BY SCO Admin | June 21 2013 | comments icon 1 COMMENT     print icon print


Standing up for our schools

Archbishop Gerhard Müller delivers defence of Catholic education at Cardinal Winning Lecture

One of Pope Francis’ most senior advisers has told Scotland that Catholic education remains ‘vitally important’ despite secular hostility to it.

When Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave the annual Cardinal Winning Lecture at Glasgow University last Saturday, he delivered a triumphant defence of Catholic schools saying they provide children with a vital ‘overarching philosophy of life.’

The archbishop also brought the Pope’s ‘warmest greetings’ to all Scotland’s Catholics and the Holy Father’s blessing for the new St Andrew’s Foundation for Catholic teacher education, which was launched at the lecture and at a special Mass at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Glasgow, the night before.

At the Cardinal Winning Lecture, Archbishop Müller told a large audience that Catholic education is vital for Scotland and the Church, adding that the new St Andrew’s Foundation for Catholic teacher education would be fundamental in securing its future.

“Catholic education is acknowledged by both Church and state as a fundamental right and primary responsibility of Catholic parents—the first educators of their children,” he said. “In accordance with this fundamental right, the state has the duty and responsibility to facilitate the wishes of Catholic parents to educate their children according to their desire to pass on their Faith to their children.”

The archbishop stressed that teachers had a very special role to play in proclaiming the Church’s message.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow, who introduced the German prelate at the lecture and read out a message from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone on behalf of the Holy Father to all present, said that the visit had been a ‘great success and his profound hope was that Scotland’s Catholics would take the Vatican prefect’s message of hope to heart.

“Archbishop Müller left an inspirational message of support for our priests, for our teachers and schools, and for all who have been involved in the launch of the new St Andrew’s Foundation,” he said. “His words deserve to be pondered carefully in the weeks and months to come.

After his lecture, reverent, a lively debate by a panel of academics including Papal advisor Professor John Haldane of St Andrew’s University was held.

Archbishop Müller refuted criticism in Scotland of Catholic education, the night before the lecture, during a joyful Mass at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow, attended by education professionals, students from schools—including St Andrew’s Secondary—and the wider community.

“The idea that Catholic schools are dangerous because they promote segregation can be disproved by forming young people who will become model citizens, agents of unity, promoters of true human well-being—but they will only be able to do this if they are imbued with Christ, one with Him, formed by His teaching and true friends of His,” he said at the Mass. are really serving our children, their families and our society as well.”

“We are building for the future.”

Leonard Franchi, the inaugural head of the St Andrew’s Foundation, said the Cardinal Winning Lecture had been a ‘tremendous success’ and Archbishop Müller’s words and visit were ‘a tour de force.’

Mr Franchi, who was presented with an icon of St Andrew at the Friday Mass by Michael McGrath on behalf of the Scottish Catholic Education Commission, offered his most ‘sincere thanks’ to Archbishop Müller and Archbishop Tartaglia and ‘to all who were involved in the organisation of both events and to all who attended.’


—Homilies, lectures and addresses in full from Archbishop Gerhard Müller’s visit to Scotland can be found on the SCO website in the opinion section



—     This story ran in full in the June 21 print edition of the SCO


Pic: Gerard Gough


Comments - One Response

  1. KP says:

    If we are going to continue to fight for catholic education then we need to make it something worth fighting for. The quality of catholic education has been, at best, hit and miss for at least the last 40 years. The basic ground is not being covered when it comes to teaching young people about their catholic faith. It’s probably no exaggeration to say that many young people coming out of our catholic schools can tell you more about Islam or Judaism than they can tell you about Catholicism. As an example and in relation to a recent article about the Real Presence, many Catholics do not know what transubstantiation is and they think the Eucharist is “symbolic.” Add to this that these same people don’t pay any reverence to the Blessed Sacrament when they enter or leave Mass on a Sunday. Those of them that do offer a half-hearted genuflection, believe that they are doing this because of the crucifix. It’s time to bring back the penny catechism approach and teach Catholics the truths that they are meant to hold dear. Unfortunately, there is a generation out there – many of them now parents and even grandparents – who do not have the first clue what they are meant to believe because of a diluted religious education. Worse, they think that it’s ok to pick and choose what bits of Catholicism they like and discard the rest. As an example, just look at some of the “celebrities,” who claim to be Catholic, supporting same-sex marriage.

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