In her letter Oona Stannard says:
"When Father Beck talks about writing additional references and asking parents to complete a “pre-reference” form detailing their involvement in the parish he is being discriminatory and undermining the Admissions Code. The definition of Catholic is baptism. The opportunity of the priest to note the level of practice of the faith for the purpose of school admissions should be limited to worship and must not be extended to other activities such as those suggested by Father Beck. Too often other activities and involvement in the life of the parish would favour those who are already advantaged by time and other resources; luxuries not open to everyone in an even handed way. Interviews are, whether intended or not, an exercise in discernment way beyond baptism and worship. Both interviews and additional form filling can place unfair burdens on families, for example, disadvantaging those new to this country or for whom English is a second language."
Soon any parent who brings their child to Sunday Mass at all, and who can read, will be stigmatised as being 'already advantaged' and therefore not in the target client group!
James Preece over at Catholic and Loving It has a couple of relevant questions for Oona,
I'm intrigued by Oona's assertion that:
"Too often other activities and involvement in the life of the parish would favour those who are already advantaged by time and other resources; luxuries not open to everyone.."
Assisting with church cleaning, parish youth group, school governance, UCM, CWL, care of the housebound, parish council, KSC, are among the many voluntary activities which generous Catholic parishioners undertake week in week out on in service of the parish, and often to raise funds for the parish.Surely the desire to help out in parish activities arises from the Christian call to love our neighbour, therefore to serve?
The Church does not call us to consider our luxuries and resources, but to love our neighbour as ourself. To love others is to serve them. It is open to Catholics to 'love their neighbour as themselves' by voluntary activities within the parish, sacrificing their time and energies for the good of others.
Love is sacrificial; the one who loves does not seek his own advantage, but receives an advantage nevertheless: the advantage of becoming more Christ-like. Is that really the sort of advantage Oona Stannard disapproves of?