Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ushaw Petition

I have some doubts about the efficacy of on-line petitions but when people have no other way of expressing their concern it is understandable that they arise. There is now an on-line petition regarding the future of Ushaw College. There are some quite interesting comments too. You will find it here.


Richard S Rainbow said...

On-line petitions are just so easy to sign; you don't even have to get out of your seat to do so. Those who are petitioned know that and treat such efforts with disdain. Of course, Father Michael, people should protest when they feel strongly about something but a handwritten, even a typed, letter is a much more effective method and one much more likely to be given some attention. It is also a method available to anyone!

1569 Rising said...


I share your doubts about the efficacy of on line petitions, but since there seems to be no other way for ordinary Catholics to express their disquiet about the handling of the closure, then it would appear that the least we can all do is to sign it.

Looking at the list of signatories so far, there seems to be a remarkable absence of clerical signatures. Also, St Cuthbert's Society, (the alumni organisation),
has maintained a deafening silence.
I have e-mailed the Chairman today,suggesting he encourage members to sign. I would not, of course, publish his e-mail address, but it can be found on the St Cuthbert's Society web site.

Leo Darroch said...

There are always doubts about all kinds of petitions but people have to do the best they can in the circumstances in which they find themselves. Quite a few people have expressed their frustration that this decision has been announced without any explanation for the reasons why. People are aware that business plans have been put forward which would bring in much needed finance but they have been ignored without consultation. Why?
A northern bishop wrote to me on 4th November and said: "Since the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, Catholics are no longer prepared to be treated as children - ruled by bishops and talked down to by priests." And yet this is precisely what is happening over the closure of Ushaw. We are being kept in the dark as though our opinions are irrelevant.
It may be better on some occasions to write individual letters and anyone can do so in isolation, but the advantage of an online petition is that everyone can see the amount of protest that is building up. As one English bishop said a little while ago: "Anything I get from Rome I throw in the bottom drawer." If communications from Rome are treated with such disdain then I don't hold out much hope for letters from the faithful. Thankfully, the same cannot be done with an online petition. It is admirable that people are prepared to go public with their support and opinions which, in some instances, are very valuable and constructive.

So, if Richard feels strongly about the deafening silence over Ushaw, then I urge him to add his name to the online petition as well as writing an individual letter.

Richard S Rainbow said...

In reply to 1569 I must repeat that we can all write letters; signing an on-line petition is not the only thing which can be done.
I must thank Leo for his advice but I really have no strong feelings about Ushaw and so shall not be signing the petition nor writing to Seamus.

Richard S Rainbow said...

It may be that I was mistaken when I said that on-line petitions were just so easy to sign. The grand total, as I write, of 196 signatures indicates either that it is difficult to sign such petitions or that (but surely not!) there is rather less interest in saving Ushaw than some might have expected. A few more signatures will be needed before the bishops start to shake in their shoes and reverse the decision to close Ushaw.