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The snake is living yet: how Catholic schools are putting political correctness ahead of Religious teaching in favour of political correctness

Updated: Feb 28

Whilst completing an ESTA form for my upcoming trip to the states I was asked whether I plan to commit any acts of genocide or terrorism whilst there: Yes or No? It’s good to know some things are still binary. I ticked no. Homeland security can breathe a collective sigh of relief and go back to celebrating whichever identity group tops the charts this month.

It’s not a great way to screen out potential threats but it is, at least, a way of being seen to be doing something.

In the same way potential teachers in a catholic school are asked at interview “do you agree to uphold the catholic ethos of the school?”, to which they reply “Yes”.

Handshakes happen. Biscuits are eaten and everyone’s jolly relieved that they managed to recruit at all.

The news last week that some schools are allowing kids to be recognised as the gender that they choose, whilst keeping it quiet from the parents, didn’t surprise me at all. What does surprise me is how little parents seem to know about what goes on in schools, even Catholic schools.

Whilst not all teachers will see young people as tools to further their own political agenda, the problem exists and is deep rooted, exacerbated in Catholic schools, by a failure to form the formators.

In 2022 Nadhim Zahawi issued rules on how to approach the teaching of sensitive issues, saying that the guidance would help avoid “promoting contested theories as fact”.

For Catholic schools there is a greater danger than even this, and it is in the promotion of such political theories as a means of salvation.

When they do this, Catholic schools succumb to the temptation so brilliantly exposed by Pope Benedict XVI in his book ‘Jesus of Nazareth’, to push God aside in favour of some other saving power;

“…are not social problems, the primary true yardstick by which redemption has to be measured?” He says “Does someone who fails to measure up to this standard have any right to be called a redeemer? Marxism quite understandably made this very point the core of its promise of salvation. It would see to it that no one went hungry anymore and that the desert would become bread. ‘If you are the son of god…’ What a challenge, and should we not say the same thing to the church? ‘if you claim to be the Church of God then start by making sure the world has bread”

Pope Benedict points out that the choice between Jesus and Barabbas is not accidental “two messianic figures, two forms of messianic belief stand in opposition. Barabbas figures as a sort of alter ego of Jesus who makes the same claim but understands it in a completely different way. The choice is between a messiah who promises freedom and a kingdom of one’s own and this mysterious Jesus who proclaims that losing oneself is the way to life. Is it any wonder that the crowds prefer Barabbas? If we had to choose today” Pope Benedict asks “would Jesus of Nazareth the son of Mary, the son of the father have a chance? Do we really know Jesus at all? Do we understand him? Do we not perhaps have to make an effort today, as always, to get to know him all over again?”

Isn’t this what we should be able to trust our catholic schools to do? To help our children get to know Him all over again? Instead, many teachers (unformed themselves) adopt and promote the political ideals of diversity, inclusion and equity as a path to salvation, they, knowingly or unknowingly, replace God as the summum bonum and conform the children in their care to this new highest good.

The problem is that only someone with the fullness of authority has the real saving power. Pope Benedict reminds us that “Without heaven, without God, earthly power is always ambiguous and fragile. Only when power submits to the measure and judgement of God can it become power for good, and only when power stands under God can it be trusted. Jesus has this power in virtue of his resurrection, which presupposes the cross….the kingdom of Christ is different from the kingdoms of the earth, and the splendour which Satan parades before Him [in the wilderness], is an illusory appearance that disintegrates”

Catholic parents should be aware that what is paraded before their children at school is often exactly that, an illusion.

As Pope Benedict sharply observes “The tempter is not so crude as to suggest to us that we should worship the devil, he merely suggests that we should opt for the reasonable decision”.

Russian mystic Vladimir Soloviev attributes to the anti-christ a book entitled “the open way to world peace and welfare”, this book becomes, according to Pope Benedict “something of a new bible, whose real message is the worship of wellbeing and rational planning.”

It would be hard to find a Catholic school that hasn’t in some form or another fallen victim to this temptation.

It's easy to blame the teachers.

I have met more than my fair share of militant secular activists working in Catholic schools. I have been told by them that my moral compass is awry because I believe abortion to be morally wrong. Reminded that ‘Hitler was a Christian’ when I questioned the use of CRT over the teachings of Holy Mother Church. I have been called a bigot for refusing to wear a rainbow lanyard and lectured about how Jesus would have been the first to slip one on. My claim to believe in objective truth was met with comparisons to ISIS. This is the reality for many faithful Catholics working in Catholic schools. It’s hard to detect the subversion from a quick whistle-stop tour on open evening, but it lurks behind every statue of Mary and is sealed within the very public sign of the cross.

But the poorly formed teachers are just victims, they are not to blame. “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”. The fault lies with the weak leaders who are unable or unwilling to address the problem. Until they do, we must have our wits about us and avoid becoming like Belloc’s aunt in Yucatan;

“Who bought a python from a man

And kept it for a pet.

She died because she never knew

Those simple little rules and few –

The snake is living yet”

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