Barry Sheerman on faith: OK in moderation
At least six cheers for Barry Sheerman, Labour MP for Huddersfield, with his splendidly English reaction to reports that Roman Catholic bishops in England are trying to insist that state-funded Catholic schools should teach Catholic doctrine (including condemnation of abortion, contraception, same-sex partnerships, etc.) and stay clear of such banned activities as sex education. According to The Observer on 30 December 2007, —
Barry Sheerman, chairman of the parliamentary cross-party committee on children, schools and families, said he …. felt that behind the scenes there was 'intense turmoil' about the future of Catholic education. 'A group of bishops appear to be taking a much firmer line and I think it would be useful to call representatives of the Catholic church in front of the committee to find out what is going on,' he said. 'It seems to me that faith education works all right as long as people are not that serious about their faith. But as soon as there is a more doctrinaire attitude questions have to be asked. It does become worrying when you get a new push from more fundamentalist bishops. This is taxpayers' money after all.' [Emphasis added]
Mr Sheerman's interrogation of the RC bishops whom he proposes to summon to give an account of themselves to his parliamentary committee should be an event to remember.