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Cardinal: Catholic schools in Northern Ireland must maintain Catholic character

CWN - February 26, 2010

Amid increasing calls for the “integration” of Catholic and Protestant schools in Northern Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, has announced he will oppose any attempts to alter the Catholic character of Catholic schools.

“All parents, whatever their denominational background, have this right to have their children educated in accordance with their religious convictions,” said Cardinal Brady. “We should never apologize for our convictions about Catholic education. I suggest rather that we reflect upon its proud history, its purpose and achievements.”

Cardinal Brady asked Catholic school principals “to support the trustees of Catholic schools in their efforts to ensure that the ethos and defining character of Catholic schools are maintained in any process of restructuring and change in education policy or provision. That ethos and character are entrusted to trustees for protection. I believe they are to be conserved conscientiously and scrupulously”.

“Consequently, the trustees will not support any change in management arrangements for Catholic schools in Northern Ireland which undermines existing rights of trustees in relation to employment, management or area planning.”

“We will not support any proposal which diminishes the current legislative status of the Catholic network of schools or the existing rights of Catholic trustees in respect of employment, management, or area based planning,” he added.

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