Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bishop of Lancaster asking tough questions

Bishop Campbell of Lancaster is following in his predecessor's footsteps in calling to account those schools - and other institutions - that claim the name of Catholic but are CINO (Catholic in Name Only). Here's what The Tablet Blog reports:

Lancaster's hermenuetic of continuity

Posted by Christopher Lamb, 5 January 2012, 9:00
The Bishop of Lancaster has set a cat among the pigeons. Can the Church, he asks in a New Year Pastoral letter, continue to fund Catholic schools which he defines as being Catholic in name only? By this Bishop Michael Campbell means those schools where Catholic pupils and teachers are in a minority.

Bishop Campbell is also asking a much wider question: can a diocese continue to fund any school, parish or initiative that is not actively engaged in the new evangelisation?
All this, people may observe, sounds remarkably similar to the ideas of the bishop's immediate predecessor, Patrick O'Donoghue.
"POD", as he is affectionately known, wrote a series of documents called Fit for Mission? which looked at every area of the Church's life stressing that each exists to evangelise and must have a strong, visible Catholic identity.
In the document on education, which consistently stressed the importance of a school's Catholic ethos, he wrote: "every Catholic school in the diocese should be engaged in catechesis and evangelisation. There must be a clear, courageous, and comprehensive proclamation of the Church's doctrinal and moral tradition, to staff as well as pupils, and appropriate to different age groups."
These documents received fulsome praise from Vatican officials but there was a deafening silence from his brother bishops. There was a feeling that POD was out on a limb and he told me - though he later denied it - that the Archbishop of Westminster to succeed Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor should come from outside the current bishops of England and Wales.
When Bishop Campbell succeeded POD in 2009 we heard little about Fit for mission?. Bishop Campbell is a good and holy man and initially seemed happier giving homilies on the exegesis of a scripture passage than on dealing with how the Church faces up to the hard, practical task of running itself in the twenty-first century. Now things have changed and he appears to have aligned himself in a "hermeneutic of continuity" with his successor.
Whatever the politics, the bishop is addressing tough questions that other dioceses cannot ignore.
Christopher Lamb is the Assistant Editor (Home News) of The Tablet.
H/T: Protect the Pope.


  1. "Now things have changed and he appears to have aligned himself in a "hermeneutic of continuity" with his successor."

    Surely his predecessor...?

    Did Mr. Lamb formerly work for The Guardian? Otherwise, given the source, a good article.

  2. Surely it should be required by any school claiming to be Catholic that the majority of pupils and teachers should practise the Catholic Faith, not just be baptised Catholics. If a school wishes to graduate students who practise their Catholic Faith that requirement doesn't seem like rocket science. The words "asleep at the switch" for the last 40+ years come to mind.


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