Bishop pained by Catholic school refusals
By Christopher Howse THE REFUSAL of some parents to send their children to Catholic schools has "pained" Bishop Cyril Restieaux of Plymouth.
"It is most painful to hear that where Catholic schools are available, through the determined effort of the whole diocese, some parents refuse to arrange for their children to attend," he said in a letter read out in all churches on Sunday.
Bishop Restieaux recognises that some other schools may have "nominal advantages," but they lack entirely any Catholic teaching and their moral and spiritual standards are suspect. Parents who cannot send their children to a Catholic school have a duty to ensure their children are well instructed.
Many of the other bishops are worried about peace. Bishop Foley of Lancaster in his Advent pastoral letter asks his people to study the Bishops' Statement on peace, Cardinal Hume's article on deterrence and the Pope's message for Peace Sunday in January.
He links peace and the theme of the bishops' Synod in Rome and asks: "During Advent let us pray unceasingly and also perform acts of penitence for the over-riding intention of world peace."
The thing which distinguishes the fear of war of the atheist or Marxist from the fear a Christian has is the Christian's realisation of the nature of sin, says Bishop Clark of East Anglia. This implies the need for penance.
"We have grown away from the traditional penitential practices of 30 years ago, deceiving ourselves perhaps with the half-truth that supporting — and with much spirit and generosity — the needs of the Third World is the contemporarY and all-sufficient way of fulfilling this precept of penance," he says.
Bishop Alexander of Clifton advises his people to go to Confession early in Advent to prepare for Christmas. They have a choice of anonymous Confession or being face to face with the priest, he says.
And they should not be put off by not knowing what to say: "The priest will be happy to help you because one of his greatest' joys is to share in reconciling someone more prefectly with God."