The most important thing we can teach our children is to love your neighbour as yourself. For young children it can be difficult to answer the question ‘who is my neighbour?’ For many of them it can just mean those who live close to them.
Holy Cross Catholic School, Plymouth has had a link with St John Vianney School in Gambia for over three years. The link was celebrated during the Holy Father’s visit to the UK in 2010 at The Big Assembly, Twickenham.
Catholic education could be seen as increasingly beleaguered. In the last few weeks, The Guardian has claimed that Catholic schools favour wealthier families with children on free school meals under-represented. And recently, there has been controversy about the letter from the Archbishops to schools on marriage.
We are rightly proud of our Catholic schools. There is a pluralistic approach to education with the churches, Jewish and Muslim authorities providing education which is regulated in largely the same way as state schools but with a religious dimension in those schools. The state pays the salaries and running costs and 90% of buildings (100% for academies).
Throughout the Gospels there are lessons to be learned either from what Jesus had to say and more often in the actions He took, and why and how He did what He did - examples are there for us all on the nature of the leadership that we can expect in our Catholic educational faith communities.
At the Last Supper, after Jesus had powerfully demonstrated the concept of ‘Servant Leadership’ by washing of the feet of His disciples, He responded to arguments about status by patiently explaining His view of leadership.
It has become a commonplace comment that Christians in the UK are facing persecution from an overbearing state, a seemingly hostile judiciary and a metropolitan elite with friends in the media. A quick trawl of news sites shows that Ann Widdecombe believes that ‘Christianity in Britain is under severe persecution and it will get worse’; David Simpson MP says that ‘we don’t have to go to other countries to see persecution, we simply look to our own back door’. Even the former Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Rev Lord Carey, says that in Britain ‘Christians are vilified by the state... Christians are being driven underground’.