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Page 23, 24th May 1902

24th May 1902
Page 23
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The seventh annual meeting was held at Ampleforth Abbey on May 13 and 14 at the invitation of the Right Rev. Abbot Smith who presided. There were present : The Bishop of Newport and the Bishop of Southwark ; Mgr. Ward (St. Edmund's) ; Mgr. Corbishley (Ushaw) ; Dr. Butler (St.Charles') ; Father Bampton, S.J.(Beaumont) ; Father Browne, S.J. (Stonyhurst) ; Canon Banks (St. Edward's) ; Prior Burge, O.S.B. (hon. member); Father Colley, S.J. (Provincial S.J.) ; Father Cremonini (Radcliffe) ; Dr. Casartelli (St. Bede's, Manchester); Brother Cyril (Mayfield) ; Father Donnelly, S.J. (Stamford Hill) ; Brother Edmund (Manchester); Brother Gabriel (Clapham) ; Father Howlett, O.S.B. (Downside) ; Father Hayes, S.J. (St. Francis Xavier's) ; Dr. Hinsley (St. Bede's, Bradford) ; Father Hooley (Wonersh) ; Father McHale, S.J. (St. Francis Xavier's) ; Father Mann (Newcastle) ; Father O'Hare, S.J. Wimbledon) ; Father Payne, S.J. (Mount St. Mary's) ; Brother Strahan (Prior Park) ; Father Turner (Weybridge) ; Father Wright, S.J. (Preston) ; Father Hind, O.S.B. (Rector of Ampleforth).


The guests arrived on Monday evening and were much impressed by the appearance of the new Abbey and grounds. The new building was begun in 1893 and is practically complete in all appointments. The monastery, designed by Mr. Bernard Smith, is in the late Tudor style and is an exceedingly handsome structure. The proceedings were opened on Tuesday morning in the Calefactory of the Abbey, a spacious and wellappointed apartment giving a charming view over the valleys and hills to the south. Father Abbot, the President, delivered a very striking address which seemed to catch the dominant feeling of the meeting. The main subject of the address was drawn from the Abbot's own experience of young men who had finished their course in secondary schools. His impressions were that most of these young men were quite fit for their post collegiate studies, but that those who had been stimulated to extra effort at college succeeded better than those whose minds had not been awakened in this manner. He dwelt at some length on the feeling of power developed in some, and suggested that masters should try to encourage the same feeling of power in all. The result would be that our young men would be more ready to grapple with the various problems that present themselves after college life. He put in a plea for greater attention being paid to the average boy in our schools, and gave several practical hints how such attention might be given. The result aimed at was that no set work which had to be mastered should appear beyond the power of a boy of average ability.

The next paper was contributed by the Rev. I. B. McLoughlin, on the " Higher Recreations of a College,' in which he represented the different means by which boys can he interested in poetry, literature, archxology, and elementary science by a teacher who knows how to convey the information by familiar lectures and country rambles.

The afternoon was devoted to the question of Catholic grammar schools. The subject was introduced by a paper read by Dr. Hinsley, of St. Bede's Grammar School, Bradford. The writer, in glowing and earnest language, pleaded for the establishment of grammar schools in all our large centres of population. He quoted a most significant passage from the first Synodal Letter issued by the English Hietarchy in 1852, in which the establishment of these grammar schools was emphasised in a manner which could hardly be exceeded in the present day. The general sense of the Conference was strongly in favour of Dr. Hensley's views ; and the membeis warmly applauded Father Hayes, who, in a most telling speech, warmly advocated the multiplication of Catholic grammar schools.


This was followed by a paper from Father McHale, of St. Francis Xavier's, Liverpool, on the Government Inspection of secondary schools. He gave in great detail the whole process of the inspection of St. Francis Xavier's by the Board of Education in 1901. The ordeal was a most searching one, and the school came out of it with increased reputation. Father Colley's annual review of the legislation affecting secondary schools during the past year was the first taken on Wednesday morning. The Conference had been looking forward with

great interest to a paper by Professor Windle, but to their great regret the Professor was unable to attend. Mgr. Ward kindly undertook at very short notice to read a paper in his place on Registration of Teachers. After a lengthy discussion raised by the last two papers the Conference resolved to draft a resolution approving in general of the Education Bill before Parliament. The resolution ran as follows :

"The Conference of the Headmasters of the Catholic secondary schools in England, assembled in their annual meeting at Ampleforth College, York, wish to express their satisfaction with the clauses of the Government Education Bill which refer to secondary education. But in common with others interested in this important subject they regret that his Majesty's Government did not see their way to make the application of the local taxation residue to secondary education obligatory. They venture to hope that it is not too late for the Government to make some alteration to this effect in the Bill as it passes through committee."


On Wednesday afternoon the proceedings were opened by a paper front Father O'Hare, S.J., of Wimbledon, entitled :

"The Preparation of Catholics for the Army,4 in which he set

forth the methods of the Army Department at Wimbledon College, where boys are very successfully prepared for the army by professional tutors under the direction of the Fathers of the Society. In the discussion that followed, Father Bampton gave a rather startling account of the growth of the numbers of Catholics who are now frequenting Eton and other public schools. From his intercourse with parents of these boys he learned that although the education given in Catholic schools was admitted to be not inferior in point of efficiency to that of the public schools, it is the question of social advantages that influences Catholic parents to desert their own Catholic colleges for non-Catholic schools.

These deplorable facts were also enforced by Father Howlett, of Downside, and other speakers. The Bishop of Southwark acknowledged the gravity of the situation to which he could testify by his own experience. This tendency, he felt, was owing to the growth of worldliness among the well-to-do Cathol cs. He urged upon the clergy the duty of insisting upon every suitable occasion on the great principles of self-denial and self-sacrifice for the faith, without which there is danger of a serious defection in our upper classes. A very general desire

was expressed by the Conference that some means should be taken to bring more generally before the Catholic laity the recent pronouncement of the Holy See upon non-Catholic secondary schools, and the Pastoral Letter of the Cardinal Archbishop upon the same subject.

It was proposed by Dr. Hinsley, and warmly taken up by the Conference, that Dr. Casartelli should be asked to under take the compilation of a volume of essays dealing with secondary education drawn from the reports of the various Conferences held up to the present.

At the invitation of Dr. Butler, it was resolved to hold the Conference for 1903 at St. Charles' College, Bayswater, May

26 and 27, and Dr. Butler was elected President for the coming year. Mgr. Ward was re-elected Hon. Secretary and Treasurer. A cordial vote of thanks to Father Abbot Smith was passed.

In the evening Father Abbot entertained the members at dinner, at which the usual loyal toasts were duly honoured. It is hardly necessary to add that the usual traditions of Benedictine hospitality were thoroughly observed and fully appreciated by the Conference.

In the college chapel the members attended each evening the May devotions and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. They were much struck with the sweet and devout singing of the choir. Before taking his departure on Thursday morning the Bishop of Southwark gave the boys a short address, which produced a great impression upon those who heard him, and at his lordship's request the school was granted a holiday.