Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Eric Hester meeting with Bishop McMahon

Bishop Malcolm McMahon of Nottingham is the new Chairman of the Catholic Education Service

Eric Hester writes : 'Bishop McMahon is the bishop in charge of education for the Bishops' Conference. I recently went to see him after he and I had exchanged letters on the subject of the government's plans to make sex education compulsory for all children in state schools and the support this has received from the CES (Catholic Education Service). The first thing to say is that the bishop very readily agreed to meet me, arranged a time to suit my travelling to Nottingham and treated me most courteously, allowing our talk to go on beyond the hour arranged. In fact, it all went beyond courtesy: the bishop listened most carefully and sympathetically and allowed me to make all the points that I wanted and to produce the relevant evidence. He discussed things with me, raised some questions and was most willing to answer all my questions to him. And the result? Well, I had hoped to persuade the bishop there and then to renounce any support for the government. This he did not do. However, he agreed to consider carefully all that I had said to reconsider his position especially when the government announces the results of its 'consultation' and to talk the matter over with others.

'One thing the bishop said surprised me: he said that he was not aware that there was any special alarm among Catholic parents and others about the government's proposals. I think that we all need to consider what we do here. Perhaps we look at supportive websites, read our own publications and assume that the case for or against something will be obvious and does not need stating. It could be, too, that Catholics have been so badly treated in the past that they feel it is a waste of time writing to the bishops. I do not believe that this is the case with Bishop McMahon. We need to do more, I think. I do not want to shower the bishop with sudden letters, but it would be a good thing if those who do feel strongly ensured that they wrote to him, mentioning perhaps who they are 'Writing as a parent, grandparent, former teacher, school governor, etc' and making simple points in their own way to show their concern. At the same time, they could send a copy of the letter to their own bishop or write another letter to him.

The address is: His Lordship the Bishop of Nottingham, Bishop's House, 27 Cavendish Road East, The Park, Nottingham. NG7 1BB. Finally, I made it clear to the bishop that if the CES continued its support for the government, it, and the bishops, could expect the greatest opposition ever seen by lay Catholics in England since the rights of parents on sex education are 'inalienable' and may not be usurped by anyone, not even a bishop, let alone the members of the present government.

(h/t to Jackie Parkes)


Catholic Mom of 10 said...

Thanks for posting Oliver..I hope you can come to the new group...I will tell you more when I see you..I've been defecting to St Pats some of the time!

Catholic Mom of 10 said...

Oliver I also nominated you for a meme where you " Say something nice about a Priest" & pass on to 3 more blogs!