Hammersmith and Fulham Catholic Schools on Anti-Gay Marriage

The recent controversy surrounding attempts by the Catholic Education Service to sway children being educated in state funded Catholic schools to a more homophobic persuasion was a shock to all right-thinking people. The shock and disgust is part of a general move towards liberal thinking amongst society at large and indeed amongst some Christians themselves.

This got me wondering what my local Catholic schools had to say on the matter and what their reactions were if they received the letter at all.
To this end I wrote letters – sent at about midnight on 2nd May – to The London Oratory School and Sacred Heart High School which can be seen below.

Dear Mr McFadden,

I am writing regarding the recent news about an anti-gay marriage message
sent out by the Catholic Education Service to approximately 359
state-funded Catholic secondary schools.

If I may I would like to pose my questions in order so that you can reply
easily as you come to each query.

1) Did your school receive the aforementioned letter from the Catholic
Education Service and if so what was your response, if any, to the letter?

2) Again, if you received the letter did this have any impact on lessons at
the school? Were any children made aware of the contents of the letter?
It seems that the Headmistress at St Philomena’s Catholic High School
actively encouraged students to sign an anti-gay marriage petition after a
presentation. Did anything like this occur at your school?

3) If you disagree with the letter sent out by the Catholic Education
Service how have you shown your disagreement?

4) What is the school’s stance on gay marriage and homosexuality in general
and how is that view taught in the classrooms?

5) Would you be able to send me a copy of the school’s sex education policy
which is alluded to but not displayed on the website?

This final question is more general in its nature but I would appreciate
any answer you can give if you have the time.

6) Given the move towards atheism and calls for secular schooling and
governance (from theist and atheist secularists alike) do you feel that
faith schools, which are exclusionary by their nature, have and indeed
deserve a place in modern society? Would it not, for instance, be better to
leave religious teachings to Sunday Schools and have regular schools teach
about theism and indeed atheism?

I sincerely hope that you will see fit to respond to my questions. I have
been a life-long Fulham resident and come from a Catholic family where
decisions on a child’s education do come down to a schools religion so
these recent events are close to my heart.

Warmest regards,
James Smith.

And this one to Sacred Hearts High School which is almost entirely the same as the one above.

Dear Dr Carpenter,

I am writing regarding the recent news about an anti-gay marriage message sent out by the Catholic Education Service to approximately 359 state-funded Catholic secondary schools.

If I may I would like to pose my questions in order so that you can reply easily as you come to each query.

1) Did your school receive the aforementioned letter from the Catholic Education Service and if so what was your response, if any, to the letter?

2) Again, if you received the letter did this have any impact on lessons at the school? Were any children made aware of the contents of the letter?
It seems that the Headmistress at St Philomena’s Catholic High School actively encouraged students to sign an anti-gay marriage petition after a presentation. Did anything like this occur at your school?

3) If you disagree with the letter sent out by the Catholic Education Service how have you shown your disagreement?

4) What is the school’s stance on gay marriage and homosexuality in general and how is that view taught in the classrooms?

5) If not covered by the previous question would you be able to expand on the school’s teachings regarding homosexuality in the context of sex education?

This final question is more general in its nature but I would appreciate any answer you can give if you have the time.

6) Given the move towards atheism and calls for secular schooling and governance (from theist and atheist secularists alike) do you feel that faith schools, which are exclusionary by their nature, have and indeed deserve a place in modern society? Would it not, for instance, be better to leave religious teachings to Sunday Schools and have regular schools teach about theism and indeed atheism?

I sincerely hope that you will see fit to respond to my questions. I have been a life-long Fulham resident and come from a Catholic family where decisions on a child’s education do come down to a schools religion so these recent events are close to my heart.

Warmest regards,
James Smith.

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