Victory for Vinnie. Yeah right.

The Archbishop of Birmingham’s latest political excursion has been a remarkable success, if, that is, you believe him, the Catholic Education Service, the secular press, and of course the now furious National Secular Society.

Feel free to agree with them all yourself, too. But from my point of view the upshot of it is this: at the moment, the average Catholic secondary is approximately 95% full of youngsters whose families have little or no interest in the Catholic faith but just so happen to have an Irish granny. Were it a brand new Catholic School, it would contain 70% of the above and 25% of children from ‘other faith traditions or none’. Big deal.

This is neither a victory nor a defeat, merely a policy change in regard to where the English Catholic Church will source the little pagans whose education it is so happy to subsidise.

My concern, and the concern which I think our Bishops should share, is for the 5% or so who come from families who genuinely are committed to bringing their children up in the faith, and who want them to go to a school where their efforts will be not undermined, but supported, by sound christian teachers in a Catholic environment. This was the purpose for which the pennies of the poor and the ceaseless labours of many saintly religious built up our Catholic education system during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and we owe it to them to carry on that work.

Last week, Archbishop Nicholls protested in the Telegraph that the government’s proposals were “A Trojan horse, bringing into Catholic schools not only those who reject its (sic) central vision, but oppose it.” . The  truth is that the Trojan horse got into Catholic education a long time ago and, like the original Trojans, we didn’t need anyone to make us open the gates, we did it ourselves in  our naivety.

This whole situation had, and has, little to do with any macchiavellian schemes on the part of the the Department for Education. No doubt they do want to control us; they’re socialists after all and that is their instinct.

But the situation Catholic education is in is simply the result of there being fewer and fewer people who could be called ‘Catholics’ in any meaningful way, but still just as many (if not more) places in Catholic schools.

The result, of course, is this: the vast majority of Catholic schools, particularly the secondary schools, are now largely staffed by secularly minded teachers who indoctrinate the children of secularly minded parents with secularist ideas. All under the authority of the local bishop and 10% funded by the local Church.

And what this means is that parents who genuinely want a Catholic education for their children don’t get it. They don’t get it because the local Catholic school has it’s own priorities. They do not think it important to celebrate major feast days; they would not know how to give sound catechesis (indeed they would think its content either silly or offensive); they do not introduce the children to the rich cultural heritage which is the patrimony of every Catholic. Finally, they seldom have teachers capable of being suitable role models for young Catholics.

Almost all of the boys I was at school with who came from good, Catholic homes have now lost their faith. To be more precise, they lost their faith when they were at school, between the ages of 13 and 18. I can’t help feeling that if they’d gone to a school where being a churchgoer was the norm rather than unusual, where most of their friends were also from good, Catholic homes, and where there were teachers who set an example of living the christian life, they would have stood a much, much better chance of keeping their faith. Is there anyone who would disagree with that?

His Majesty felicitates on

 From our man in Kathmandu – In all probability the King will be deposed with the next few months.

The Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists are back at the negotiating table and have ruled out a referendum on the fate of the King, his last hope of reprieve.

All his property, personal and royal, has been nationalised and he is already being spoken of in the past tense.

Despite increasing pro-monarchy demonstrations, the SPA and the communist insurgents have agreed that HM will be handed the Royal mitten following a vote in the first meeting of the next Constituent Assembly early next year.

The only point still in debate is whether the ultimate act of constitutional emasculation shall be licit with a simple or two-thirds majority.

It gives a very good indication of the democratic credentials of the SPA that they do not feel the need to go to the polls.

Yet HM remains undeterred. Staring at a likely choice between exile and ceremonial execution, lesser men would quail. Yet for this reason, Kings are chosen by God and not man. Gyanendra Shah of sterner stuff is made.

Today he defied the oligarchical cabal and issued Royal greetings and felicitations to the President of Austria, Dr. Henz Fisher, extending his best wishes for the President’s health and the happiness of the Austrian people on the occasion of their national day.

The King issues his personal falicitations to all heads of state on the occasion of their national days, virtually the only thing he still can do. As Prime Minister Koirala has begun to do likewise, HM’s persistence has become a sign of defiance. 

The future, barring civil war, looks very grim indeed for the King. It seems difficult to believe he was absolute ruler here only six months ago.

The speed with which his power has ebbed is a testament to his resolve to permit democratic reform, even at his own expense. The doggedness with which he continues in his few remaining functions, and vigour with which he still tours the country show the commitment of a man born to be King. 

Turkish diplomat starts cult

German foreign ministry officials are today investigating a cult founded and run by the head of the Turkish consulate in the city of Mainz, near Frankfurt. The investigation follows a string of complaints by both consular staff and immigrants to the area.

 

Mr. Yalman Okan, the consul, has reportedly been pressurising his staff and the local Turkish community, saying that becoming his “follower” would ensure protection.

 Mr. Okan would style himself as the “sheik” of the “Melamilik” and would often hold long conversations with staff in one-to-one settings in which he would recount parables. Later, he would be unable to recall his profundities and tell staff that God had been speaking through him.

 A witness giving evidence to the German Foreign Ministry Review Committee, identified only as O.A., said-

 “He told us we are on the first level, and in order to improve our level we would have to obey some rules. The first one of these was to learn to sing hymns.”

 In addition to parables and the Melamilik psalmody, Mr. Okan would play upon a reed flute to entice staff and expatriates to join his following.

 According to several witnesses to appear before the committee, Mr. Okan’s theology remained obscure, he chose instead to offer instruction through allegory and song.

The Turkish government has yet to officially comment on the investigation, however the Turkish embassy in London did confirm that as a secular state Turkey would, objectively speaking, frown on diplomatic staff starting cults.

29 days

With the Ashes less than a month away, England have some serious soul searching to do, and quickly.

These pages carried no comment on the 6 wicket drubbing metted out by the Australians over the weekend, the result spoke for itself.

Flintoff’s captaincy has now gone from a suspect to clearly wrong move by the selectors. Along with ongoing injury worries, his form, along with that of Pieterson and Harmison, is now a major concern.

It was earlier predicted that the fates of the teams would be separated by the fast bowlers. While Harmison has continued to crash and burn, McGrath has bowled line and length to, if not deadly, very troublesome effect.

The form of these two continues to mirror that of their teams. Harmison and England – horribly out of form, mercurial, erratic, still loaded with potential. McGrath and the Australians – ageing but consistent, professional and unflinching.

With only one 1st class match left before the Gabba, and that against a resurgent West Indies, England have to rediscover their flinty self-belief, and fast.

I have recently been reading Michael Vaughan’s book, and it reconfirms what I thought already – injured, crippled even, England need him as captain, right now. The mental toughness, rigorous training and no excuses regime of Vaughan was what won the urn.

Flintoff’s stewardship is increasingly hearkening back to the worst of the Gower years; infinate talent squandered under pressure. 

Nazi law sees children dragged from home

Some weeks ago the RCC reported, from Germany, that a woman had been arrested and her husband and children forced to flee the country.

Her crime, and that of her husband, was to educate their children at home. The law in question was passed in 1938, during the Nazi administration, to ensure all children were properly instructed in the ideologies of the state.

While the ideologies may have changed, the law has not and remains not only on the statute books, but vigorously enforced.

German police confirmed this morning that the children of the Remeikes, a local Catholic family in Baden-Wurttemberg were “forcibly removed from their home and brought to school”.

Local residents reported that the three terrified children, aged between 6 and 10, were bodily carried to police cars and driven to school.

According to local press, police forced open the front door of the family home at approximately 8.30 am. The parents were handcuffed and restrained as the screaming children were carried bodily from the house.

Both parents have been educating their own children since the beginning of the academic year using accredited academic curricula and texts supplied via post. Now they both face minimum fines of €2,000 and 13 days in prison.

The parents have expressed their unwillingness to have their children indoctrinated with a secular agenda which promotes homosexuality, contraception and abortion.

No comment has been made by the state or federal education authorities. Should they be jailed, the Remeikes would be the third couple to be imprisoned for educating their own children this year.

Ancient crown of Georgia shines again

 

The fortunes of monarchy the world over continue to wax and wane. Just as our dear King Gyanendra’s position as sovereign lord of Nepal appears increasingly dicey, a prominent politician in Georgia has called for the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in his former Soviet republic.

Former Georgian Foreign Minister Salome Zurabishvili, who heads the opposition party Georgia’s Way, said, “The best way of the country’s future state structure is a constitutional monarchy. The present system of government – presidential republic – does not prove its worth, and we have to think over transition to a constitutional monarchy.”

Ever more Georgian politicians have been speaking out of late in favour of abolishing the post of president introduced in 1991. A year and a half ago, Georgy Khaindrava, was the first to initiate the idea of creating a constitutional monarchy, and suggested that a representative of the Bagrationi Tsar Dynasty should be proclaimed a monarch, as “this dynasty ruling Georgia from the 9th to early 19th century made an invaluable contribution to the country’s development.”

As fate would have it, one of the dynasty’s prominent descendants – Jorge de Bagration or Prince Giorgi Bagrationi of Moukhrani – returned from Spain to Georgia last year.

Of course, there are a number of monarchs presently out of work who might also like to express an interest in the role of Tsar of Georgia, should the vacancy be officially advertised. King Constantine II of Greece, Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi (rightful Shah of Iran) and Crown Prince Sharif Ali bin al-Hussein (rightful King of Iraq) are all among those queuing up at the royal job centre. However, perhaps King Gyanendra might also like to put his name down, for what better monarch could Georgia hope for than one as experienced, tried and tested as the great man himself? (Well, perhaps not.)

An announcement

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The Recusant Cricket Club is pleased to announce that the Reverend Father Timothy Finigan has joined the Club.

Fr Timothy, hitherto an honorary member, is responsible for the well known and highly esteemed Hermeneutic of Continuity and presents a thoroughly impressive list of credentials in both recusance and cricket.

We are delighted at the addition of Fr Timothy’s famous prose and fabled bowling action, both of which are real assets.