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School in admission policy row

Isabel de Bertodano

AN OVERSUBSCRIBEDCatholic school could be forced to change its admissions procedure, following a referral to the Schools Adjudicator. Coloma Convent, a secondary school in Croydon, was referred to the adjudicator by the Archdiocese of Southwark, which is under- stood to be unhappy with the way the school deals with admissions. Prospective pupils at Coloma are allocated points for the number of parish activities with which they are involved, such as altar serving and membership of the choir. The maximum points are awarded to those who help out four times a month over a period of at least two years. The same points system

is also applied to their parents. Coloma was expected to hear the result of the adjudicator’s investigation at the end of last week. The convent is one of a number of Catholic schools to have been involved in a dispute with their diocese over admissions in the last year. In December, the Cardinal Vaughan School, in Westminster Diocese, was referred to the adjudicator for similar problems. The adjudicator agreed with the archdiocese, say- ing the school’s complex points system and criteria were discriminatory because they “inappropriately give priority according to the applicant’s, or his parents’, involvement in church-related activities”. The admissions procedures of around 20 Catholic schools have been examined by the Schools Adjudicator in the last 12 months. The Archdiocese of Southwark referred another of its schools, St Joseph’s, to the adju- dicator last month. However, among the objections in this instance was that the school was failing to give enough priority to baptised Catholics. The adjudicator did not uphold the archdiocese’s complaint on this but agreed with it that the school failed to explain the admissions arrangements clearly.

Talks open on papal visit to Ireland

PLANS FOR Pope Benedict XVI to visit Ireland in 2012 are to be discussed at the Vatican in the coming weeks, writes Padraig Coyle.

The Tablet has learnt that outline planning has begun for him to attend the fiftieth Eucharistic Congress in Dublin from 10 to 17 June 2012. Last week, the Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, who did not attend the Pope’s state visit to Britain, said that he would be pleased to meet Pope Benedict in Ireland and that he had “grounds for believing that could happen as soon as 2012”. Vatican sources said that nothing had been planned yet. However, observers from gov- ernment agencies on both sides of the Irish border and the Archdioceses of Armagh and

Dublin have been monitoring the security and logistical arrangements for the papal visit to Scotland and England and are drawing up their own plans for 2012. Sources say the itinerary could include the opening ceremony of the Eucharistic Congress at Croke Park sports stadium, Dublin, which has a capacity of 80,000. In Northern Ireland, 100,000 pilgrims could be expected at a serv- ice on the outskirts of Armagh City, near the Navan Fort, once the capital of the ancient province of Ulster.

A delegation from the Dublin Diocese is

expected in Rome next month to make a pres- entation to Vatican officials about the Eucharistic Congress, which was previously staged in Ireland in 1932. The papal schedule for 2012 is not expected to be decided until next June.

Church leaders prepare for visitation

CARDINAL SEAN BRADY is to travel to Rome next week with Ireland’s three archbishops to discuss the Vatican’s forthcoming investigation into the Irish Church. The prelates will go to the Congregation of Bishops to discuss preparations for the Apostolic Visitation, which is due to take place later in the month. Cardinal Brady, who is Archbishop of Armagh, will

be accompanied by the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dermot Clifford and the Archbishop of Tuam, Michael Neary. The visitation was announced by Pope Benedict XVI in the aftermath of the abuse scandal in the Irish Church. The former Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor,

will conduct the inquiry in Armagh, while other members of the Congregation of Bishops will investigate the other archdioceses. A separate apostolic

visitation to the seminaries will be led by the Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, who will scrutinise St Patrick’s College, Maynooth and the Pontifical Irish College in Rome.


I think it is Max Weber who somewhere equates sociological enquiries with nation- alised introversion and says that their prevalence indicates the decadence of soci- ety. I hope he is wrong; but one might be excused from wondering whether the seemingly endless flow of investigations on the colour problem is an effect or a con- tributory cause of the problem. The “coloured invasion” from the West

Indies is good for a headline in the less sedate press about every two months or so.

Yesterday one could read that as many arrived in May and June this year as arrived in the whole of 1959 and that this year’s figure has already reached twenty thou- sand. No mention is made of the fact that last year’s numbers were the lowest since 1954 and that this year’s are not likely to exceed 1957’s twenty-seven thousand. It is signif- icant too that Nottingham and Notting Hill still evoke a slightly hysterical response, despite the fact that no lives were lost and no very serious injuries sustained. It is almost as though some writers are anxious to keep alive the memory of what has already been done. The Tablet, 1 October 1960


Since the album of franks has been put away, and the plush-bound autograph book that used always to go to the concert halls with its owner has been left at home, autograph-collecting in its more insipid forms is on the wane. In the sale-room the album of musical signatures is a necessary disappointment to the seller: it fetches naught. The school- boy, it is true, still besieges the cricket pavilion; but it is doubtful if Mr le Couteur has to be obliging so often as a Grace or a Stoddart of past years. In the meantime the collector who takes his autographs seriously, and considers the contents of a letter with as much care as the signature, never disappears; and a whole book has but lately been written for him.

Among its many anecdotes we find that of the nobleman who went to an expert to ascertain the value of a bundle of letters he had found among the family papers. Before producing them he explained that they were written by “one of the Popes”, but which, he could not say, as they were only signed “A Pope”! When they came to be sold at auction, they fetched £600 as a particularly interesting series of epis- tles from the author of “The Rape of the Lock”.

The Tablet, 1 October 1910 2 October 2010 | THE TABLET | 41

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