On Wednesday, 26 April, Colin Bloom, Independent Faith Engagement Adviser to the government, published his independent review titled: Does government ‘do God?’ examining how the government engages with faith.
We welcome that the review heralds the vital contribution made by faith communities, including the Catholic Church, to the common good of society – providing for believers and non-believers alike in educational and healthcare settings as well as many other areas of public service.
For example, there are 2,175 Catholic schools, colleges and academies across England and Wales, representing just under 10% of state education. Catholic pupils achieve the highest GCSE RE results in the country and represent a quarter of all entrants.
The detail of specific proposals, such as those that relate to supplementary schooling, will need to be examined to assess the practical implications on sacramental preparation, children’s liturgies and catechesis, all of which make an important contribution to the development of young people and the building of our diverse Catholic communities.
The review gives specific attention to the place of faith in prisons and in the armed forces. The Catholic Church has long established provision for chaplaincy in prisons and, through the Bishopric of the Forces, the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force.
We remain committed to working with Government in all areas of common interest but particularly around promoting religious literacy and Government understanding of a Catholic approach to education, prisons and the armed forces.
You can also read a statement on the review from the Catholic Education Service.