The Spirit of England - Catholic Education in England - A Case History

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
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Origins of Roman Catholic Education
for more information about Holy Cross School scroll down

Some interesting comments about this post have been published.
Some are downright offensive - most are negative, and poorly argued.
It should be remembered that individuals making these comments were teenagers at the time of the events described, were not in a position to know, or understand, what was really going on at the school in question.
Those individuals should also note that the purpose of the post was to describe events, individuals and attitudes that could be considered to have contributed to the decline of Catholic education in Thanet.
The fact that, apart from the Ursuline Convent School, there is no secondary Catholic education in Thanet at the present time should indicate that, from the 1970s onwards, there was a chronic lack of direction, leadership and competence among the 'leading' figures in the Roman Catholic community in Thanet.
The author of the post in question is neither 'mad', as some individuals have suggested, or motivated by 'spite', but rather reflecting, sadly, on a tragedy which has been unrecorded for many years.

And please note - this post is not yet completed - there is more to come !

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Thanet has an important place in the history of Christianity in England.
Once, famously described as the 'backside' of England (although 'backside was not the exact word used), Thanet, unlikely though it may seem, was where English Latin Christianity began
And it's all because of Augustine - who plays a large part in this story.
Augustine of Canterbury (circa first third of the 6th century – probably 26 May 604) was a Benedictine monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 597.
He is considered the "Apostle to the English" and a founder of the English Church.
Roman Standard
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Before the Roman withdrawal in 410 AD, Britannia had been converted to Christianity.
Britain sent three bishops to the Council of Arles in 314, and a Gaulish bishop went to the island in 396 to help settle disciplinary matters.
Saxon Warriors

After the Roman legions departed, pagan tribes settled the southern parts of the island while western Britain, beyond the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, remained Christian.
This native Celtic Church developed in isolation from Rome under the influence of missionaries from Ireland and was centred on monasteries instead of bishoprics.
Other distinguishing characteristics were its calculation of the date of Easter and the style of the tonsure haircut that clerics wore.
Evidence for the survival of Christianity in the eastern part of Britain during this time includes the survival of the cult of Saint Alban and the occurrence in place names of eccles, derived from the Latin ecclesia, meaning "church".

Saint Alban
Westminster Cathedral

Saint Alban is venerated as the first British Christian martyr. Along with his fellow saints Amphibalus, Julius and Aaron, Alban is one of four named martyrs remembered from Roman Britain. He was martyred by beheading in the Roman city of Verulamium (modern St. Alban's Cathedral) sometime during the 3rd or 4th century, and his cult has been celebrated there since ancient times.

There is no evidence that these native Christians tried to convert the Anglo-Saxons.
The invasions destroyed most remnants of Roman civilisation in the areas held by the Saxons and related tribes, including the economic and religious structures .

Pope Gregory I
Westminster Cathedral
It was against this background that Pope Gregory I decided to send a mission, often called the Gregorian Mission, to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity in 595.

'St Gregory and the Angels'
Westminster Cathedral
And so we have the famous story, based on the words, 'Non Angli, sed angeli' – "They are not Angles, but angels".
These, apparently were the words spoken by Gregory when he first encountered pale-skinned English boys at a slave market, sparking his dispatch of St. Augustine of Canterbury to England to convert the English, and he continued "Well named, for they have angelic faces".
Which is about as 'camp' as you can get - and shows that such attitudes were not restricted to the contemporary Catholic hierarchy.
And so Augustine, who was accompanied by Laurence of Canterbury, his eventual successor to the archbishopric, and a group of about 40 companions, some of whom were monks, landed in Kent in 597, to convert the island of 'beautiful boys'.
After converting almost everyone in sight, Augustine established his episcopal see at Canterbury.
Ecclesia Anglia
The Church of England
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
There is much Catholic history which need not concern us here (check the Contents of this blog for more information)
Augustine's work, however, was undone much later by the Protestant Reformation, and the establishment of the Church of England.

Pope Pius IX
Eventually, though, the Roman Catholic church was re-established in England by a Papal Bull, 'Universalis Ecclesiae', of 29 September 1850 by which Pope Pius IX recreated the Roman Catholic diocesan hierarchy in England, which had been extinguished with the death of the last Marian bishop in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. 

Queen Elizabeth I of England
New names were given to the dioceses, as the old ones were in use by the Church of England.
The bull aroused considerable anti-Catholic feeling among English Protestants.
The reasons for the re-establishment of the hierarchy were stated in the bull and are: "Considering the actual condition of Catholicism in England, reflecting on the considerable number of the Catholics, a number every day augmenting, and remarking how from day to day the obstacles become removed which chiefly opposed the propagation of the Catholic religion, We perceived that the time had arrived for restoring in England the ordinary form of ecclesiastical government, as freely constituted in other nations, where no particular cause necessitates the ministry of Vicars Apostolic."
The London district became the metropolitan archdiocese of Westminster and the diocese of Southwark; and it was Southwark diocese that controlled the Roamn Catholic Church in Thanet.

With regard to Augustine, St Augustine's Cross, a stone Celtic cross, was erected in 1884, marks the spot in Ebbsfleet, Thanet, East Kent, where Augustine is said to have landed.

Catholic Education in England

Following the Reformation in the 16th century, the Church’s role as a provider of public education went largely underground until the re-establishment of the Roman Hierarchy by Pope Pius IX in 1850 - (see above), however, in 1847 the Catholic Poor School Committee was already established, which focused on the promotion of Catholic primary education. 
Because the Church has always viewed education as vital to the formation and development of the the church membership, it put the setting up of Catholic schools for the Catholic community ahead of building Churches, often using its schools in those early days as the place for worship for the parish.
In 1905 the Catholic Education Council was established as the overarching organisation to promote Catholic Education in England and Wales on behalf of the Catholic Bishops (this later became the Catholic Education Service).
Catholic schools continued to be established throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Many Catholic schools were established in the 19th Century to meet the needs of poor Catholic immigrants from Ireland.
Catholic schools today also provide 30% of their places to children and young people who are not Catholic (?)
In 1944 the educational landscape across England and Wales changed forever with the passing of the Education Act 1944 (also known as the ‘Butler Act’).
This act promised ‘secondary education for all’, and increased the school leaving age to 15, meaning that all children from the post-war generation received a minimum of 10 years of education.
Under the Butler Act, most Catholic schools became ‘voluntary aided’ schools.
This meant that they became part of the state system of education, whilst retaining their distinctively Catholic ethos through various legal protections which continue to apply to Catholic schools to this day.
The agreement between Church and State meant that the funding of Catholic schools was shared by the Catholic foundations of the schools (in most cases the Dioceses or religious orders) and by the government.

Catholic Education Service (CES)
Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference
of England and Wales 
The Catholic Education Service (CES) (actually the Roman Catholic Education Service) is an agency of the Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW).
It works closely with the CBCEW Department for Education and Formation, and represents the Bishops’ national education policy in relation to the 2300 Roman Catholic schools, colleges and university colleges which the Roman Church is responsible for across England and Wales.
The CES negotiates with the Westminster and Welsh Governments and other national bodies in order to safeguard and promote Roman Catholic education.
The  Roman Catholic Education Service has its roots in the Catholic Poor School Committee founded in 1847.
At this time with the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy the work of the Committee focused on primary education, and there was an expectation among the clergy that where finances would not permit the building of both a church and a school, building a school should take precedence, thus serving as the focal point and place of worship for the local Roman Catholic community until a church could also be built.
The Secondary Education Council was added and in 1905 the Roman Catholic Education Service for England and Wales was established.
The 'cream' of Catholic education, however, is to be found in the many Roman Catholic Public Schools,  also known as Roman Catholic Independent Schools, (meaning private schools).
These schools, despite their obvious moral shortcomings (see below), are renowned for their impeccable academic standards, and much thought and effort, on the part of the Roman Catholic authorities, is directed to maintaining theses standards.
The logic, of course, is simple.
By giving the children of the influential and powerful the best education possible it is deemed possible for the Roman catholic Church to build up a cadre of equally influential and powerful alumni, who may be relied upon to favour the Roman Catholic cause in the highest levels of society.
The children of the poor, however, while being given some grounding in basic skills, and Roman Catholic doctrine and faith, are largely ignored, and are dumped into educational 'sinks', such as Holy Cross School (see below).
Most of the elite Roman Catholic Independent Schools were founded by religious orders, and provide fee-paying education.
They include both day and boarding schools.
If you go to the Catholic Independent Schools Conference website ( you will find the following :

What is Catholic Education ?

“See how these Christians love one another” - Love is central to our Catholic Faith, God’s love for us, our love for God and our love for each other. 

Which is difficult to take seriously (see below).
An example of a Roman Catholic Independent School is the Benedictine St Augustines College (scroll down to see below).

Abusive Aspects of Catholic Education in England

Unfortunately, the Roman Catholic Education Service and the Catholic Independent Schools Conference seem remarkably incompetent.
Not only is there the debacle of Holy Cross School (also known as a 'High School' and later an 'Academ'y - see below), but in the independent sector it has been unable to oversee matters in a satisfactory manner.

William Manahan OSB
Father Prior of a Buckfast Abbey
Buckfast Abbey
While the Roman Catholic Church may paint a rosy picture of Catholic education in  England, the truth of the matter is very different.
Listed below are a number (but not all) of confirmed cases - which are restricted to dioceses in England.
In other parts of the United Kingdom similar levels of abuse have occurred, and in Eire the situation is considerably worse.
In the Diocese of Plymouth William Manahan OSB, the Father Prior of Buckfast Abbey Preparatory School was convicted of molesting boys in his school during the 1970s.
In 2007, two former Benedictine monks from Buckfast Abbey were sentenced for sexually abusing boys.

Father Jeremiah McGrath
Jeremiah McGrath of the Kiltegan Fathers was convicted in Liverpool in May 2007 for facilitating abuse by Billy Adams.
McGrath had given Adams £20,000 in 2005 and Adams had used the money to impress a 12-year-old girl who he then raped over a six-month period.
James Carragher

McGrath denied knowing about the abuse but admitted having a brief sexual relationship with Adams.
His appeal in January 2008 was dismissed.
In the Diocese of Middlesbrough James Carragher, principal of the former St. William's School, owned by the Diocese of Middlesbrough, was jailed for 14 years in 2004 for abusing boys in his care over a 20-year period.

Father Alexander Bede Walsh
 Archdiocese of Birmingham
In the Archdiocese of Birmingham Father Alexander Bede Walsh was sentenced to 22 years in prison in March 2012 for serious paedophile offences against boys.
Walsh used religion to control his young victims, telling one boy that drinking alcohol would get him to heaven, and another believed that the abuse was 'the hand of God touching him'.
One young victim was driven to a suicide attempt.
Walsh had a previous conviction for computer indecency.

Father James Robinson
James Robinson worked in parishes in the English Midlands, and when an accusation of child abuse happened in the 1980s, the Roman Catholic Church allowed him to escape to the United States though they knew about an "unwholesome relationship" the priest had with a boy.
Robinson remained free for over 20 years till in the first decade of the 21st century he was extradited back to the UK to face charges.
Robinson has received a 21-year prison sentence for multiple paedophile offenses.
The Roman Catholic Church paid Robinson up to £800 per month despite knowing the allegations against him.
There are widespread accusations of physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse of unprotected children at Father Hudson Home, Coleshill, Warwickshire.

Christian Brothers Logo
There are even allegations that vulnerable children disappeared inexplicably.
According to reports, priests and nuns were the perpetrators.
In December 2012, in the Diocese of Shrewsbury, staff at the Christian Brothers school St Ambrose College, Altrincham, were implicated in a child sex abuse case involving teaching staff carrying out alleged acts of abuse, both on and off school grounds.
More than fifty former pupils contacted police, either as victims of, or witnesses to, sexual abuse.
The alleged sexual abuse, including molestation of children while corporal punishment was administered, stemmed from 1962 onwards and continued over four decades.

Abuse at Benedictine Monasteries

This section only deals with cases of abuse involving Benedictine Monasteries in England - worldwide the situation is much worse.

Ealing Abbey
In April 2006 civil damages were awarded jointly against Dom David Pearce, a former head of the junior school at St Benedicts, and Ealing Abbey in the High Court in relation to an alleged assault by Dom Pearce on a pupil while teaching at St Benedict's School in the 1990s.
He was subsequently charged in November 2008 with 24 counts of indecent assault, sexual touching and gross indecency with six boys aged under 16.
The counts related to incidents before and after 2003, when the law was changed to create an offence of sexual touching.
After admitting his guilt at Isleworth Crown Court to offences going back to 1972 Pearce was jailed for eight years in October 2009.
The conduct of the Ealing monastic community, as trustee of the St. Benedict's Trust, was examined by the Charity Commission, which found that it had failed to take adequate measures to protect beneficiaries of the charity from Dom Pearce.

Ealing Abbey
There has recently been an allegation of cover-up involving Ealing Abbey and abuse towards a female pupil at St Gregory's Roman Catholic Primary School, a state school in Woodfield Rd, Ealing, with strong links to the abbey.
The abuse is alleged to have occurred in the 1970s.
Father William Manahan of Buckfast Abbey pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court to eight charges of sexually assaulting pupils.
Father Paul Couch was also found guilty earlier of two counts of serious sexual assault and 11 of indecent assault.
Father Couch committed the offences against six boys between 1972 and 1993 during two periods at the school.
He was a Royal Navy chaplain from 1978 until 1983 and again from 1992.
In 2007 he was sentenced to ten years in jail.

Ampleforth College Arms
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Ampleforth College
Several monks and three members of the lay teaching staff at Ampleforth College, one of the leading Roman Catholic schools in the country, have molested children in their care.
In 1995 Fr Bernard Green, then a house-master, was arrested after indecently assaulting a sleeping boy in one of the school's dormitories.
He received two years' probation for an incident which was said to have "petrified" the boy concerned.

Fr Piers Grant-Ferris
In 2005 Fr Piers Grant-Ferris admitted 20 incidents between 1966 and 1975 including beating boys bare-handed on the buttocks, and taking temperatures rectally.
In 2005 the former, Abbot Basil Hume, did not call in police when the initial incident came to light in 1975, but removed Father Grant-Ferris.
Several other incidents came to light in 2003, when the abbey hired a psychologist (?) to conduct risk assessments on staff.

Belmont Abbey - Herefordshire
Father John Kinsey of Belmont Abbey, Herefordshire was sentenced to five years at Worcester Crown Court in 2005 by Judge Andrew Geddes for a series of serious offences relating to assaults on schoolboys attending Belmont Abbey School in the mid 1980s.
The school closed in 1993.
Kinsey attacked three schoolboys while a monk at Belmont Abbey during a two-year period, grooming and attacking victims during bell ringing lessons and altar service duties.
The frequency of his attacks increased to a weekly basis before Kinsey was sent away from the Abbey for a short period to train as a priest.

Father Richard White
Due to falling pupil numbers Belmont Abbey closed the school in the early 1990s.
In January 2012, Father Richard White, a monk at Downside Abbey, near Westfield, Somerset, who formerly taught at its school, was jailed for five years for gross indecency and indecent assault against a pupil in the late 1980s.

Downside Abbey School
White, 66, who was known to pupils as Father Nick, had been allowed to continue teaching after he was first caught abusing a child in 1987 and was able to go on to groom and assault another pupil in the junior school.
He was placed on a restricted ministry after the second incident but was not arrested until 2010.
Two other Downside monks, also former teachers, received police cautions during an 18-month criminal trial.
One of the cautioned monks has been named as Michael Hurt (Brother Anselm).

Saint Benedict
Abbot Primate Notker Wolf OSB
It should be noted that these institutions, in which the various cases of abuse have been reported, are directly associated with the Benedictines in Ramsgate through the 'Confœderatio Benedictina Ordinis Sancti Benedicti' (Benedictine Confederation of the Order of Saint Benedict) (the Ramsgate Benedictines belonged to the Subiaco Cassinese Congregation).
The Abbot Primate (head) of the Confederation of the Order of Saint Benedict is a 72 year old Bavarian (German), called Notker Wolf OSB, who plays electric guitar for the rock group 'Feedback' (4 CDs already) - seriously !
And people wonder why there is a problem in the Roman Catholic Church !
Perhaps if Notker spent more time looking into the activities of his monks, and less time trying to be a geriatric 'rock star' there would be fewer traumatised and abused young people in the world.
The official logo on the right is taken from the Confederation of the Order of Saint Benedict official website.

Holy Cross School
a case history
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Holy Cross - as originally built

Holy Cross R.C. Secondary School (1931 - 1998) was a former Roman Catholic Secondary modern school and sixth form college located in Broadstairs, Kent, it was co-educational from years 7 to 11.
Holy Cross was built in 1930 for the Daughters of the Cross as a Convent, and by 1931 it was run as a residential open air school for sick and delicate children, and as a Convalescent home, run by Catholic nuns.

Daughters of the Cross
Blessed Marie Thérèse Haze F.C
The Daughters of the Cross of Liège (French: Filles de la Croix) are Religious Sisters in the Catholic Church who are members of a religious congregation founded in 1833 by the Blessed Marie Thérèse Haze, F.C. (1782 - 1876). Their original mission is focused on caring for the needs of their society through education and nursing care. The Sisters began to serve in other countries with their establishing a foundation in Germany in 1849. At the invitation of the Vicar Apostolic of Bombay, they opened schools in the British Raj in 1861. This led to their working in the United Kingdom in 1863.

It closed down in 1939 due to World War II, when it acted as a hospital, and re-opened in 1947.
In 1962 it became a Voluntary aided Catholic Secondary modern school which was mixed sex, and catered for around 520 pupils.

Entrance to Chapel
Holy Cross
The school was situated in Broadstairs, Kent, for children from the ages of 11 to 17 and was under the controlling authority of Kent County Council (KCC).
The 31-years-old open-air Convent school was adapted at a cost of £49,000.

A voluntary aided school is a state-funded school in England and Wales in which a foundation or trust (usually a religious organisation), contributes to building costs and has a substantial influence in the running of the school. Such schools have more autonomy than voluntary controlled schools, which are entirely funded by the state. In most cases the foundation or trust own the buildings.
In some circumstances Local Authorities can help the governing body in buying a site, or can provide a site or building free of charge. The Catholic Church chose to retain control of its schools, while more than half of Church of England schools became voluntary controlled. The state contribution to capital works for VA schools was increased to 75% by the Education Act 1959, and is now 90%. Voluntary aided schools are a kind of "maintained school", meaning that they receive all their running costs from central government via the local authority. They do not charge fees to students, although parents are usually encouraged to pay a voluntary contribution towards the schools' maintenance funds. By the 1970s, most local authorities were in the final stages of reorganising secondary education along comprehensive lines. Although the Roman Catholic hierarchy supported this change, many non-Catholic voluntary aided grammar schools opposed it. Local authorities could not compel voluntary aided schools to change any aspect of their admissions, but they could submit a proposal to the Minister to cease to maintain a school.

The ceremony was performed by Abbot Parry, U.S.B. of St. Augustine's Abbey, Ramsgate, on behalf of Bishop Cowderoy of Southwark, and Canon J. Crowley, Ph.D., Chairman of the Diocesan School's Commission, presided.

The Original Design for the Grange and Ramsgate Abbey
The church is St Augustine's is situated on the town's westcliff. The architect, A. W. N. Pugin, built the church at his own expense between 1845 and 1852 in the neo-Gothic style. Pugin and other members of his family are buried in the chantry chapel in the church. The church's dedication commemorates Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, who landed at Ramsgate in AD 597 bringing Christianity to Britain for the first time since the Roman Empire. Pugin donated the church to the Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark before his premature death in 1852. In March 2012, the church was designated a shrine of St. Augustine of Canterbury; this ended a five-century absence of a shrine to St. Augustine as the original (at St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury) was destroyed during the Reformation.

Ramsgate Abbey Church - Pugin
The Grange Chapel
Thomas Grant, first Bishop of Southwark, invited the Italian abbot Dom Pietro Casaretto to found an abbey on the opposite side of the road from the church. By 1856 arrangements were concluded and the first monk, Dom Wilfrid Alcock, arrived to take charge at the Ramsgate mission. The monastery of St Augustine of Canterbury was built in 1860-1861, the first Benedictine monastery in England since the Reformation, designed by Pugin's son Edward. Peter Paul Pugin added the east wing to the monastery in 1901, and the library was built in 1926 designed by Charles Purcell, Pugin's grandson. St. Augustine's church was the abbey's church until 2010.
As a result of the rapid decline of the Catholic church in the area, on 23 December 2010, the monks quit Thanet, moving to the Franciscan Friary at Chilworth, Surrey.

Benedictine Monks

The Ordo Sancti Benedicti or the Black Monks, in reference to the colour of the habit, is a Roman Catholic religious order of independent monastic communities that observe the Rule of Saint Benedict.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Within the order, each individual community (which may be a monastery, a priory or abbey) maintains its own autonomy, while the organization as a whole exists to represent their mutual interests.
Pope Leo XIII
The Benedictine Confederation, which was established in 1883 by Pope Leo XIII in his brief 'Summum semper', is the international governing body of the order, headed by the Abbot Primate.
Members of the order generally use the initials O.S.B. after their name.
Benedictine abbots have full jurisdiction of their abbey and thus absolute authority over the monks or nuns who are resident.
This authority includes the power to assign duties, to decide which books may or may not be read, to regulate comings and goings, and to punish and to excommunicate, in the sense of an enforced isolation from the monastic community.
In the Roman Catholic Church, according to the norms of the Code of Canon Law 1983, a Benedictine abbey is a "religious institute", and its professed members are therefore members of the "Consecrated Life", commonly referred to as "Religious".
Benedictine monks who have not been ordained and all nuns are members of the laity among the Christian faithful.
Only those Benedictine monks who have been ordained as a deacon or priest are also members of the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church.
Benedictine Oblates endeavor to embrace the spirit of the Benedictine vow in their own life in the world.

St Augustines College
for more information about Holy Cross School scroll down

Associated with the abbey was St Augustines College.
A study of the history of St Augustines College and the Abbey school is included in this case history because the attention given to St Augustines College by the Roman Catholic authorities, and in particular Abbot Gilbert Jones OSB, the Chairman of the Board of Governors of Holy Cross School, was responsible for the decline of Holy Cross School, and the lack of oversight of those responsible for the school, such as the Heads and Deputy heads.

Abbot Gilbert Jones OSB
Abbot Gilbert Jones OSB - sometime Lord Abbot of Ramsgate was the former Abbot President of the Subiaco Congregation.
Abbot Gilbert Jones OSB, died on 5 October 2004 at his residence, Saint Augustine's Abbey, Ramsgate, England.
Born at Chester in 1926, he professed vows at Ramsgate in 1964 following a career as a stage and television actor in England.
It is interesting, however, that no record of Gilbert Jones' acting career has been found, which suggests that it was neither 'glittering' or significant.
He became abbot of Ramsgate in 1972 and was elected Abbot President of the Subiaco Congregation in 1988.
During his time as Abbot President he lived at Sant'Ambrogio in Rome, but visited monasteries of the Congregation on every continent from Vietnam to Burkina Faso.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
He was directly responsible for St Augustine's College (the Abbey School)
The first incarnation of the school associated with the Abbey, opened in 1865, and took boy boarders of public-school age, thirteen to eighteen.
The Abbey had been left a sizeable house and grounds by the late Rev. Alfred Luck, to be used as a college, but for the first couple of years the handful of boys who made up the initial intake slept in the monastery itself, and ate with the monks.
More or less from the outset, the school showed a liking for putting on plays and improving variety shows (?) for the benefit of local residents.
St Augustine's College, the first incarnation of the school associated with the Abbey, opened in 1865 and took boy boarders of public-school age, thirteen to eighteen.
The Abbey had been left a sizeable house and grounds by the late Rev. Alfred Luck, to be used as a college, but for the first couple of years the handful of boys who made up the initial intake slept in the monastery itself and ate with the monks.
More or less from the outset, the school showed a liking for putting on plays and improving variety shows for the benefit of local residents.
In 1867 the college moved into Rev. Luck's house, later known as St Gregory's (see below).
In about 1870 the building was enlarged with the addition of a large, high extension built on the site of a yard to the rear of the house, and designed by Edward Pugin.
Beneath the school there was an elaborate network of tunnels, including a subterranean ballroom (?), with entrances at the top and bottom of the cliff and, supposedly, a private entrance inside The Grange. 
The school grew to nearly sixty students, but by 1876 the Order that ran it had got into financial difficulties, and in 1877 student numbers had dropped to twenty-seven, falling further to nineteen by the following summer, despite the college being supported financially by a generous benefactress.
It was during this period, however, that the school nurtured the genius of the great electrical engineer Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti.
The school at that time was rather like a 'gentleman's club'.
It was quite well thought-of academically, had numerous hobby-clubs run by the boys themselves, and for such a small school it did at least reasonably well at a surprisingly wide range of inter-school sports.

Fr Erkenwald Egan
In 1881 a small preparatory school for boys aged about seven to thirteen was started in St Placid's, but it moved out after a few years.
St Augustine's lost its connection with this prep. school in 1886.
Student numbers at the College rose, but fell back to the low twenties by 1888, partly due to the appointment of a Fr Erkenwald Egan as prefect of studies and discipline: Fr Erkenwald was an unpopular choice, although his popularity was to receive a filip in 1892, when it was discovered that on the football pitch he was a goalkeeper of real genius.
Also in 1888, an 'Old Boy' named Sir Henry Tichborne payed for the installation of a very luxurious school library, with furnishings by Pugin.

St Gregory's
Main School Building of St Augustione's College
In 1889 a dynamic monk named Fr Jerome Vaughan offered his services to regenerate the school, and then used his aristocratic connections to attract more students.
Numbers rose so fast that within one term a house at 1 Royal Crescent was purchased to serve as an overflow dormitory for senior boys, and named St Benet's.
Fr Jerome was appointed as rector, in which post he served for a year only, during which a second overflow house in West Cliff Road was rented for the purpose of housing parlour boarders, and renamed St Mildred's.
Parlour boarders were the children of wealthy parents who were deceased or abroad, and paid for their children to have superior accommodation and perhaps their own servant, and generally to treat the school as a hotel where they happened to also receive tuition, rather than a school where they happened also to eat and sleep.
Towards the end of 1890, after the departure of Fr Jerome, St Benet's was moved to larger premises at Spencer House, Spencer Square.
In 1893, with student numbers now in the nineties, it was decided to expand St Gregory's, the main school building, by adding add a new wing complete with chapel and purpose-built refectory.
Thereafter, the boys would attend services mainly in their own chapel rather than using the priory's rather magnificent Arts and Crafts Gothic Pugin church across the road, and the old refectory became a billiards room.
In 1897, the priory was elevated to the status of an Abbey, and over the next few years the school and its associated 'Old Augustinians Society' throve.
Around 1900 St Mildred's was closed, and the overflow transferred to St Placid's, and in 1902 St Benet's also closed due to falling student numbers.
The new science laboratories, erected in 1905, had to be done on the cheap, and the school continued to decline owing to a shortage of staff, even though its academic performance was good.
In June 1914 the 'Old Augustinians' held a grand celebration, but two months later the western world was at war.
For the first nine months of the war, St Augustine's played host to a group of Belgian refugee students, in a satellite unit called St Gregory's School in Chartham Terrace, but falling student numbers and repeated Zeppelin raids made the school's position untenable.
The first incarnation of St Augustine's College closed in July 1917.
In 1919, a preparatory school for boys, aged seven to thirteen, opened under an amiable headmaster named Dom Anthony Flannery, in the same set of buildings as the old college, and with much the same organisation and institutions.
The 'Abbey School', as it was now called, acquired better playing fields in 1921, and in 1922 the students were divided into two "houses", imaginatively named the 'Blacks' and the 'Whites'.
In 1924 Dom Anthony was succeeded by headmaster Dom Adrian Taylor, and his second master, Fr Edward Hull.
In the 1940s Fr Hull was to became headmaster in his own right.
During this period, control of the school clubs and extracurricular activities was taken away from the boys and given to the masters, and parents were forbidden to take their children out of school, or visit them, at any time other than half-term.
Nevertheless, the school had an active cultural life, especially drama productions and a flourishing history society.

Fr David Parry B.A
In 1934 the headmaster, Dom Adrian, was promoted to Abbot of the monastery.
He departed from the school and took Fr Edward Hull with him.
The new headmaster was Fr David Parry B.A., the author of 'Scholastic Century'.
The school at that time seemed to be thriving, running smoothly and with a high level of academic achievement, but storms were gathering in the wider world.

Madeley Court 
In 1938 it was decided that in the event of war the school would relocate to a large house named Madeley Court a few hundred yards from the River Ouse, in the outstandingly pretty village of Hemingford Grey near St Ives in Huntingdonshire.
This house, the centrepiece of a small estate of the same name including outbuildings and grounds and a couple of small fields, had been made available to the school by the owner, a Miss Margeurite Selby.
When war broke out, in September 1939, and the South Coast was declared a restricted zone, the senior forms, consisting of thirty to forty boys went with headmaster Parry and three other Fathers to Douai, while the three younger forms went to Madeley Court along with the Abbey's Father Prior - the same Fr Edward Hull who had taught at the school until 1934.
Fr Hull and the junior boys set about sorting Madeley Court out and turning what Parry calls "ancient stables" into a classroom block, preparatory to the arrival of the rest of the school. Meanwhile the now vacant school buildings in Ramsgate were at some point taken over by the army, and the tunnels beneath 'The Grange' became an air-raid shelter.
At Douai the senior years were given the use of "a couple of dormitories, three classrooms, and some playing fields", as well as accommodation for the four staff members.
The senior school stayed at Douai for two terms, through what was to prove a very hard winter. 
In 1946 David Parry was removed as headmaster, - he was later to become Abbot of St Augustine's 1957-1972.
The new head was Fr Edward Hull, now a Wing Commander. At the same time, the school acquired its own scout troop.

St Augustines Choir 
The school continued at Madeley Court into the 1950s, and made many improvements in its infrastructure there, but in the end the building still wasn't really adequate.
In September 1951 the junior boys were moved back to Ramsgate and placed in The Grange, the grand house belonging to the Abbey on the opposite side of St Augustine's Road from the original school.
By this point the tunnels under The Grange had been declared unsafe and sealed off, and much of the system had been filled with concrete.
In 1953 the original school building in Ramsgate, St Gregory's, was re-opened, but this time as a day school for local boys, under Fr David Parry.

Assumption House
In 1957 the junior boys from this day school were merged with the junior boarders at The Grange over the road.
The Abbey now had one junior school at The Grange, with both boarders and day pupils, and the older years split between day boys at St Gregory's and boarders at Madeley Court.
In 1957, under a new head, Fr Bernard Waldron, St Gregory's was substantially re-modelled to create more dormitories and classrooms, and the boys from Madeley Court were shoe-horned into it.
By 1960 the school was taking some older boys and seeking recognition as an independent grammar school, but this was refused at that time because its age demographic was too confused.
In September 1960 St Augustine's purchased a newly vacant convent-school complex called Assumption House from the Sisters of the Assumption at Goodwin Road, Pegwell Bay, about a thousand yards west of the Abbey.
The prep-school boys of the Abbey School were moved to Assumption House, and St Augustine's College was reborn as an independent grammar school occupying both The Grange and St Gregory's. 
In 1961 the two senior years were moved into The Grange and St Placid's was turned into an art department.

By the end of 1962 the house next to St Maur's was bought and converted into staff quarters, leaving St Maur's free to be used by the Sixth Form; the Fifth Form moved into the top floor of St Gregory's (known as the "cock-loft") and the junior boys were rotated into The Grange.

St Augustines Abbey School Westgate 
In September 1971 both the Abbey School and St Augustine's College relocated to Westgate-on-Sea, where they took over another former convent school, close to and twinned with the Ursuline Convent School for Girls.

Assumption House was pulled down, although its ornate entrance survives as a listed building, halfway down the west side of Goodwin Road.

Interestingly, some have reported The Grange as having "an effect that can drag you down. There is a negative energy there that is tangible. Something is very wrong there - that place is alive with something awful." It has been speculated that this could be due to some kind of occult presence - and similar effects have been noted at Holy Cross School, just down the coast.

St Augustine's closed down in 1995, a hundred and thirty years after it opened.

Holy Cross School

Holy Cross School
Returning to Holy Cross, the poor and much neglected relative, of the Abbey School, - over 310 senior pupils were transferred to the new Holy Cross school from St. Gregory's, Margate and St. Augustine's, Ramsgate, both of which had been all-age schools, and subsequently became Catholic primary schools for children up to the age of eleven.

Raphael - Vision of the Cross
The motto of the school was 'In hoc signo vinces', which was a Latin rendering of the Greek phrase "ἐν τούτῳ νίκα", and means "in this sign you will conquer", and was taken over from the Daughters of the Cross, the original builders and incumbents of the site.
Chi Rho
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
The motto originates in an account by the historian, bishop Eusebius of Ceasaria, who states that Constantine was marching with his army (Eusebius does not specify the actual location of the event, but it is clearly not in the camp at Rome), when he looked up to the sun and saw a cross of light above it, and with it the Greek words "ἐν τούτῳ νίκα" ("In this, conquer"), often rendered in Latin as 'In hoc signo vinces' ("in this sign, you will conquer").

Not surprisingly, while taking the motto 'In hoc signo vinces' from Constantine, the Chi Rho - which was the sign in which Constantine actually conquered - was not used as the school badge.
Yet another example of the 'muddle' associated with the whole enterprise, and those of a superstitious nature may say that the use of the motto without the appropriate symbol was a most un-auspicious decision.

Ken Knight

Holy Cross - Main Entrance
The first Headmaster of the school was Mr. K. Knight, who had previously been Headmaster of St. Gregory's R.C. Primary School, Margate.
Mr Knight was a well known and popular 'character' in the Roman Catholic community in Thanet.
Unfortunately, he was somewhat eccentric, (although not as eccentric as his wife).
He was a competent primary school teacher, but was undoubtedly out of his depth in a Secondary school, and was incapable of maintaining adequate standards of discipline.
As a result, the school was incapable of making any meaningful academic progress until the pupils who had come under Knight's influence (or lack of influence) had left the school.
When Mr Knight retired he received a Papal Medal - (like Jimmy Saville) but in his case for his services to Catholic Education.

It may be pertinent to note here that Roman Catholic Jimmy Saville was a close friend and confidant of  Cardinal Keith O’Brien (who quit amid allegations of “inappropriate acts” towards fellow priests. He was also a close friend and confidant of  Cardinal Basil Hume.

Bernard Wilding

There was, however, a problem in finding a new headmaster, as there was no candidate prepared to take on the task.
In the end the deputy headmaster, Bernard Wilding, was appointed to the 'top job'.
Unfortunately, Mr Wilding was no better at asserting his authority over the pupils than Mr Knight, although he often asserted his authority over his beleaguered and benighted staff.
Unlike Mr Knight, however, Wilding was no 'loveable eccentric', but was rather a distant and ultimately inadequate individual, totally under the dominating influence of his wife, Mary.

Sir Edward Elgar
Graham Greene
Bernard Wilding was essentially a pre-Vatican II, middle class, English Catholic, steeped in Graham Greene novels and the music of Edward Elgar.

The Concilium Oecumenicum Vaticanum Secundum - informally known as Vatican II addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the 'so-called' modern world. It was the twenty-first ecumenical council of the Catholic Church

Graham Greene's novels often powerfully portray the Christian drama of the struggles within the individual soul from the Catholic perspective. Greene was criticised for certain tendencies in an unorthodox direction – in the world, sin is omnipresent to the degree that the vigilant struggle to avoid sinful conduct is doomed to failure, - and Wilding's 'distance' and lack of positive action mirrored this theme in Greene's books.

John Henry Newman
fay and rumoured to be homosexual
Elgar, of course, is one of the few significant English Catholic composers, and is famous for his setting of John Henry Newman's somewhat lugubrious poem 'The Dream of Gerontius'.
As a young man, studying to be a teacher, Wilding had even gone to his local priest to ask for permission to read Gibbon's 'The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire', because Gibbon's works were included in the Index of forbidden books.

The Index Librorum Prohibitorum was a list of publications prohibited by the Catholic Church. A first version (the 'Pauline Index') was promulgated by Pope Paul IV in 1559, and a revised and somewhat relaxed form (the 'Tridentine Index') was authorized at the Council of Trent. The promulgation of the Index marked the "turning-point in the freedom of enquiry" in the Catholic world. The 20th edition, which was in force at the time in question, contained 4,000 titles censored for various reasons: heresy, moral deficiency, sexual explicitness, and so on. That some atheists, such as Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, were not included was due to the general (Tridentine) rule that heretical works (i.e., works that contradict Catholic dogma) are ipso facto forbidden. Some important works are absent simply because nobody bothered to denounce them (?).

'The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' is a book of history written by the English historian Edward Gibbon, which traces the trajectory of Western civilization (as well as the Islamic and Mongolian conquests) from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of Byzantium. The work covers the history of the Roman Empire, Europe, and the Catholic Church from 98 to 1590 and discusses the decline of the Roman Empire in the East and West. Because of its relative objectivity and heavy use of primary sources, at the time its methodology became a model for later historians. 

Essentially a lower middle class boy aspiring to the upper middle class, Wilding gained a superficial veneer of academic knowledge (specialising in English  Literature).
The real power behind this aspiration to the upper middle class, however, was Wilding's wife, Mary.
A Catholic convert, she had the desire (to rise socially, that is), but not the knowledge,
Living in a home decorated in 'chintzy' style, with 'settees' rather than sofas, a 'lounge' rather that a 'drawing room, and 'serviettes' rather that napkins, the pretensions to being 'smart' (which Mary would call 'posh') failed miserably.

Formal Dinner ?
U and non-U English usage, with "U" standing for "upper class", and "non-U" representing the aspiring middle classes, is part of the terminology of popular discourse of social dialects in Britain. Those aspiring to the middle, and upper middle classes prefer "fancy" or fashionable words, even neologisms and often euphemisms, in attempts to make themselves sound more refined. Most of the differences remain very much current, and therefore perfectly usable as class indicators.

When Wilding invited a new member of staff and his wife to dinner, the bemused couple found themselves eating fish and chips, bought at the local 'chippy'.
The only saving grace was the 'grace' said before the meal, and the fact that the 'fish and chip' supper was eaten off china plates, rather than newspaper, and that cutlery was provided.
Despite the social faux-pas, Wilding had 'hitched his star' to an ancient and powerful institution (into which he had been born), not realising that it would then undergo a radical reformation - Vatican II.

Concilium Oecumenicum Vaticanum Secundum 
The Concilium Oecumenicum Vaticanum Secundum (informally known as Vatican II) addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the so-called 'modern world' (forgetting that the world, as we experience it, is by its very nature modern). It was the twenty-first ecumenical council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. The council, through the Holy See, formally opened under the pontificate of Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed under Pope Paul VI on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1965.  The matter that had the most immediate effect on the lives of individual Catholics, was the revision of the liturgy. The central idea was that there ought to be greater lay participation in the liturgy. In the mid-1960s, permissions were granted to celebrate most of the Mass in vernacular languages, including the canon from 1967 onwards.

Set adrift in a sea of theological and liturgical change, he decided to keep quiet, and try not to be noticed.
He was unfortunate enough to inherit a school which had less than fifty percent Catholic pupils, and an equally poor ratio with regard to the staff - with most of his senior staff non-Catholics.
With regard to the teaching of religion Wilding appeared to be at a complete loss, and he had no one to turn to on his staff, having totally alienated the only member of staff who was qualified to advise him on aspects of Religious Education, (a member of staff who had been trained at the prestigious St Mary's College of the University of London).

College Chapel - Strawberry Hill
Strawberry Hill - Twickenham
St Mary's University College is a university situated in Strawberry Hill, Twickenham in South West London. Founded in 1850, it is generally acknowledged to be the oldest Roman Catholic college in the UK.
The university college is known colloquially as "Simmery's", "Simmies". Its alumni are known as "Simmarians". The original Strawberry Hill buildings were designed by Horace Walpole in a fanciful Gothic style. At the time in question St Mary's was run by the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians)

The essential tool in religious instruction, the Bible, was purchased in vast quantities, however, Wilding, against qualified advice, chose the 'Good News Bible'.

Good News Bible
The Good News Bible (GNB), also called the Good News Translation (GNT) in the United States, is an English language translation of the Bible by the American Bible Society. It was first published as the New Testament under the name Good News for Modern Man in 1966. It was Anglicised into British English by the British and Foreign Bible Society.

The cover of the Good News Bible (Illustrated Version) is a 'dead give away'.
It is obviously intended for little children, and typifies Wilding's view of his pupils - whom he saw as 'little children', rather than a young people.
What he didn't seem to understand was that there was a superb, modern Catholic translation of the Bible available, known as the 'Jerusalem Bible' - and, being a Catholic Bible it contained the Apocrypha - which was omitted from Protestant Bibles, such as the 'Good News Bible'.

Jerusalem Bible
The ἀπόκρυφος (Apocrypha) denotes the collection of ancient books found in the Bible, in a separate section between the Old and New Testaments. Although the term apocrypha had been in use since the 5th century, it was in Luther's Bible of 1534 that the Apocrypha was first published as a separate intertestamental section. In England, the Protestant Westminster Confession of 1647 excluded the Apocrypha from the canon. In the Catholic Church the canonicity of the Apocrypha was explicitly affirmed at the Council of Trent in 1546 and Synod of Jerusalem (1672) respectively. The Apocrypha is included in the 'Jerusalem Bible'.
The Jerusalem Bible is an English-language translation of the Bible which was first introduced to the English-speaking public in 1966. As a Roman Catholic Bible, it includes the deuterocanonical books (Apocrypha) along with the sixty-six others included in Protestant Bibles. It also contains copious footnotes and introductionsExcerpts from the Jerusalem Bible are used in the Lectionary for Mass that was approved by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, and that is used in most of the Bishop's Conferences of the English-speaking world.

Now we are left with the question - was Bernard Wilding a 'crypto Protestant' ? - or was he just a penny-pinching fool ? (or perhaps he was both !)
Undoubtedly, having been brought up a Roman Catholic, it was hardly likely that he was working for some anti-Catholic cabal - but the 'Good News' Bibles were so much cheaper - and could be used in weekly 'Non-Catholic' assemblies organised by a committed Protestant geography teacher by the name of Fred Fielder.
The fact that the only qualified Catholic teacher of Religious Education favoured the Jerusalem Bible, (with its copious footnotes and introductions, and approval by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales) seemed to matter not a jot to Wilding.
And what did the Chairman of the Board of Governors think about Protestant Bibles being used in a Catholic School ?
Well, Abbot Gilbert Jones OSB, the fay Chairman of the Board of Governors, couldn't care less - his concern was the Abbey School - where the money was.
One of the skills that one would imagine would come naturally to an experience teacher, and in particular a headmaster, would be the construction of an effective, workable timetable.
For Bernard Wilding the mysteries of the timetable remained just that - mysteries - and for weeks classes would turn up to rooms which were already occupied, while in other parts of the school rooms would lie empty and unused.
His timetables, until he was given a relatively competent (and we use the word competent advisably) deputy headmaster, were a total disaster.
Oddly, Wilding was able to 'laugh off' the daily disaster of his 'excuse for a timetable', while at the same time high-handedly criticizing junior staff members for the slightest little mistake.
One strange feature of his timetables was his habit of allocating himself for a set number of lessons each week.
It was strange, because he almost never reported for the lessons he had allocated to himself.
Instead, he would require a member of staff, who was usualy in the staff-room marking books or preparing a lesson, to 'cover' for him, and when that became too embarrassing, he would simply leave the class to its own devices, unsupervised.
Not really the way to obtain the respect of either the pupils or the staff.
Wilding was not an easy person to be with for any length of time, mainly because of his odd use of 'body-language'

'Body Language' refers to various forms of non-verbal communication, wherein a person may reveal clues as to some unspoken intention or feeling through their physical behaviour. These behaviours can include body posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye movements. Body language is typically subconscious behaviour, and is therefore considered distinct from sign language, which is a fully conscious and intentional act of communication. Body language may provide clues as to the attitude or state of mind of a person. Body language is significant to communication and relationships. It is relevant to management and leadership in business.

When standing Wilding's favourite position was to stand with feet close together, with his arms folded on his chest, while exhibiting a blank stare.
One of the most basic and powerful body-language signals is when a person crosses his arms across the chest, and it usually means mean that a person is expressing opposition.
A harsh or blank facial expression often indicates outright hostility.
So here we have a man who was almost permanently hostile to those around him.
And so it is not surprising that this strange man was far from successful in both his management of staff and his management of pupils.

This is not Bernard Wilding
(far too good looking)
When sitting Wilding exhibited a very odd favoured position.
he would lean back in his chair, with his legs crossed at the ankles, and his hands clasped behind his head.
Leaning back with the arms spread and held behind the head is part of the 'dominant cluster', and is how we use our body to intimidate someone else, or when we want to be perceived as being in control of the situation. 
The key driving force of the 'dominant cluster' is an observation about how much space the person is taking up. 
This will be seen when a person tries to show his authority by requiring a great deal larger of an area for his presence. 
This is a form of territoriality.
The legs crossed at the ankles is referred to as the 'ankle lock,' and is is considered to be a very negative signal, and means a high level of defensiveness in both men and women.
When such a posture is used in conjunction with a large desk, in a huge office, then one can be in no doubt that Wilding was suffering from an ego fantasy which bore no relationship to the true manner in which he was perceived by both staff and pupils.
To be confronted with an individual holding this posture for a whole interview must have been very unnerving, and undoubtedly accounts for the lack of empathy and poor managerial relations that bedevilled staff relationships throughout Wilding's time as headmaster.
In considering Wilding's 'ego fantasy', we are inevitably drawn to the strange matter of the Holy Cross 'Fresco' (there is some doubt as to whether it was actually a fresco or simply a mural).

The Holy Cross Mural

For some reason Wilding decided that the grimly empty entrance foyer needed some form of decoration.
A wall painting was the proposed, and Wilding made contact with an 'artist' - and we use that term advisedly - who had previously taught at the school.

Malcolm Pitt
This was Malcolm Pitt, a Communist Party member, who also managed to be a Roman Catholic, and an admirer of St Francis of Assisi (this was at a time when it was fashionable in pseudo-intellectual Roman Catholic circles to be a Marxist or a Communist - and no, we are not joking - they called themselves 'Marxist-Catholics').
We are also led to believe that Pitt worked for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales as the Secretary of the 'World of Work Committee' and the 'Committee for Public Life'.
He was also apparently appointed to the 'Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace', meeting Pope John Paul II several times.
(This is a good example of 'reds under the altar' rather than 'reds under the bed', and shows the appalling state of the Roman Catholic Church in recent times)
Before becoming Principal of the International Franciscan Study Centre in Canterbury, Pitt gained a doctorate with his investigation into 'the Extent that Marx's Materialist Conception of History is Comparable with the Principles of Catholic Social Teaching, Particularly as Expounded by John Paul II' (one wonders at this point who is fooling who ?).
At the time of the mural painting Pitt was driving around in a second hand Rolls Royce (?) - which seems a little odd for a dedicated Marxist - even a Catholic Marxist.
So how is the mural related to Wilding's 'ego fantasy' ?
Well first let's look at the unlikely subject - the 'Finding of the True Cross'.

Finding of the True Cross - Piero della Francesca - 1466
According to post-Nicene historians, such as Socrates Scholasticus, the Byzantine Empress Helena, mother of Constantine, the first Christian Emperor, travelled to the Holy Land in 326 –28 AD, founding churches and establishing relief agencies for the poor.
Historians Gelasius of Caesarea and Rufinus claimed that she discovered the hiding place of three crosses that were believed to be used at the crucifixion of Jesus and of two thieves, St. Dismas and Gestas, executed with him, and that a miracle revealed which of the three was the True Cross.
With the Cross were also found the 'Holy Nails', which Helena took with her back to Constantinople.
As far as is known, Pitt's painting no longer exists.
It seems that it was destroyed when the Holy Cross School was demolished in 2011.
Searches on the internet indicate that no photos of the painting have placed on any website - and so there appears to be only a dim memory of the painting itself.
That might be just as well.
The painting had practically no artistic merit.
It was drab and dreary, and the content of the image only revealed itself after very close inspection.
Pitt himself, it appears, was not a particularly exciting or imaginative artist, but he was competent enough to produce a good likeness - which in this case was unfortunate.
St Helena - who is easily identified in the painting, has the face of Eileen Teahan - a teacher at Holy Cross at the time who was supposedly head of the Religious Studies department, despite the fact that she was not qualified in the subject.
Barry Cage and a few other members of senior staff also appeared in the scene, but pride of place was given to an individual in what appeared to be clerical robes, who could be easily identified as Bernard Wilding.
He was either representing the local Bishop, of maybe even the Emperor, (although the Emperor was supposed to be in Constantinople at the time).
And so here was  Wilding's 'ego fantasy' - a fantasy of power and authority - the two things that, in reality, he did not have.
The painting was, inevitably, a failure.
It did not 'brighten up' the entrance hall as it was dull and drab, and practically nobody realised what it was about.
Whether Pitt was paid for his efforts is not known, and the fact that no record of the work now seems to exist seems apposite.
But the project undoubtedly sums up the drift from reality that typified the regime that was controlling the Holy Cross School at the time.


While Wilding rarely taught, and was rarely seen around the school ,(he tended to hibernate in either his own, huge office, or in the school secretary's office), he did regularly 'take' school assemblies.
There was, in many of these assemblies, however, an obsession with sickness and death.
Wilding seemed to truly relish talking about the sick, the dying and the dead.
Now it is, undoubtedly good to care and pray for the sick and the dying - that is simply Christian charity - Christian love.
One should point out, however, that it is also right and proper to care and pray for the healthy and the living, and that was something that was rarely mentioned during Holy Cross Assemblies.

Une Pervane -  Edwin Austin Abbey
Symptomatic was the fact that one of the few pieces of music from the great classical heritage of music to be played to the pupils of the school was 'Pavane pour une infante défunte' by the great French composer, Maurice Ravel.
For those not au fait with French the title means - loosely translated - 'Pavane (slow processional dance) for a Dead (Spanish) Princess', and for a prolonged period this was played every morning at assembly.
The head of English believed it would 'quieten' the children, and presumably she had Wilding's approval for this (extremely) odd custom.
Now it may be a beautiful piece of music, but it is slow, excessively mournful, and not exactly the best way to start the day for young people.

Temptations of St Anthony
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
But then Thanet is the 'Isle of the Dead' (see below), and death seems to be the unifying theme, threading its way through so much of what happened at Holy Cross.
There is, of course, a tradition in the Catholic Church of asceticism, which is generally held to have begun with Ἀββᾶς Ἀντώνιος (St Anthony the Great), who moved to the Egyptian desert in around 270 AD, and became known as both the father and founder of desert monasticism.
Asceticism in the Church, however, has tended to drift in and out of favour through the centuries.

Asceticism - (from the Greek: ἄσκησις áskēsis, "exercise" or "training") describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various worldly pleasures, often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals. Christian Desert Fathers included practices that involved restraint with respect to actions of body, speech, and mind. The founders and earliest practitioners of asceticism lived extremely austere lifestyles, refraining from sensual pleasures and the accumulation of material wealth. They practised asceticism as an aid in the pursuit of metaphysical health.

In the nineteenth century asceticism was encouraged by the writings of certain Catholic saints, for example Marie Bernarde Soubirous - usually refferred to as St Bernadette of Lourdes, and St Thérèse of Lisieux.
St Bernadette of Lourdes
Bernadette Soubirous is best known for her participation in the Marian apparitions of "a small young lady" who asked for a chapel to be built at a cave-grotto in Massabielle, where apparitions are said to have occurred between 11 February and 16 July 1858.
She would later receive recognition when the lady who appeared to her identified herself as the Immaculate Conception ('que soy era immaculada concepciou')
On 8 December 1933, she was canonized by Pope Pius XI as a Saint of the Roman Catholic Church; her Feast Day is observed on 16 April.

que soy era immaculada concepciou
Bernadette joined the Sisters of Charity of Nevers as Sister Marie Bernard at their mother house at Nevers, at the age of 22.
She spent the rest of her brief life there, working as an assistant in the infirmary and later as a sacristan, creating beautiful embroidery for altar cloths and vestments.
She later contracted tuberculosis of the bone in her right knee.
Sister Marie Bernard became disabled from 1877 until her death. 
She professed Perpetual Vows on September 22nd, 1878, during a period when she was feeling better, but her good health, however, did not last long, and the following December 11th, she returned to the infirmary to never leave it.
She suffered very much physically.
Being in bed created wounds all over her back, and her tuberculosis ridden leg burst.
She developed abbesses in her ears, making her completely deaf for some time.
She wrote in detail about her illness, an example of which is :

"Oh Jesus and Mary, let my entire consolation in this world be to love you and to suffer for sinners."

She eventually died of her long-term illness at the age of 35 on 16 April 1879.
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (January 2, 1873 – September 30, 1897), was a French Discalced Carmelite nun.
Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus
She is popularly known as "The Little Flower of Jesus".
She is well known from 'The Story of a Soul', a collection of her autobiographical manuscripts, printed and distributed a year after her death.
The essence of her approach to the spiritual life may be found in her statement :

"I will seek out a means of getting to Heaven by a little way - very short and very straight, a little way that is wholly new."

However, this is offset by her presumptuous statement :

"I will spend my heaven doing good upon the earth. I will let fall a shower of roses".

'Presumption means that we do not live in hope, we live in a sense of false certitude. Presumption is the vice whereby we expect to gain eternal life.'

When St Thérèse realised that she had tuberculosis she wrote the following:

"The Little Flower of Jesus"
The Basilica at Lisieux
'I thought immediately of the joyful thing that I had to learn, so I went over to the window. I was able to see that I was not mistaken. (she had coughed up blood). Ah ! my soul was filled with a great consolation; I was interiorly persuaded that Jesus, on the anniversary of His own death, wanted to have me hear His first call !'

As the fatal disease slowly progressed St Thérèse recorded every twist and turn of the disease's progress in the most appalling and mawkish detail.
On her death-bed she said:

"I have reached the point of not being able to suffer any more, because all suffering is sweet to me."

This, however, was not asceticism, as practised by the early Fathers of the Church, but rather a perverse, almost masochistic form of exhibitionism.
Both St Bernadette and St Thérèse's response to illness was based on the concept of 'sharing in Christ's sufferings', which if not properly understood, had a possible tendency to put the sufferer on a par with the Saviour and Redeemer himself - rather in the sense of 'co-redemptrix' or 'co-redemtor'.

 Our Lady of Fatima
Peter Crawford
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
This misguided understanding was, unintentionally encouraged by the example of Fatima.
The children of Fatima - three young shepherds - received a vision of an angel, who identified himself as the 'Angel of Peace', and he gave a long and complex message, part of which contained the words :

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
'Make of everything you can a sacrifice and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners .....'

The concept of 'sacrifice', most clearly expressed in the 'Epistle to the Hebrews', in the New Testament, was forcefully encouraged by this vision.
Later, a Lady, who is now known as 'Our Lady of Fatima' appeared to the three children.
Included in her message were the following words :

Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the conversion of sinners ? Sacrifice yourselves for sinners ! .....'

Jacinta Marto 
Francisco Marto 
Francisco, the youngest of the children, contracted influenza in 1918, and declined hospital treatment, and a day later, on April 4th he died peacefully at home.
Jacinta contracted influenza around the same time, and developed purulent pleurisy and endured an operation in which two of her ribs were removed.
Because of the condition of her heart, she could not be anaesthetized and suffered terrible pain, which she said would 'help to convert many sinners'.
On February 20th, 1920,  Jacinta died, as she had often said she would, alone.
The suffering and death of these two young Saints (as they later became), was seen by many in the Catholic community as suitable 'sacrifices for the conversion of sinners'.

'sharing in Christ's sufferings'
'Christ on the Cross'
Eric Gill
Now the theology of this particular subject is very complex, and this is not the place to go into it detail.
It is sufficient to say that suffering and illness, 'per se', is not more admirable, in moral terms, than health and wellness, and it is how such conditions are related to an individual's spiritual formation that is relevant.
Unfortunately, Wilding seemed to be of the opinion that illness was itself more laudable than wellness.
To put it in everyday language he was a 'sucker' for a 'hard luck story', particularly if that 'story' involved a sick individual.
In fact, Wilding was such a 'sucker', that on one occasion he had the pupils and parents donating, what eventually became a sizeable sum money, to a non-existent, starving village.
However, it was not just Wilding being 'duped' and then, in turn, presumably innocently, 'duping' the pupils and parents, - it was more serious than that.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
The German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, who wrote, among other things, 'Der Antichrist' (The Antichrist), based his condemnation of Christianity on the view that a meaningful philosophy of life should be "life-affirming", and that one should question any doctrine that drained one's expansive energies, however socially prevalent those ideas might be.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philologist, philosopher, cultural critic, poet and composer. He wrote several critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and aphorism.

Nietzsche conceived of a 'master morality' and a 'slave morality', taking his categories from the sociology of the Ancient World, and in particular Ancient Greece.
Nietzsche presents this "master morality" as the original system of morality - perhaps best associated with Homeric Greece.
To be "morally good" was to be happy, and to have the things related to happiness: wealth, strength, health, etc.
To be "morally bad" was to be poor, weak, sick, pathetic - an object of pity or disgust rather than hatred.
And in Nietzsche's thinking the 'master morality' was equated with non-Christian paganism, and the 'slave morality' was equated with Christianity.

(see 'Jenseits von Gut und Böse: Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft' 1886 and Zur Genealogie der Moral: Eine Streitschrift 1887).

Because there was a certain element of truth in propositions described in the two books quoted above, along with 'Die fröhliche Wissenschaft' (1882–1887) and 'Also sprach Zarathustra' (1883–1885), Nietzsche was able to wreak enormous damage on the ligitimacy of Christian, and in particular, Catholic moral and ethical teaching - and this damage has continued to the present day.
But back to Holy Cross.
Unfortunately, listening to one of Wilding's assemblies, and also some of his staff-room monologues, one would consider Nietzsche's analysis of Christian morality to be correct.
It did seem, according to Wilding, that to be 'poor, weak, sick, pathetic - an object of pity or disgust' was morally laudable, and that a person so afflicted (or in Wilding's terms - blest) would be closer to God, and participating more fully in the 'economy of slavation'.

The 'Economy of Salvation' is that part of divine revelation that deals with God’s creation and management of the world, particularly His plan for salvation accomplished through the Church.

John Darby

John Darby was Thanet born and bred.

Chatham House School - Ramsgate
Chatham House School
He came from a staunchly Roman catholic family, but strangely was educated a the prestigious, non-Catholic Chatham House Grammar School, where he was remembered as good at sport, but not much else.
Chatham House was also the 'alma mater' of the infamouse Edward Heath (1926-1935).
Now, with so many rumours circulating about what Heath got up to on 'Morning Cloud', and with Jimmy Saville, the school is probably trying to downplay the association.
John Darby did, however, manage to acquire sufficient examination successes to enable him to train as a teacher.

Edward Heath
Interestingly, Darby returned to Chatham House (a non-Catholic School) to teach - a fine example of the 'old boy' made good.
When he eventually came to Holy Cross he was given the elevated position as head of the Maths Department, although, still being a sporty type, he also taught physical education.
Darby was a large man (more fat than muscle, however) but his imposing bulk and forceful character gave him a reputation as a strict disciplinarian.
He was a good teacher, but his lack of 'sharpness' in intellectual matters proved somewhat of a disadvantage, and while he was relatively good with young people he did have a problem with 'reading' adults.
To quote the famous saying about teachers - he was 'a man among children, and a child among men'.
His fatal flaw was that he was unable to comprehend that simple fact, and always imagined that he was able to 'outsmart' his colleagues, when in most cases they found it too irksome or embarrassing  to object to his schemes, plans and proposals.
He was unfortunate in that he lost his wife to cancer - and she was a woman in the prime of life.
Bernard Wilding, who lost his son, Stephen, never got over his loss, and became an empty husk of a man thereafter.
John Darby, however, after his wife's death, was married again after a few months, and couldn't understand why many of his 'colleagues' found that disturbing at the least, or even 'sinister'.
Wilding, on the surface, declared the new marriage delightful, but then Wilding was almost all 'surface', and who knows what he really thought.
Darby was obsessed with computers, and ran lessons entitled 'Computer Studies' - thinking that this would prepare his pupils for the future - and he really thought that 'Computer Studies', apart from maths, was the most important subject taught in the school.

ZX Spectrum
 Commodore 64
Little did he imagine that in the 21st century even children would have computers in their pockets - things called 'smart-phones' - and nobody would need to study them, or know how to 'programme' them, or know 'computer language', or have any understanding of how they worked, as they would be designed to be wholly intuitive, - and one wonders how many hours were wasted on those lessons designed to enable pupils to operate ZX Spectrum or a Commodore 64.

The ZX Spectrum is an 8-bit personal home computer released in the United Kingdom in 1982 by Sinclair Research Ltd. The machine was launched as the ZX Spectrum by Sinclair to highlight the machine's colour display, compared with the black-and-white of its predecessor, the ZX81. The Spectrum was ultimately released as eight different models, ranging from the entry level model with 16 kB RAM released in 1982 to the ZX Spectrum +3 with 128 kB RAM and built in floppy disk drive in 1987.

In 1982, Commodore introduced the Commodore 64 as the successor to the VIC-20. Thanks to a well-designed set of chips designed by MOS Technology, the Commodore 64, (also referred to as C64), possessed remarkable sound and graphics for its time, 

From the point of view of the present, what is odd about this computer obsessed man is his lack of 'presence' on the Internet - and repeated searches have failed to find any mention or image of the man - anywhere.
This, however, does not just apply to John Darby, but to most of the major characters in this saga of Roman Catholic Education.
John Darby's other obsession was skiing, so he cleverly arranged for a school sponsored trip to the skiing slopes, for the chosen few, every year.
This, of course, made him immensely popular with the pupils, and not a few of the staff, (including Barry Cage and Jill Simms (later Mrs Cage).
It also helped his discipline, as only 'well behaved' pupils (by John Darby's standards) were permitted to go on these trips.
It should be remembered, however, that most of the pupils attending Holy Cross came from working class, and in many cases, impoverished backgrounds.
While it was undoubtedly a 'good thing' to give them a holiday on the snow covered slopes, it was in many ways culturally and socially inappropriate.
Many of them would not be able to afford such a privileged holiday in the future and, in fact, many members of the school staff found such a holiday beyond their financial means.
But Darby needed the slopes once a year, and what better way to enjoy this that to take the pupils - have a holiday, improve his discipline, and improve his popularity.
Darby always carried round the school a metal briefcase, and on one side of the briefcase was a stuck a huge skiing logo, so that the allure and glamour  of the slopes was presented to the pupils at all times - great advertising by anybody's standards.
But then Darby, while he was not intellectually smart -  was 'street smart', like many of his pupils.
Darby had one more trick up his sleeve - the Wednesday Club.
This operated very much like the Ski Trip.
It was basically a reward for good behaviour.
The 'good kids' were allowed to return to the school gym in the evening and use various items of sports equipment and play records.
The evening always ended up with a game of indoor hockey.

Tony MacDonald

Eventually a Deputy headmaster was found for Bernard Wilding.
Tony MacDonald (or is it McDonald) was a bluff northerner, (and that's a real understatement), with a strong Yorkshire accent, and an inordinate liking for beer.
He was almost certainly an alcoholic - but what is technically known as a 'functioning alcoholic'.
When comparing him to Bernard Wilding the phrase 'chalk and cheese' instantly comes to mind.
Wilding was, in most cases, 'bad' by default - he simply failed to do the right thing, out of cowardice, stupidity or laziness
'in the world, sin is omnipresent to the degree that the vigilant struggle to avoid sinful conduct is doomed to failure, - and Wilding's 'distance' and lack of positive action mirrored this theme in Graham Greene's books.'
Gilbert Jones
 fay and effeminate
MacDonald was just 'bad' - in fact he was a sadist - although probably not in the sexual sense.
He just enjoyed seeing pain, physical or mental, in others..
He openly admitted to a member of staff that he 'liked to see women cry' - and yet the Abbot, the fay and effeminate Gilbert Jones, and the Board of Governors thought him fit and suitable to act as a Deputy headmaster of a Catholic School.
But that is to misrepresent matters - in fact he was, in all but name, the headmaster, as Wilding faded discreetly into his office, to be brought out only for assemblies and 'staff meetings'.
MacDonald was an old style catholic, and he wished to impose his view of how to teach religion on the staff of the RE Department (led by Sister Alice) - such as it was.
His solution to the vexed question of how to teach religion to adolescents was to go back to the Rosary. 

The Rosary
The rosary (Latin rosarium, meaning "Crown of Roses") is a Roman Catholic sacramental and Marian devotion to prayer and the commemoration of Jesus and events of his life. The term "Rosary" is used to describe both a sequence of prayers and a string of prayer beads used to count the prayers. The rosary was given to Saint Dominic in an apparition by the Virgin Mary in the year 1214 The traditional fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary were instituted by Pope Pius V in the 16th century. The mysteries are grouped into three sets: the Joyful mysteries, the Sorrowful mysteries, and the Glorious mysteries. In 2002 Pope John Paul II announced a set of five new optional mysteries called the Luminous mysteries, bringing the total number of mysteries to twenty.

Now in this MacDonald was not entirely wrong.
There is much to be learned about faith and doctrine from a study of the rosary, but as a form of catechesis there are few authorities who would suggest such an approach as being apposite for the youth of today.
MacDonald did attempt to teach some religious education lessons on this basis, but as was expected he was far from successful.
To the pupils MacDonald was known as 'Meathead' - and it is remarkable how aptly young people find names for their elders.

Tony MacDonald - Corporal Punishment
They feared him, mainly because he introduced the cane to Holy Cross - a form of punishment that Bernard Wilding was resolutely against - but Wilding was powerless to control his sadistic deputy.
Corporal punishment, of course, is now illegal in school, but this does not necessarily mean that such punishment is wrong.
For thousands of years it has been believed that, as a last resort, young people should be physically punished, and the wisdom of the ages should not be put aside lightly.
The problem with MacDonald's use of corporal punishment was that it was not used to correct the child, but rather to satisfy the individual handing out the punishment.
But MacDonald's victims were not only the pupils.
His first victim among the staff was Bill Brears.
Now Bill was supposed to be a close friend of Bernard Wilding, but Wilding did nothing (as usual) to protect Bill from MacDonald's constant complaints.
MacDonald thought that Bill was 'soft', and was not disciplining the upper age group of pupils sufficiently.
Bill (who was officially Senior Master) was not 'soft', but was sensitive to criticism, and poured his heart out to a member of staff - complaining that too much pressure was being put on him, and that his work load was too heavy.
Two days later he was dead from a heart attack.
At a memorial assembly, held in the Gym, MacDonald gave a peroration for the 'departed' Senior Master, in which he hypocritically described Bill as a 'true English gentleman'.
It seems a pity that MacDonald couldn't learn anything from his first victim at Holy Cross.
The one thing that MacDonald was not was a gentleman - rather he was a thug.
Another member of staff who presented a problem for MacDonald was Jill Goodreau.
Now Jill, who specialised in English, was not a Roman Catholic.
She was forward looking, quite unconventional and quite popular with many of the older pupils.
MacDonald was not at all happy about her influence over the older pupils, and it must be remembered here that MacDonald was an 'old style' Catholic, hiding under the 'sheep's clothing' of Vatican II.
So he started putting pressure on Jill - at staff meetings, in the staff-room, and by increasing her work load.
Jill caught a cold, and then it developed into 'flu - but Jill was young - about forty, and so it was 'no big deal'.
But then she developed pneumonia, was taken into hospital - and died.
There was assembly in the gym, and another peroration, this time not so fulsome, and another member of staff had gone.
Not everybody, of course 'passed away' under pressure, but it was always possible to force people to leave.
A number of members of staff left under such pressure, including Sister Alice, who attempted to teach Religious Education, Alan Ward, who taught history, Steve Whiteman, who taught physical education, and John Darby.
MacDonald was intensely jealous of Darby's popularity with the pupils.
One way to reduce this popularity was to stop the Wednesday Club, which gave Darby so much control over the senior pupils.
Darby would not budge, however.
Eventually, though, when more pressure was brought to bear on Darby, he decide to leave and go to work with his brother.
Before he left, he handed over the running of the Wednesday Club to another member of staff - without revealing MacDonald's plans.
This individual was not a member of the secret cabal, however, - the 'Senior Staff'
And so, after a brief period, MacDonald simply changed the locks on the Gym, and the Wednesday Club was 'locked out', and was forced to disband.
There was no discussion, and no warning.
The pupils came in the evening, and the doors were locked.
And that is one of the reasons why MacDonald can be described as a 'thug' - and a vicious thug at that.
The MacDonald, having cowed everyone on the staff, including Wilding, decided to leave, and everyone drew a great sigh of relief - including Bernard Wilding.
But then there was a new problem.
Once again the school needed a new Deputy Head - and that could be a problem.
But help was at hand.

John Darby as Deputy Head

Much to everyone's surprise, John Darby came back as Deputy Headmaster.
Or was everyone surprised ?
It all happened very quickly.
MacDonald was no sooner out than John Darby was in - so had it all been pre-arranged ?
Quite possibly.
But when John Darby came back it was not the John Darby that everyone remembered.
There was the first assembly, and the staff were all waiting for Darby to lay down some strict yet fair guidelines for the pupils to follow.
Instead, in shuffled a hunched over man in drag !

Female Cleaner
with Mop and Bucket
And yes - it was John Darby pretending to be a female cleaner with a mop and bucket.
And then - leaning on his mop he proceeded, in a falsetto voice, and exaggerated cockney accent to moan about how the pupils were not looking after the school - dropping litter etc.
Everybody, including the pupils, were embarrassed.
The staff, not surprisingly, were appalled.
And what did Bernard Wilding think.
Well, once Darby had finished, he thanked his new Deputy Head, and then continued with an apparently normal assembly.
It seems that during his time away, Darby had become 'born again' - that is, infused with a religious mania - but unfortunately he had an almost total lack of understanding of doctrine or scripture.
Undoubtedly he should have stuck to his ZX Spectrum !
Now in most schools the pupils fear being reported to the Head, or Deputy Head master.
Under Darby's new regime it was a little different, however.
It was the teaching staff who feared being reported to the Deputy Head.
Darby had an open door policy, and pupils would simply say, if criticised or corrected - 'I'll tell Mr Darby !'.
Not surprisingly, discipline declined dramatically.

And while the school began to sink into the non-academic abyss, Darby could be found moving furniture round the school - one of his favourite little hobbies.
And when a new photocopier was to be purchased, he acquired three on approval, and set them up in his office.
He then staged a 'race' to see which machine was the fastest - and so this was how the second most senior individual in the school spent his time.
Meanwhile, Wilding would be inconsequentially chatting to the school secretaries over tea and biscuits.
One problem John Darby had was when he started talking about religion when taking 'assembelies' - and probably also when taking the odd, (and yes probably 'odd'), Religious Education lesson.
He had an unfortunate tendency to find it difficult, at least in his own mind, to sort out the relationship between Jesus Christ and God the Father - not to mention the 'Holy Spirit' (Spiritūs Sancti - in Latin - and Heiligen Geist in Benedict's native German - 'Geist' also having the additional meaning of 'mind').
This was probably the result of not having had a Roman Catholic secondary school education, which resulted in Darby having a very poor understanding of Christology and Trinitarian Doctrine.

Christ Pantocrator
Christology -  refers to the study of the human and divine natures of Jesus Christ as they coexist within one person.There are no direct discussions in the New Testament regarding the dual nature of the Person of Christ as both divine and human. Hence, since the early days of Christianity, theologians have debated various approaches to the understanding of these natures, at times resulting in schisms.
Hypostatic union (fὑπόστασις - hypóstasis) is a technical term in Christian theology employed in mainstream Christology to describe the union of Christ's humanity and divinity in one hypostasis. The First Council of Ephesus recognised this doctrine and affirmed its importance, stating that the humanity and divinity of Christ are made one according to nature and hypostasis in the Logos.
The Catholic doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons or hypostases: (see above) the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit; "one God in three persons". The three persons are distinct (three divine hypostases) - yet are one "substance, essence or nature". In this context, a "nature" is what one is, while a "person" is who one is.

Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Roman Inquisition
One wonders of course, considering the above, what would have happened had Darby, - and Wilding and MacDonald for that matter - been arraigned before the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Roman Inquisition).
The most probable outcome would have been that, after brief questioning, they would have been handed over to the 'secular authority' for suitable punishment.
Of course, the Roman Inquisition stopped doing this a long, long time ago.
In the end burning people alive came to be thought of as not very 'Christian'.
However, it should be remembered that Darby, MacDonald and Wilding were being paid - and very handsomely - for promoting the Roman Catholic faith in Thanet through the medium of education, and this was something that they demonstrably failed to do - and failed miserably.
In Darby's case it was undoubtedly because his grasp of the faith was tenuous
(This is not, of course to say the he was, personally, not a good Catholic. This is something between him and his conscience.)
MacDonald seemed to have a reasonable understanding of faith and doctrine, but his overwhelming egoism and perverse manner prevented him from communicating his understanding effectively.
Wilding seemed to vacillate between 'happy clappy' Protestantism, and a vague Graham Greene style Catholicism.
If he didn't know where he stood, how could anyone else take a lead from him - pupils or staff ?
As time went on John Darby became increasingly paranoid - a not uncommon response to attempting to work at Holy Cross.
Strangely, he was not paranoid about the pupils.
Instead it was the staff that concerned him, and he strove to make them work increasingly hard, insisting on them staying behind long after the end of the school day, and in making then attend various supposedly educational meeting, often outside Thanet.
His paranoia also extended to affairs far beyond the School.
He had various apocalyptic fantasies, centring around social collapse and world war.

Apocalypticism is the religious belief that there will be an apocalypse, a term which originally referred to a revelation of God's will, but now usually refers to belief that the world will come to an end time very soon, even within one's own lifetime. This belief is usually accompanied by the idea that civilization will soon come to a tumultuous end due to some sort of catastrophic global event.

Possibly the worst example of this was when the United States bombed Tripoli in Libya.
Darby held a school assembly on this topic, mentioning that he had heard the American bombers leaving on their bombing raid from Manston.

الجمهورية العربية الليبية
Al-Jumhūrīyah Al-ʿArabiyyah Al-Lībiyyah
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
1986 United States Bombing of Libya,
RAF Manston was an RAF station in the north-east of Kent, at grid reference TR334663 on the Isle of Thanet from 1916 until 1996.

The 1986 United States bombing of Libya, code-named Operation El Dorado Canyon, comprised air-strikes by the United States against Libya on 15 April 1986. The attack was carried out by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps via air-strikes, in response to the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing. There were reportedly 40 Libyan casualties and one US plane shot down killing two airmen.

There is no evidence that Manston was actually used by the USAF.

Nuclear War
The main thrust of the assembly was that Libya might strike back at Thanet (?), and that the pupils should be prepared - and presumably pray.
Not only was it unlikely that Manston had been used for the strike on Libya, it was also ridiculous to think that Libya had the capability - or intention for that matter - to attack Thanet.
Such fantasies fed the paranoia of other members of staff, and Phil Cooper, the teacher of Sociology, ended up having a complete break down, in which he believed that there had been a nuclear war, and all the staff, including Cooper, were ghosts - simply 'going through the motions'.

to be continued

The Holy Cross admission policy was mainly for children of a Roman Catholic background although the school admitted a large number of children of a non-religious or Protestant background.
The Holy Cross School's Art Deco (?) styled building was built near the cliff tops of Broadstairs on the East Kent coast.

Holy Cross School Chapel
Holy Cross School Chapel
It consisted of a school block and had its own separate Chapel, for school mass and religious celebration.
It also had a separate hall for school assembly's, which doubled up as a gymnasium, as well as four tennis courts and two playing fields, the first of which was used for football and rugby for boys P.E. lessons, and the second of which was used for hockey and netball for girls P.E. lessons.
In 1990 Holy Cross decided to invested in a sixth form study centre for its pupils when the school converted an old 1930's gatehouse at the entrance of the grounds as a place to study away from the school, whilst still within school premises.
In February 1992 the school suffered a large and devastating fire which, interestingly, damaged the unoccupied top floor of the 1930's main block just above the chapel, with over 500 pupils being lead to safety.
The fire caused an estimated £100,000 worth of damage, and took a further £500,000 to repair, and although the top floor was closed off the school itself didn't close, and carried on while the building was being repaired and refurbished.

Holy Cross School Uniform
Throughout its existence as a secondary modern, the Holy Cross uniform consisted of a white shirt, blue jumper, school tie and a blue blazer with the schools emblem on the pocket.
Boys had to wear either black of grey trousers and girls wore a blue skirt.
The Holy Cross school badge was a shield with a cross and three wavy lines depicting the sea, due the schools close proximity to the coast and the schools motto was, 'In hoc signo vinces', meaning "In this sign you will conquer".
By the 1980's the schools dress code became less formal and more relaxed, as the level of discipline continued to decline.
On 31 August 1998 the schools education standards had dropped below average, as had its pupil admissions, and KCC education authority stepped in and made a decision to close down Holy Cross as a Catholic school, although the school itself would carry on under a different name as an all-boys school.
This, of course, was a stern rebuff to the Catholic Church's inability to maintain appropriate educational standards.
Hereson secondary school for boys was to be the new temporary tenants to Holy Cross from 1999 for over 470 pupils, when there originally school on Lillian road, became dilapidated and was demolished by property developers to make way for a row of 16 terraced houses, Hereson were tenants at Holy Cross between 1999 to 2008.
In 2008 Hereson school vacated Holy Cross.
After Hereson vacated the school another use had to be found for the Holy Cross.
The building itself was considered an important architectural landmark in Broadstairs, therefore the desire to keep it was strong among the local residents with some people holding protests, but the land was far to valuable and with a shortage of cheap affordable housing in Broadstairs the school along with it grounds became a desirable prospect for housing developers.
Finally the decision to use the schools surrounding land and playing fields for property development was agreed by Thanet District Council (TDC), with the demolition of the 1930's building in 2011, bringing to an end nearly 70 years for Holy Cross.

Holy Cross School
A Cursed Enterprise ?
Was Holy Cross 'cursed' in some mysterious way, or was its 'decline and fall' just a inevitable result of the 'decline and fall' of the Roman Catholic community in Thanet ?
We have already noted the reports of 'The Grange' - seat of the Lord Abbot of Ramsgate, having "an effect that can drag you down. There is a negative energy there that is tangible. Something is very wrong there - that place is alive with something awful."
It has been speculated that this could be due to some kind of occult presence.
So was there an occult presence at the Holy Cross school also ?
And what of the name of the whole area - Thanet ?

Θάνατος - Thanatos
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2012
Θάνατος - in Greek mythology, Thanatos  (Death from θνῄσκω - thnēskō, "to die, be dying") was the daemon (spirit) personification of death. He was a minor figure in Greek mythology, often referred to but rarely appearing in person. His name is transliterated in Latin as Thanatus, but his equivalent in Roman mythology is Mors. He was always portrayed as a beautiful ephebe -(from the Greek ephebos ἔφηβος - anglicised as ephebe - is the term for an adolescent male).

The name is Greek - although it was introduced by the Romans.
So the Isle of Thanet is the 'Isle of the Dead' or the 'Isle of Death'.

Holy Cross was originally a residential 'open air' school for sick and delicate children - children who were undoubtedly unhappy, and probably often in pain.
And how many of those poor, sick children died within the walls of the establishment - and did there suffering and deaths somehow pervade the very structure of that windswept edifice ?

Holy Cross School - Broadstairs
The top floor consisted of dormitories, and the lower floors were wards/classrooms with large windows that could be slid open to allow the supposedly health giving air to blow in from the English Channel.
The odd-looking hexagonal protrusion  (see photo) was known as the Solarium.
This also had large windows that could be opened to allow in the sun's rays.

When the nuns left, and the building became a Catholic School, it was constantly rumoured that the top floor of the building was haunted.
Strangely enough the top floor was never used, and was out of bounds to pupils.
The head of the English Department (Mike Courtenay - who was believed by the pupils to be 'gay', and then shocked them all by marrying and leaving for the States) reported that one night, when in the playground, he had seen a nun on the top floor silently ringing a hand bell from one of the windows - and he was a reliable senior member of staff (and a good catholic) who was not inclined to lie.
Was the school haunted ? - Well if atmosphere of the building was anything to go by it was exceptionally creepy, and the only person who seemed to be at home in this 'creepyness' was the equally creepy headmaster (see above).
And apart from ghostly nuns, it is also rumoured that the site contains an Anglo Saxon burial ground.

Holy Cross School - Broadstairs
But it was not just 'ghost stories' - or a 'creepy feeling' that caused many to wonder what was really going on in that cold, gaunt building.
It was something far more tangible.
It was sickness, addiction, lechery, neurosis and in the end death that stalked those echoing corridors.
A number of staff members suffered neurotic and, in some cases, psychotic breakdowns.
Other began to behave in ways which were completely out of character - embarking on inappropriate personal and sexual relationships.
And then there was the Art teacher's alcoholism, and his eventual death.
The death of two members of the English department - young women; healthy and in their prime, suddenly struck down.
The sudden death of the Senior Master - Bill Brears.
The death of the school secretary's husband.
The lingering and painful death of the wife of the head of the Maths Department (who also worked at the school teaching physical education) - another young woman (Mrs Darby) - in her prime - and struck down.
And even the deaths of mothers of children who attended the school, (Mrs Goodfellow and Mrs Kemp)
The death of the father of the teacher of Religious Education.
And, of course, the death of the headmaster's son, Steven, in a stupid and pointless accident.
And all in the space of a few years.
For many it was surely a 'cursed enterprise'.
And some would think it was a 'curse', some supernatural power feeding of those who were sufficiently unwise to become associated with the building, but others would blame the mayhem among the staff on the incompetence of the Headmaster, Bernard Wilding, which permitted the violent and dictatorial managerial styles of the two Deputy Headmaster during this period - MacDonald and Darby - suggesting that many were simply hounded into a premature grave, or a mental breakdown, or forced to leave by those two obsessively driven individuals.
But then what was driving them ?
One answer to that question has already bee answered by the pathetic story of the boy who was abused by Father Alexander Bede Walsh (who was sentenced to 22 years in prison in March 2012 for serious paedophile offences against boys).
Walsh used religion to control his young victims, telling one boy the abuse was 'the hand of God touching him'.
Undoubtedly some of the individuals involved in this equally pathetic story felt that they had been touched by 'the hand of God'.
This is undoubtedly true of Wilding (announcing, blasphemously, in assembly the sainthood of his dead son Stephen), and Darby with his constant harping on about his religious and moral certainties.
However, in all three there is an egoism, and a sadism, that is totally in opposition to the gentle Christian ideals that they claimed to be upholding, and which they were paid (and paid well) to uphold.
It goes without saying, of course, that anyone who considers that they are acting as the 'hand of God' is very dangerous - and here we are not just referring to paedophile priests.
Equally, 'tin-pot' little headmasters, and their deputies are not particularly dangerous, despite the fact that they may ruin careers, drive certain individuals to break-down, and even fatal illness, and more importantly ruin the education of large numbers of young people.
But one wonders what these individuals may have done had they not been 'tin-pot' characters responsible for a neglected little school.
We know that, given the power, the religiously minded (or obsessed) - Popes calling for Crusades, Sheiks calling for Jihad (bin Laden and his kind), Witch-Finder Generals, and even our beloved Cromwell (who banned Christmas and was responsible for regicide) will go to the most appalling extremes to further their 'religious faith'.
And of course, we are reminded of the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition (also known as the 'Santo Oficio' - Holy Office) - which tortured and was indirectly responsible for the deaths of countless thousands of people.
(Unfortunately, any mention of the Inquisition will bring images of 'Monty Python' and the 'soft cushions' - but try to put such images out of your mind - after all, we are trying to be serious.)

Founded by Pope Paul III in 1542, the congregation's sole objective is to "spread sound Catholic doctrine and defend those points of Christian tradition which seem in danger". Its offices are head-quartered at the Palace of the Holy Office, just outside Vatican City. The congregation employs an advisory board including cardinals, bishops, priests, lay theologians, and canon lawyers. Recently headed by Joseph Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI), the current Prefect is Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller.

And as you can see from the information above, it still exists - unable to torture people (at least physically) at the present time - but always ready to do the bidding of the Pope.

And talking of the Pope, here's a nice piece of gossip :

Monsignor Georg Gänswein
'Bel Giorgio'  - 'Gorgeous George'
A really 'creepy' photo
Ex-Pope Benedict’s trusted secretary, Monsignor Georg Gänswein, will be serving both pontiffs - living with Benedict at the monastery inside the Vatican, and keeping his day job as prefect of the new pope’s household.  So Benedict’s handsome male companion will continue to live with him, while working for the other Pope during the day. Georg Gänswein (born 30 July 1956) is a German Archbishop of the Catholic Church, Chaplain of His Holiness, Prefect of the Papal Household and the personal secretary of the pope-emeritus, Benedict.XVIGänswein's nickname is 'Bel Giorgio' (English: Gorgeous George).

But returning to our three 'villains' at Holy Cross - if they had real power, what might they have done ?
One shudders to think.
John Darby would openly fantasize to staff members about having the pupils for 24 hours a day (a bit like on the ski trip), and what he would then be able achieve - so there was a real lust for total control and power.
And  they were, each in their own way, capable of having their own little 'inquisitions' - not with regard to the pupils, however, but with the teaching staff.
Interestingly, if Wilding, (the supposed arch-pacifist), didn't get the answers he was looking for, he would bring a 12" ruler down sharply on his desk - which is just a step away from physical violence - and this is with regard to a member of the teaching staff.
MacDonald, of course, didn't have to resort to such displays - his mere presence was sufficiently threatening, and he was quite able to bring female members of staff to the point of tears.
John Darby was more careful, and he would simply 'talk his victims to death' - going on endlessly until they agreed with him, although there would always be the occasional veiled threat.
It should be remembered that any organisation is open to abuse, but an organisation that obtains its power from the ultimate source - God - is open to the greatest abuse.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
It is here that one should remember the words:

(You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church. ... I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.)
Vulgate, Matthew 16:18–19.

to be continued

'Something is very wrong there - that place is alive with something awful.'


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