the restoration of the full Traditional Faith will not come from bitter SSPX adherents. It will come from either FSSP Priests or the fine work of Opus Dei. Opus Dei is the most orthodox “novus ordo” organization and are a rival and a threat to SSPX. That’s why you lot don’t like them.

    Opus Dei will succeed because like the Holy Spirit it recognizes Vatican II. Unlike the SSPX it is loyal and had the sanction of the previous Pope John Paul the Great (of happy memory) Best of all Opus Dei has the unique spirituality of St Josemaría Escrivá who adds to Catholic tradition of the Jesuits, Fransicans, Dominicans etc..Plus they celebrates the Ordinary Form yet are very conservative and orthodox.

    For this reason the hardline “Traddie” majority like yourself will never follow the mainstream traditionalists into full peace with Mother Church unless they meet all your demands. Instead these people will join one of the various sedevacantist sects. You EditorCT are exactly this type of person, you can tell by the vindictive tone and emotional baggage.

  • Anonymous

    I apologise for using the term “go figure.” Had I known it would upset you so much, I would, of course, have refrained from using it.

    I don’t have much time as I’m shortly leaving for Mass. So, forgive me if I type this hastily in response to your most recent comment.

    Firstly, with respect, the novus ordo Mass (“new order of Mass”) is not at all the same Mass that the martyrs died to preserve – as one of its chief proponents admitted after the Council: “To tell the truth, it is a different liturgy of the Mass. This needs to be said without ambiguity: the Roman Rite as we knew it, no longer exists. It has been destroyed.” (Father Joseph Gelineau SJ, peritus – “expert” – at the Second Vatican Council, in his book Demain la liturgie…)

    But, look. Don’t take my word for it, or the word of Archbishop Bugnini (who said in the Vatican newspaper at the time, that they had set out to remove anything objectionable to Protestants) or the word of Council expert Fr Joseph Gelineau SJ. Check it out for yourself by visiting this link which leads you to an article entitled Words That Count by an American author who carried out a detailed study of the differences between the Traditional Latin Mass and the new Mass. It makes extremely interesting reading and no person of any integrity could draw any other conclusion but that drawn by Father Gelineau SJ – that in the novus ordo we have an completely different Mass. A Mass, incidentally, that Cardinal Ranjith has admitted is likely to have disappeared in 25 years.

    Again, with respect, there is no use pointing to the various eastern rites – they have a different history and culture. We are concerned with the Roman Rite only – and, as intimated above, don’t get hung up on Latin, check out Dan Graham’s article to see that, in whichever language the traditional Mass is offered, it is an entirely different Mass from that offered in your and my diocesan parishes.

    Which brings me to something that puzzles me a great deal about you, Vendeen. I note that you cannot resist taking sideswipes at the SSPX (although I can’t remember writing much, if anything, about them, except in response to sideswipes like the one in your most recent post.)

    So, I am puzzled as to why you are focusing on them, so much, and so negatively. After all, but for the saintly Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX, there wouldn’t BE any FSSP or any of the other traditional Orders of which you are, mysteriously, so fond, given your devotion to the new Mass. I attended the novus ordo Mass for many years, listening to homilies that were little more than lectures on humanism, although sometimes the priest departed from telling us we bore responsibility for ending poverty in the Third World in order to attack openly or undermine Catholic doctrine or morals. Yet, in the much shorter span of time – around 5 years now – that I’ve been attending Mass in an SSPX chapel, I’ve heard nothing except sound doctrine and morals. Oops, I almost said “go figure!” Sorry!

    I note your comment about Opus Dei. Unfortunately, like so many of the new movements within the Church, there is a secrecy surrounding them, and I’ve been approached by a number of parents who were concerned that their parental authority was being undermined, when their children got involved with Opus Dei. So, sadly, they are very far from perfect – and I’m afraid, given their absence from the fight to defend the Faith (e.g. the scandalous writings by priests in the Catholic papers – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a letter from an Opus Dei priest correcting any of them) I’m none too impressed with Opus Dei. There will, of course, be very good individuals within Opus Dei, but I have to admit to having serious reservations about the group, generally speaking.

    Finally, you seem to be pretty certain that the Holy Spirit “recognizes” Vatican II – I’d dearly love to see the evidence for that sweeping statement, since not one of the Council popes has made such a claim. Quite the opposite. They have been at pains to point out that Vatican II was (a) not an infallible Council and (b) damaging to the Church. Here are some quotes, straight from these popes, and I’ll finish with these or I’ll be late for Mass (where you will be remembered):


    “There will be no infallible definitions. All that was done by former Councils. That is enough.” Pope John XXIII (“Gaudet Mater Ecclesia,” October 11, 1962)

    “[The Council must present] “the sacred patrimony of truth received from the Fathers [and] transmit that doctrine pure and integral, without any attenuation or distortion, which throughout twenty centuries, not withstanding difficulties and constraints, has become the common patrimony of men. It is a patrimony not well received by all, but always a rich treasure available to men of Good Will. The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is this, that the Sacred Deposit of Christian Doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously [with a] renewed, serene, and tranquil adherence to all the teachings of the Church in their entirety and preciseness, as they still shine forth in the acts of the council of Trent and the First Vatican Council…. The salient point of this Council is not, therefore, a discussion of one article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Church. ” Pope John XXIII, Opening Speech to the Council, October 11, 1962

    “The magisterium of the Church did not wish to pronounce itself under the form of extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements…. ” Pope Paul VI, discourse closing Vatican II, December 7, 1965

    “Differing from other Councils, this one was not directly dogmatic, but disciplinary and pastoral.” Pope Paul VI, August 6, 1975, General Audience

    “Pope John conceived the Council as an eminently pastoral event.” Pope John Paul II, October 27, 1985, Angelus


    “Certainly the results of Vatican II seem cruelly opposed to the expectations of everyone, beginning with those of Pope John XXIII and then of Pope Paul VI: expected was a new Catholic unity and instead we have been exposed to dissension which, to use the words of Pope Paul VI, seems to have gone from self-criticism to self-destruction. Expected was a new enthusiasm, and many wound up discouraged and bored. Expected was a great step forward, instead we find ourselves faced with a progressive process of decadence which has developed for the most part under the sign of a calling back to the Council, and has therefore contributed to discrediting it for many. The net result therefore seems negative. I am repeating here what I said ten years after the conclusion of the work: it is incontrovertible that this period has definitely been unfavorable for the Catholic Church.” -Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Now Pope Benedict XVI), 1984

    “The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.” -Cardinal Ratzinger (Now Pope Benedict XVI), 1988

  • Torkay

    Your characterization of SSPX adherents as “bitter” is just another tired old variant of the “rigid/fascist/disloyal/backward traditionalist/Lefebvrist/schismatic” calumnies – all betraying an abysmal ignorance – that seem to abound on this blog (and in that I include the attitude of Dr. Oddie, though his pen is more civilized and his veneer more genteel.) And talk about vindictive tone and emotional baggage!

    The glib facility with which the “Holy Spirit endorsement” is tossed about among you Novus Ordo Catholics is also quite disturbing, as though the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity sits on your shoulder waiting to ratify your every expression of Papal/Council loyalty and your every spiritual thought. Very Protestant – and fundamentalist Protestant at that. And do you really mean to suggest that the Holy Spirit was busy destroying the Church at Vatican II? That is where your logic leads.

    In order to begin to repair your ignorance and stop tossing around these appalling stereotypes as though they were Magisterial statements, may I suggest that you read Archbishop Lefebvre’s “Open Letter to Confused Catholics,” which may be found here:

  • Ian

    Well you have just proved that you have no idea what a scientific ‘theory’ is. It is not “hey, i’ve got an idea”!!! A scientific theory must be based on examination of facts – to be testable.
    I ask you, what universities/paleantologists/scientific authorities have you consulted in order that you reject evolution?
    You are ONLY rejecting this because you think what is written in genesis is true.
    The argument is over – creation/ID is pseudo nonsense.

  • Ian

    The Big Bang has nothing to do with evolution! Evolution explains the diversity of life on Earth. Darwin’s early ideas which have since been corroborated using many methods & evidence means that we now know this was not the work of any creator. True, there’s a lot which we don’t yet know, but at least science is working on the problem.
    And yes, life did start here on Earth under the right conditions (there are billions of other planets where this has not happened). Consult any molecular biologist for an explanation. Prof Brian Cox makes an excellent explanation for the layman in his Wonders of the Universe series.
    You are dismissing scientific fact because you want to throw your lot in with the idea of a creator.
    I’m sorry to harp on, but evolution is fact – there is masses of evidence to support it.
    You are happy to believe in a celestial creator of which there is no evidence, yet you reject scientific fact.
    Who created your creator & why was it your particular god – why not any other god?
    I know it’s pointless for me trying to explain – once you have decided, then I’m guessing you won’t be swayed – you will continue to quote from faith-based creation sites (well if they say evolution is not true then that’s it!!! Case closed!!!!!).

    If you could reason with a religious mind, there would be no religion.

  • Ian

    True – I’m not religious in any respect & I lack any belief in deities.

  • EditorCT

    When I was head of RE in one institution (I’ve headed 3 Catholic and one non-denominational school departments) the Head used to ask me to signal to him when it was time for him to read at Mass. I thought it odd at the time (the new Mass is not exactly complicated) but I now realise that, more likely than not, he was lapsed. All the signs were there.

  • EditorCT

    Of course parents must do all they can to teach the Faith and to show, by example, the importance of attending Mass, Confession etc. plus encourage all the devotional practises they can. The Church teaches that parents are the first educators of their children.

    However, the Church also requires that the Faith is taught in a systematic way, and that, since pupils spend so much time in school, they have the example of teachers who also believe and practise the Faith. That’s always been the rationale for Catholic schools.

    Now, if you think we don’t need Catholic schools any more – that’s a fair argument. It’s NOT right, however, to demand Catholic schools if you are none too bothered about what is taught in them.

  • EditorCT

    Archbishop Ward of Wales, said the same thing, before he retired.

  • EditorCT

    I don’t recall quoting from any “faith-based creation sites” – but here’s a website that you can’t quibble with

    Make sure you download the list of thoroughly qualified scientists who dissent from the Darwin Dream. Or should that be “nightmare”?

  • EditorCT

    Do you think these scientists have an idea of what a scientific theory is?

    Humble pie can taste very nice, Ian. Try it.

  • EditorCT
  • EditorCT

    Spot on, W Oddie – check out this very interesting website

  • EditorCT

    You do know, don’t you, William, that a Yorkshireman is a Scotsman with the generosity squeezed out???

  • EditorCT

    Mystery solved. You were a Protestant during Vatican II, so you’ve never known anything but the new church. WOW are you in for a shock, when the traditional Faith is restored. Hold on to your seat belt!

  • EditorCT

    That explains why you believe in evolution – each to his own, as they say! We all have to believe in something, as they also say!

  • EditorCT

    William – you know I’m ALWAYS right! Have faith!

  • Vendeen

    Well that’s what happens when you start a discussion using words like Apostate and Protestant…conflict escalates. We are not the ones throwing around these words and I notice that you SSPX people don’t like the away game so much.

    Oh I see, so the SSPX are 100% certain that the Holy Spirit was present in Christ’s Church for 2000 years and present at every other council but not V2 but now resides in the SSPX? You should look at where your own logic leads too.