School patronage ‘will become political issue before General Election’

Aug 10, 2015

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By Waterford News and Star

A former ministerial advisor has said that he expects school patronage to become a political issue ahead of the General Election.

His comments come after the Archbishop of Dublin defended the rule prioritising baptised children in Catholic schools.

Diarmuid Martin was responding to claims by a mother at the weekend that her four-year-old son was denied a place in a number of schools in south Dublin because he was not baptised.

Dr Martin also criticised the divestment process for being too slow.

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6 comments on “School patronage ‘will become political issue before General Election’

  • You don’t really want non-Catholic kids going to a Catholic school and getting indoctrinated.
    I presume the motive is simply to find a spot or because the school has a good academic program.
    I think the emphasis needs to be on improving secular schools.

    I spent my first year in a school run by religious fanatics. I don’t think my secular mom had any idea what she was subjecting me to. I suspect many of these secular British parents are underestimating the harm of a Catholic education.

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  • 2
    Cairsley says:

    Now there is an important issue in Ireland’s efforts to become a modern, secular republic: how to divest the Catholic Church of its long-established control of education in Ireland. Since the church owns most of the schools, it will be no simple and easy task to prise these instruments of indoctrination from the church’s grasp. Education has always been dear to the church’s heart as the surest way of imparting its purportedly salvific teaching to society. I expect this to be an area of ongoing struggle between the Irish government and the church, that will be interesting for secularists to follow.

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  • I agree Cairsley. Leaving aside the religious question, even the legal and organisational problems will be immense. Archbishop Martin genuinely wants to divest the church of at least some of the schools. Ireland is to a large extent a post RC society, but the church has left the country with an intractible, remnant cultural, economic and political heritage.

    It has a huge stake in education, the medicine and social care. Religious orders with few surviving members, mostly quite old, own schools, hospitals, nursing homes and vast, underutilised churches, presbyteries, halls, etc. In addition most of the people in the republic regard themselves as Catholic, though in general they have little to do with the church, seldom attend mass and almost never receive the sacraments. In spite of the scandals, the history of clerical repression and the bad memories of Catholic education, there is still a residual respect and even affection for the church. Of course there is also a “spiritual” residue, of the variety, “I don’t believe in all of it, but there is Something, they often do good works, and the Pope is a good man…”

    Some of the bishops, and probably most of the religious orders, want to keep hold of education, but you couldn’t say that there has been a concerted campaign. However, when communities have been asked to decide, they mostly, nearly always, opt to maintain the status quo, of preserving the Catholic identity and ethos of the schools. There is no broad community pressure for change, though it does worry people that non-Catholics have to shop around so much for their children’s education.

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  • This is the very problem of the “voucher” proposal being pushed so hard by Republicans In the US! Everyone who reads these blogs probably understands this, but I thought I would post it anyway, Republicans want people in the US to support religiously based education for children. We have an increasing percentage of secular people in the US and the evangelicals are attempting to reverse this trend and brainwash young children.

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  • A first step could be a rule banning “religious education” and substituting a “World Religions and Philosophy” syllabus. One assumes the RCC will find this unacceptable and refuse to adopt it, whereupon the school(s) would be placed under a suitable authority that would implement it. If the RCC is genuinely interested in education they would adopt the approved syllabus, not to do so would show that it is indoctrination not education that drives their agenda. This is unacceptable in a secular society which Ireland is and what is more one that is prepared to stand up to Vatican bullying as when they shrugged their shoulders and said “OK, fine” when the Papal Nuncio was withdrawn to support the RC refusal to cooperate on the pervy priests issue. Eire is a more secular state than Northern Ireland where the nominal protestant objection to unification was that the south was in the thrall of devilish papal superstition. The reality is that it is in Northern Ireland that the church and state is not separated

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