It is in this context that Catholic Schools Week gives us the fresh opportunity to acknowledge the contribution that Catholic primary and post-primary schools make to Irish society by inviting young people to model their lives on the values of Jesus Christ as found in the Gospels.
Last year marked a very successful beginning of an all-Ireland celebration of Catholic Schools Week and we hope this year to build on that foundation and continue to create a space where we can articulate the ethos and identity of Catholic schools.
‘The values of Jesus Christ as found in the Gospels’ me hole. Some of the biggest crooks and liars of this country went to Catholic schools. Especially to the exclusive Catholic schools for the rich, where they learned manipulative strategies for dominating people. Read the Murphy report: ‘the authorities in the Archdiocese of Dublin and the religious orders who were dealing with complaints of child sexual abuse were all very well educated people. Many had qualifications in canon law and quite a few also had qualifications in civil law. This makes their claims of ignorance very difficult to accept’. Just as those people were the products of the Catholic schools system, you can be damned sure that plenty of others who didn’t join religious orders have been educated to be adept at the same sort of crack in a secular context.
As for O’Reilly’s claim that the Catholic church does not ‘control’ schools. Perhaps the question should not be on the degree to which the Church intervenes in the running of schools day-to-day, but the amount of power concentrated in Catholic institutions by comparison with other schools. Apart from the matter of the Catholic fee-paying schools dedicated to the cultivation of a power elite, here’s a thought: take a look at new school buildings erected for non-Catholic institutions in the last 20 years and compare them with the schools already in existence that belong to Catholic schools. How do they compare in terms of available space, location in relation to where people live, play facilities, and so on. My bet is that they come off pretty badly. Opinions to the contrary welcomed.