Displaying items by tag: Catholics
St John's Seminary, near Guildford, has come to the end of an era. The 130-year-old institution has only five trainee priests and no new enrolments. The five students will continue their studies at the only other two remaining seminaries in England. In 2019 there were just 29 trainee Catholic priests in the whole country. 100 years ago there were enough seminarians to fill the steps of the grand Victorian building of St John’s. Its rector said, 'It's a very sad moment, but to carry on was not viable. When I trained here in 1973 I was one of 90. I never thought I'd be back overseeing its closure.' The loss of the seminary comes against a backdrop of an increasingly secular world and the fallout from countless sex abuse scandals in the church. The seminaries are swimming against the tide in an increasingly secular and materialistic society.
Anglican and Catholic leaders have made a joint submission to the Foreign Office’s independent review, requesting support for persecuted Christians. In a letter accompanying the submission the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, said that in many places ‘our Christian sisters and brothers face persecution of an intensity and extent unprecedented in many centuries.’ However, these threats to freedom of religion or belief are not restricted to Christians alone, but are widely experienced by followers of other faiths. ‘We ask the Government to take note of the practical recommendations offered in this submission and to take meaningful action not only in protecting Christians facing persecution but also in promoting freedom of religion and belief more widely,’ they said.