Only time for one tip this week, as I'm experimenting with the seat-of-the-pants style of editing the church mag: but what a tip it is.
Last Friday John Smeaton, director of SPUC (the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) drews a line in the sand in response to the Government's abusive proposals for sex education in schools, which bode ill for the Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim voluntary grant-aided
Smeaton cites a Government media release praising St Thomas More's RC School in Bedford on the grounds that, among other things,
St Thomas More delivers SRE [sex and relationships education] through the pastoral programme in conjunction with the RE syllabus...the school explicitly recognises the reality that some young people may choose to be sexually active and, if that is the case, they need the knowledge and confidence to make an informed choice to protect themselves from pregnancy and STIs. The school nurse provides students with clear accurate information about the full range of contraception and STIs and details of local services...Pregnancy options, including abortion, are also discussed in a non-judgemental way with the RE syllabus requiring students to understand the spectrum of pro- and anti-choice views on abortion.Smeaton provides a long list of tenets of the Roman Catholic faith that these grounds violate, after announcing that "I will be writing to St Thomas More school, asking them to confirm or deny the government's claims about what is happening in its school."
Later that day, the Telegraph's Blogs Editor, Damian Thomson forecast Bad Things for Oona Stannard, chief executive of the Catholic Education Service, which, as Smeaton identified, had helped the Government draw up its guidelines. Fr Tim Finnegan, a frequent flier on this feature, refers to both posts as he runs with the theme on his blog The Hermeneutic of Continuity. He asks how far the moral relativism will be taken:
I doubt whether you would get Healthy Schools Status if you taught that there was a range of views on the advantages of smoking tobacco; and I don't suppose there is meant to be a valid range of views on the pros and cons of nazism as a system of government. The relativism of Ed Balls and his friends who are setting the agenda for secular Britain is actually only applied to the "views" they disagree with, such as Catholic moral teaching on the sanctity of life, marriage, and the procreation of children.The Government is mounting an attack both on one Faith and on faith. I remember minor Scottish politicians muttering about "Rome on the rates" and, as they have risen, they have dripped their poison slowly through the years in the hope that the erosion would create a cavity large enough to insert their specious moral outrage about "religion on the rates".
As John Smeaton notes, today - Tuesday 23 - is the day when Parliament is due to vote on what is effectively the nationalisation of the bodies, minds and spirits of our children.
Smeaton remarks that St Thomas More "preferred to sacrifice himself rather than put the state's demands above the church's teachings", as can be seen in the 1966 film
A man for All Seasons starring, among others, Paul Scofield and Susannah York. I wonder if the Government was careful to use a school bearing his name as a Trojan horse to try to use the state's demands to extinguish the church's teaching?