Bishop of Cloyne Says Government School Reform Is Damaging To Future Generations

By Seamus Whelehan

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A senior member of the Catholic hierarchy has said the government's attempt to reform the Country's Primary Schools may not affect any meaningful change.
The Bishop of Cloyne, Dr William Crean said the rule prioritising religion classes in primary schools, which was abolished last year, is potentially damaging to schools with a Catholic ethos.
The deletion of Article 68 from the ‘rules for National Schools' is an attempt by government to reflect a modern Irish society of diverse religious beliefs.
However the church continue to oppose the move.
Dr Crean said the potential of reducing time spent on faith formation was a recipe for disaster.
Rule 68 stated "of all the parts of a school curriculum Religious Instruction is by far the most important", and that "a religious spirit should inform and vivify the whole work of the school."
It was seen, by some, as a major obstacle to the freeing up of Irish Primary schools to fully cater for children of all religions and none.
Speaking at the official opening of Midleton Gaelscoil the Bishop said "schools who have expressed themselves of having a Catholic ethos have shown themselves to be genuinely inclusive of those professing another faith or none, and will continue to do so."
He said the government policy was “fundamentally an ideological Trojans horse.”
“It seeks to undermine the very nature of the Christian catholic vision of education. It is potentially a regressive and undesirable intervention, if it seeks to impose a so called mutual educational vision on the part of the state, when in fact it is anything but mutual.”
The full controversial rule 68 is as follows:
Of all the parts of a school curriculum Religious Instruction is by far the most important, as its subject-matter, God's honour and service, includes the proper use of all man's faculties, and affords the most powerful inducements to their proper use. Religious Instruction is, therefore, a fundamental part of the school course, and a religious spirit should inform and vivify the whole work of the school.
The teacher should constantly inculcate the practice of charity, justice, truth, purity, patience, temperance, obedience to lawful authority, and all the other moral virtues. In this way he will fulfil the primary duty of an educator, the moulding to perfect form of his pupils' character, habituating them to observe, in their relations with God and with their neighbour, the laws which God, both directly through the dictates of natural reason and through Revelation, and indirectly through the ordinance of lawful authority, imposes on mankind."

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