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Report on Irish schools questions primacy of religious education

Catholic World News - April 10, 2012

A report on Irish schools has called for reconsideration of existing policy that allows church-affiliated schools to make religion the key element in their educational policies.

The report from the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism was commissioned by the Irish government’s education minister, Ruairi Quinn, who is setting plans for fundamental changes in the country’s school system Quinn expects that hundreds of schools currently run by the Catholic Church will become secular institutions.

The Irish bishops’ conference welcomed the Forum’s report and promised to cooperate with efforts to create greater diversity in Ireland’s school system. “The report clearly affirms the importance of denominational schools and the continuance of faith formation,” the bishops’ statement claimed.

But the Iona Institute offered a very different view, saying that the recommendations of the Forum “would seriously damage the ability of the remaining denominational schools to be meaningfully denominational. If they cannot be meaningfully denominational, then we will have less educational diversity, not more.” The Iona Institute said that “anything which would specifically mark out a Christian school as a Christian school is to be discouraged” under the Forum’s proposals.

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  • Posted by: Defender - Apr. 10, 2012 2:34 PM ET USA

    There are some U.S. Catholic schools where religion is not the key element in the curriculum either (though they won't own up to it). The Irish government is intent to rid itself of Catholicism just as the U.S. government seems to be. The only difference is generational: the Irish are going for the children and the U.S. is going for the adults.

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