Well, this is interesting.
Looks like the revolution has begun. And, blow me down, the media outrage has so far been fairly understated. Some of them even seem mildly supportive (for example, the Telegraph's Editorial states, "In short, what the Bishops are suggesting is a greater emphasis on the core tenet of Catholic education - which is that the teachings of the Catholic Church should be at the foundation of what is offered in Catholic schools. Why should that come as a surprise to anyone?" Why indeed?). Of course this impression may simply be a result of my avoidance of the SMH. Still, if even some of them get it, this is indeed promising.
And indeed the move is long overdue. For example, I understand that the vast majority of enrolments in seminary in the Sydney Archdiocese over the past couple of years have come from graduates of public schools. In addition, at the non-denominational private school I attended as a young whippersnapper (well, all of eight years ago), one of the requirements to teach was a sincerely-held and regularly-practiced Christian faith. By contrast, until now, as far as I understand it, teachers in Catholic schools have only had to make a vague commitment to some ill-defined entity known as "the ethos of the school".
Of course, realistically, these top-down sort of moves are not always effective, and when they are, the change that results is usually slow. Nonetheless, all this is hopeful. Of particular interest is the precedent set by the bishops making this move collectively. That in itself bodes well for the future. Matt 18 leaps to mind. In the meantime, prayers should be offered and eyes should remain peeled. If JPII (or for that matter, the Jesuits) were right about the youth, a genuine revival in the Catholic school system could add up to big consequences for the culture in a generation's time.