Gross distortion from the ‘integration tsar’

SIR – Dame Louise Casey has told a House of Commons select committee that “it is not OK for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage”. She has attempted to put Catholic schools into the same category as those Birmingham state schools subjected to Islamic Trojan Horse tactics.

Dame Louise’s 2015 report defended faith schools. Perhaps now she was trying to give “balance” after her devastating criticism of Islamic tactics. She provides only a gross distortion of the Church’s teaching and education policy. Gay people are due the same respect as everyone else. The Church opposes discrimination. That does not mean that the Church accepts gay marriage. Dame Louise should herself read the Department of Education’s guidance: “No school,or individual teacher, is under a duty to support, promote or endorse marriage of same-sex couples”. She says “mixing is a good thing”. Catholic schools are mixed: mixed ethnically, mixed across the spectrum. They include many who are not Catholic. But they share an ethos for which Catholics have always stood.

“Tsar” is an unfitting title, however informal, for any official or minister. Law did not obtain in Tsarist Russia. Here it does. The danger here is that the intolerance of liberal totalitarians will undermine the law’s respect for religious freedom.

Yours faithfully,

Fr Leo Chamberlain OSB

St John’s Priory,Easingwold, North Yorkshire

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