CHRISTOPHER Howse's entertaining and informative article about St Philip's — the London private preparatory school, Oct 30, contained a point of great significance for all concerned with Catholic education: I quote, 'The top forms are preparing for the Common Entrance. Half the Catholics seem to want to go to Westminster. An odd choice. But then, Catholic parents sometimes prefer to send their boys to nonCatholic prep schools in the area.'
In the less light-hearted vain the headmaster of Prior Park College, Bath, wrote recently. 'To me it • is sad that so few Catholic parents actually support Catholic schools. At a recent college reunion I was the only one of my Catholic contemporaries to be sending my children to a Catholic school, an excellent state primary.'
It is not merely 'sad' but highly disturbing that Catholic schools are not being supported by the Catholic community, whether such schools are independent or ir the state sector, particularly in the light of the guidance given in
the Declaration on Christian Education of the Second Vatican Council.
Of course, academic standards are important, particularly to parents who invest in independent schools often at great financial sacrifice. There are other factors too in choosing a school.
Ultimately, however, in the words of Pope John Paul 'Christian education must help Christians to become daily more appreciative of the gift of faith: that is, it must enrich their faith.'
Can this be achieved in a school which, however splendid its facilities and academics, does not provide the religious instruction and communal
Christian atmosphere characteristic of Catholic schools'?
Is it not time for the Catholic hierarchy and clergy in general to stress unequivocally the important of providing Catholic children with the type of Christian education to which they have a right?
Harry Biggs-Davison London W8