Tag Archives: Catholic



Anything good in the Guardian?

Harriet Sherwood writes:

Ireland’s last census, in 2011, showed a big rise in the numbers of non-Catholics. Although those identifying themselves as Catholic were still the vast majority of the 4.5m population, more than 6% – 277,000 people – described themselves as atheist, agnostic, lapsed or of “no religion”. The number was an increase of almost 50% since the previous census in 2006; the next census, due in April, is expected to show an even bigger rise.

… A few months ago, the archdiocese of Dublin commissioned research from a global consultancy firm, Towers Watson, to forecast the church’s trajectory over the next 15 years. Its findings made bleak reading for the church, which declined to speak about the report to the Guardian.

Attendances at mass are set to fall by a third between now and 2030, on top of a 20% drop between 2008 and 2014. The church can expect to recruit one new priest under the age of 40 each year. As incumbents retire or die, there is likely to be a fall of up to 70% in the number of working priests, and about three-quarters of those remaining in post will be over the age of 60. The church must consider recruiting priests from other countries and encouraging existing priests to work beyond the age of 75, the report said.

Baptisms were predicted to remain stable, but the report noted that this may be explained by “the preference given to children who are baptised when enrolling in Catholic primary schools. If this requirement is removed at any point prior to 2030, we believe there is likely to be a decline in the number of baptisms each year.”

Jodie Neary, the mother of 18-month-old unbaptised twins Evyie and Mia, said: “The school system is the last stronghold of the Catholic church in Ireland, so it’s very important to them. I’ve never considered baptising the girls, but I know people who baptise their children just to make sure they can get into the local school. It’s very common.”

… The Guardian spoke to parents who reported children being assigned prayers for homework, given religiously-themed artwork and reading books, taught creationism on nature walks and enlisted in the construction of “prayer stations” with religious icons on school premises. “It’s hard to challenge this – you don’t want to be the parent who turns up every day to argue with the teachers,” said one.

…[Mike McKillen, 72, who teaches bio-chemistry part-time at Trinity College Dublin said:] “The church is no longer in the ascendant. And once we get a system of education that isn’t dependent on religious patronage, its influence will wane further. There is political momentum on this, and the policy makers cannot ignore it any longer.”

Faith, hope and secularity: Ireland on brink of change as church power wanes (The Guardian)

Related: Carol Hunt: And The Lesson Today

Pic: Gorey Educate Together

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Labour education minister Jan O’Sullivan

Labour education minister Jan O’Sullivan spoke to the Irish Independent yesterday about Catholic schools giving preference to baptised children.

She said:

I don’t think anyone should feel forced to baptise their children, if it is not something that they want. And I don’t think the church want that either.”

The paper reports that her comments prompted the following responses from her Fine Gael colleagues.

“We need to focus on the economy and job creation in the run-up to the election instead of coming up with ideas that are going to ruffle feathers in parts of the Government.”

– Fine Gael Junior Agriculture Minister Tom Hayes

“From an election point of view, now is not the time to have a debate you can’t win because you are not going to make everyone happy by doing it.”

– Fine Gael Cork North West TD Aine Collins

“The problem with enrolment in my constituency relates to bricks and mortar not the signs hanging over the door.”

– Fine Gael Dublin North TD Alan Farrell

There you go now.

FG TDs attack O’Sullivan for criticism over school baptism (Irish Independent)

Previously: Educate And Party Together

Pic: Laura Hutton/Rollingnews.ie




From yesterday’s Sunday Times, Justine McCarthy wrote about the Children’s Ombudsman’s report on alleged physical and sexual abuse at a Co. Kilkenny primary school.

In March 2011, the administration office for the [Stay Safe] programme told the ombudsman’s office it had not provided training at the school since 1993.

The school’s child-abuse prevention policy, which was reviewed in March 2002 and applied at the time of the alleged abuse states: “The Stay Safe programme has been approved by the board of management as a teacher’s aid to be used in accordance with the Catholic ethos which demands that the law of God and of the church, and not the child’s feelings, be the guiding principle.

In 2006, the year the abuse allegations began, a questionnaire was sent to all schools to determine how Stay Safe was being implemented. Had there been any difficulties in implementing it? The school replied “yes”, saying it had “examined it and use only what staff, parents and board deem suitable to [their] ethos“.

There you go now.

Complete Failure (Justine McCarthy, Sunday Times) [behind paywall]