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End of a 'Roman' empire

Have you noticed Roman Catholic schools quietly changing their name? Gone - or going - are the old initials "RC," to be replaced by the simple "Catholic". So have schools been turning their backs on Rome? No, it's just an attempt to be more consistent - and sound more inclusive.

Pretty much the last to implement the change are the 220 schools in the Diocese of Westminster. "It is diocesan policy to achieve consistency in the names of Catholic schools," says recent guidance to governing bodies. "In particular,initials are not permitted, and it is unnecessary to use the term 'Roman', especially in a diocese where there are many members of the 22 Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the See of Rome." These so-called "Eastern rite" churches are, broadly speaking, former Orthodox churches in countries such as Ukraine and Belarus that still use Orthodox rites but consider themselves within the jurisdiction of Rome."

"'Catholic' just sounds less exclusive," explains one insider."It makes it clear we welcome all kinds of Catholics."

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