Monthly Archives: March 2011

Church patronage of primary schools

Letters to the Editor Irish Times 31 March 2011

Madam,

The Irish Catholic Church has lately intimated through Archbishop Diarmuid Martin that it would no longer insist on continuing to govern the very large number of public primary schools which it owns and controls, and has done since the foundation of the State (Home News, February 23rd). This volte-face is to be welcomed, seeing that the majority of the population no longer feels its children should be force-fed any one particular religious ethos or creed.

The State will therefore assume the ownership of these many schools, and will as a consequence be compelled to purchase them from their clerical owners. In view of the tardy and inadequate manner in which the institutional Catholic Church has so far behaved regarding the recompense and treatment of the huge numbers who have suffered abuse and pain at the hands of its ministers and clergy, would it not now be just and proper that these school buildings and appurtenances should be donated free and unentailed to the State? After all, the Irish State has always paid for the maintenance and salaries of these schools and their teachers over the years, and the cost of such a purchase, despite the recent fall in real estate worth, would amount to yet another serious financial burden on this already deeply indebted country.

Such a gesture on the part of the Irish Catholic Church would go some way towards making up for the terrible deeds, so long covered up, of its clergy. Handwringing and the public washing of feet may be symbolic, but are singularly inadequate in such circumstances, and the institutional church has a long road to travel towards its hoped-for rehabilitation. This could be seen as a welcome step in this journey. – Yours, etc,

DAVID GRANT,

Waterford.