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Appeal Court rules against nun’s benefits claim Report, page 34


Call to replace director of education


Sam Adams


THE FORMERchairman of governors at one of England’s top Catholic schools has called for the Westminster Diocese’s respected direc- tor of education to be replaced. In an attack on the diocese’s education service, Sir Adrian FitzGerald described its director Paul Barber as “a barrack-room lawyer” and said he felt he should be replaced with an “educationalist” with more experience. Speaking at the first Zephyr debate held by the British branch of the Knights of Malta in London on Tuesday, Sir Adrian criticised the diocese for its recent decision to appoint four new foundation governors to the board of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, west London, including Mr Barber. “Paul Barber should be replaced,” said Sir Adrian . “It is frankly bizarre to employ a litigious barrack room lawyer as director of education.” Sir Adrian, who is president of the Irish


Association of the Knights of Malta, also called for the chairman of the diocese’s education


commission, Bishop George Stack, to be replaced with a lay person. “Arguably a clerical chairman has neither the experience, the time nor the inclination to run such an organisation as well as fulfilling his other duties,” he said. Neither Mr Barber nor Bishop Stack was present at the meeting and they have yet to respond formally to Sir Adrian’s criticisms. A spokesman for Westminster diocese


expressed surprise at the personal nature of Sir Adrian’s comments and expressed the hope that the diocese, governors and parents would work together to continue to develop the strong Catholic ethos of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School and support its academic excellence. Parent governors at the school believe the diocese acted improperly by appointing the four foundation governors and have sought an injunction to stop the new governing body meeting. They argue it was wrong that none of the foundation governors is a parent of pupils at the school. However, while a junction was initially granted, last month the court ruled that the diocese’s appointment of the new governors is legal. The governing body then began meeting, but in the latest ruling, the judge did not grant a fresh injunction request from the parents to stop governors’ meetings until the legal dispute is resolved. A new body, the Vaughan Parents’ Action Group, has been set up and has been granted leave to appeal the High Court decision.


Church ‘must learn from abuse victims’


VICTIMS OF clerical abuse are the Church’s “essential teachers”, according to a member of the Vatican-appointed team overseeing the visitation in the Archdiocese of Armagh, writes Sarah Mac Donald. At a service of penitence and healing in St


Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh last Sunday, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, who is leading the apostolic visitation in the diocese, and Catholic peer Baroness (Sheila) Hollins, who is one of his assistants in the process, made a number of important observations on the nature of their meetings with the public across the archdiocese over the course of the previous two weeks. In his homily, the Archbishop Emeritus of


Westminster said many in the Church in Ireland were “downcast and sad” with “broken dreams and lost hopes and an awareness that things will never be the same again”. The cardinal said he had heard “voices of great pain and suffering” belonging to the survivors of abuse as well as their shame and their anger. He added: “I have also heard voices of ... honesty and the integrity of the people and good priests.” There had also been “voices of faith and a


determination to persevere in the building up of the Church in this diocese”. These had pledged “openness and transparency in facing the issues of abuse”. Baroness Hollins, a consultant psychiatrist, said in her address that what she had heard was “the suffering of so many people, people who have not been listened to, and who have not felt the Church alongside them, uncon- ditionally loving them and helping them to rise above their pain”. She described those who have experienced abuse as “our essential teachers” adding: “Unless we listen and include the very people who have suffered the most, we will get things wrong.” Ahead of the service of penitence and heal- ing, four representatives of victims of abuse in Catholic-run institutions in Northern Ireland, including members of the group Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse, met Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor and his team at Dromantine Retreat House in Newry last Friday. Spokesman Jon McCourt, who was abused at the Termonbacca home in Derry, which was run by the Sisters of Nazareth, praised the cardinal’s directness and willing- ness to listen to victims.


IN BRIEF


In the footsteps of Jesus The Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols has announced that he is setting up an annual pilgrimage to the Holy Land for his diocese. A spokesman said the first pilgrimage would take place from 3 to 11 November this year. Archbishop Nichols said that the eight-day pilgrimage would include visits to sites in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Galilee. “The main pur- pose of this annual pilgrimage is that we journey together as a diocese to pray together in the places where the Lord and his disciples prayed,” he said, adding there would also be an opportunity for the dio- cese to show solidarity with the local churches in the Holy Land which are in great need of support.


Romero lecturer announced A leading Central American Jesuit is to give the Archbishop Romero Lecture dur- ing a three-day programme of speaking engagements in March. Theologian and social scientist Fr Juan Hernández Pico SJ will be speaking in London, Salford, Newcastle and Edinburgh, delivering a lecture entitled “Romero and the social Gospel – the challenge for us today”. Fr Juan was a close friend and colleague of the six Jesuit martyrs murdered in 1989. He is currently a professor of theology at the Jesuit University in San Salvador.


Full-scale restoration for St Mary’s The University Church of St Mary the Virgin in Oxford has been awarded a £3.4 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant for a five-year refurbishment and conserva- tion. The investment will pay for repair of the church’s facade, including the stonework, spire and tower, as well as vital repairs to the interior. St Mary’s, a Grade- I listed building, was where the Oxford Movement was founded. Newman was its vicar from 1828-43.


Parishes garner fruits of papal visit A new programme has been launched by the Home Mission department of the bish- ops’ conference of England and Wales to build on the legacy of the Pope’s visit to the UK last year. Under the title “Some Definite Purpose”, the programme reflects the contents of Benedict XVI’s addresses. A number of events have been timetabled, with the legacy categorised under six head- ings: “To know our purpose”, “To grow in confidence”, “To witness to our faith”, “To serve others”, “To seek and engage in dia- logue”, and “To point to the transcendent”.


29 January 2011 | THE TABLET | 33


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