The Bishop of Shrewsbury has encouraged the head teachers of Catholic primary schools to have confidence in Christian faith and virtue when facing pressures to accommodate ideologies which are “contrary to Catholic teaching”.
The Rt Rev. Mark Davies warned that Catholic schools may increasingly become “the focus of ideological groups demanding the acceptance of their agenda” under such ostensibly noble banners as equality, respect and the prevention of bullying and unjust discrimination.
In a homily at a Mass for the Shrewsbury Diocesan Association of Primary Head Teachers, held during a conference at the Park Royal Hotel, Warrington, the Bishop told them that some of the notions of equality that were being promoted were “false”, “flawed” and contrary to Christian teaching which gives “a wonderful, clear vision of our human worth and destiny.”
“We know from God’s Word that man and woman are made in the image and likeness of God, having the same dignity and destiny,” said Bishop Davies during the Mass on Thursday March 2nd. “We therefore have no need of false notions of equality which can insist that right and wrong, truth and error are cultural constructs, and that being male or female are interchangeable personal choices.”
He said that Christ has blessed the Church with “something infinitely greater” than the often false and contradictory claims of ideologies and said he wanted to encourage teachers to a “renewed and ever-growing confidence” in providing a truly Catholic education in the face of external pressures.
Bishop Davies said it was the task of Catholic education to conform all thinking and actions to Christ and, quoting from the Second Vatican Council, he said in the light of the faith it was possible to differentiate elements of truth and goodness and avoid “falling into a religious indifferentism which suggests that all beliefs and theories are equally valid and true”.
Bishop Davies said: “We are aware in other western countries the Church’s health and welfare services have been threatened by ideologies which demand total conformity to their worldview. It was similarly such ideological agendas that, in the false name of equality forced the closure of Catholic adoption services across this land. I am conscious that our schools now find themselves increasingly a focus of ideological groups demanding the acceptance of their agenda – an agenda contrary to Catholic teaching. Again, this might be done seemingly in the name of noble goals: respect for each other and the prevention of unjust discrimination.”
Bishop Davies said: “The Christian inheritance of faith and virtue lived in our schools far surpasses any ambiguous or arbitrary formulation of ‘British values’. We have received the command of perfect love from Christ and this forms the basis by which we reject every form of bullying and unjust discrimination.”
He said: “We cannot fail to note that we are living in a society which does not accept human equality when it comes to the right to life itself, legally sanctioning as it does the killing of millions of the unborn.”
The Bishop added: “Christ has given us something infinitely greater than a flawed, secular, theory of equality. He has taught us the value and dignity of every human life, every human being. The Christian faith gives us a wonderful, clear vision of our human worth and destiny which far surpasses all that threatens to obscure or undermine it.”
(Photo by Simon Caldwell)