Any colour as long as it is black?

Dr Patrick Walsh, Bishop of Down and Connor has defended the right of parents to choose faith based schools. If the right to choose is the church’s position, why do some priests refuse to even enter integrated schools?

  • slug

    The Catholic church is being arrogant on this. If significant numbers of Catholic parents want to send children to non-Catholic schools, then it seems arrogant of the church to put pressure on priests not to visit.

  • Greenflag

    I suspect one of the reasons is a shortage of priests and the other is no doubt ‘arrogance’.

    The RC Church in Ireland was never short on arrogance when it was top of the heap 1870 to 1975 ? It was also (at least it’s hierarchy) never short on subservience to the British Empire when that stance suited it’s purpose .

    The RC Church is not a democratic organisation just in case there are those RC’s there who happen to believe that it is .

  • William Joyce

    Integrated schools are British schools designed to say the Catholic faith is just one more quaint belief system.
    The self style Church of Ireland is more than happy with the denominaitonal school set up in the South. Of course, the Catholic school system was one of the big brakes on British indoctrination. The religious brotehrs and sisters were Ireland’s true revolutionaries and the Celtic tiger would not have happened without their sacrifices which dwarf those of the Armalite and bottle of Guinness brigade.
    Of course, getting rid of the Catholic schools might help undermine the GAA and end the glorious revolution begun in Hayes’ Hotel all those years ago

  • Conor

    Blame Catholic Schools!

    For making me smarter than you…

    Na, just kidding. Saw that on a t-shirt one time. The time is right for integrated schools. During the Troubles it would have been hard to guarantee a childs safety but I think we’re far enough down the road where things like that shouldn’t be a problem any more (Holy Cross aside).

    Religion should be an optional subject and not based on any one particular faith, but should rather be a study on the institution of religion itself. If parents want to force religion down their kids throats they should do it on their own time with their own pocket.

  • Anna Dale

    As the original post implies, there’s a hypocrisy in the RC Hierarchy’s attitude here.

    Dr Walsh defends the rights of those parents who choose faith-based schools, but those RCs who employ the same right of choice to attend integrated schools are being discriminated against by their church. Why should those children be treated as second-class; does their church regard them as less Christian than their counterparts receiving a “fully catholic education” (whatever that means)?

  • IJP

    The real question is why so many people are unwilling to educate our children properly and let them come to their own conclusions about religion and politics…

    Vested interests? Political power bases? Outright bigotry?

  • “Integrated schools are British schools designed to say the Catholic faith is just one more quaint belief system.”
    Yawn. What always amazes me about some comments on this issue is the lack of awareness people have about integrated schools/education.
    Go visit one some time – even pop your head into the RE classes – and actually get your facts right.

  • George

    I’m definitely in favour of parents having the right to choose how their children are educated.

    That said, wonder what the RC church is doing south of the border in the grey Irish Republic where 100 per cent of the new schools opened last year were integrated.

    Parents in the Republic are choosing alright but the colour isn’t black.

    Sweden is also going towards the Irish Republic model of parental choice and moving away from state control. Within a decade it is hoping to have 50 per cent of school places decided by parental choice.

    If the priests don’t want to visit, who really cares, although it does seem totally contrary to their job, as Anna Dale points out.

    I would like to know if this is just a northern thing.

  • lib2016

    The Catholic church has a long established policy of having it’s own schools and encouraging, not always in an nice way, Catholic parents to send their children to those schools.

    Either you agree with them or you don’t, and I choose not to, but it is pointless to attack them for being what they are. Just as it would be pointless to attack the Church of Ireland for wishing to keep the existing state schools rather than join the push for integrated multidenominational schools.

    If we don’t lift our discussion past Catholic-bashing, or Protestant-bashing for that matter, then we open ourselves to the charge of being merely sectarian.

  • Fergus D

    This is a common topic on slugger isn’t it – faith-based schools, integrated schools and religion in schools.

    Surely the simple answer is that in “integrated” schools religion should be treated as ana academic subject i.e. religious studies. Really it should be part of PPE or PSe or whatever they call it, and religion should be learnt about and discussed alongside other philosophies, politics etc. Catholic priests, CofI vicars, presbyterians revs, imans, rabbis etc can come in to explain their religion, but not to proselytise.

    No worship in school. Kids get their “indoctrination” outside of school – assuming they want it! Simple really.

  • William Joyce

    Fergus: The problem with your 19th century analysis is it allows state wankers call the shots. Imans etc have a world view and their followers want to hand that world view onto their folks. Just as the good residents of the Shankill Road want their little darlings to follow Linfield and Rangers: that is their “culture” and popping into a church, bookie office, or mosque is a part of the entire package.
    Let religion be just another subject? The sociology of religion instead of religion perhaps?
    Give it a few years and things will change just as George suggests “That said, wonder what the RC church is doing south of the border in the grey Irish Republic where 100 per cent of the new schools opened last year were integrated”.

    Perhaps the Poles will save the day when they take over the Irish hierarchy.

  • William Joyce

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/6038306.stm
    Just caight this answer to some of your questions. I prefer Sean Graham’s.

  • Fergus D

    William JOyce “The problem with your 19th century analysis is it allows state wankers call the shots. Imans etc have a world view and their followers want to hand that world view onto their folks. Just as the good residents of the Shankill Road want their little darlings to follow Linfield and Rangers: that is their “culture” and popping into a church, bookie office, or mosque is a part of the entire package.
    Let religion be just another subject? The sociology of religion instead of religion perhaps?”

    Not sure I understand your point. We talking integrated schools here are we not. Don’t parents send their kids to these schools to get away from the mono-culture of faith-based schools? So an integrated school would be expected to expose kids to the views of others. The sociology of religion would be fine IMHO. In the UK and Ro! most peple regard the state as (impefectly) democratic. We can influence what happens in school. “State wankers”, well we elelct them and can get rid of them. The RC church is anything but democratic and even RCs have no influence over the Pope, and very little over the local hierachy.

    If my view is 19th – what is yours? Pre- 1870 education Act (UK)?

  • Alan

    It’s about more than just teaching religion.

    It’s about children having the right to be taught the sacraments where they go to school, rather than where the priest decides that he will let his God go.

    Those are personal things which are close to the hearts of many people whose kids go to integrated schools.

    I hear people say that catholic education is about being raised in a community and that the school should have strong links with the chapel and the GAA pitch etc. That is fine for those who choose it. For those who don’t, the Catholic Church gives a very good impression of rationing grace and excluding catholic children at integrated schools. Perhaps the GAA and other bodies should be reaching out to those children and show the way on this.

    I also heard just last night that some thought the Bain review was not taking this issue by the scruff of the neck. If that is true, it needs to be re-emphasized. If we are not clear that educational restructuring also means prioritising integration, then when the different sectors come to fight against mergers, we will see the easy option of segregation being taken at every turn.

  • Alan

    Also, meant to say congratulations to Maggie Taggart for raising the issue in the mainstream media.

  • Greenflag

    ‘congratulations to Maggie Taggart for raising the issue in the mainstream media. ‘

    I agree .

    On Monday we had the ‘spectacle’ of two of Northern Ireland’s ‘leading’ clergymen getting together with their entourages to discuss not religion but politics ?

    Paisley and Adams might now want to discuss ‘religion’ instead of politics after all they’ve never agreed in 40 years on the latter ?

    On the ‘religious’ agenda could be such topics as

    1) The non democratic nature of the RC Church and it’s discriminatory practice of not allowing women priests as against it’s long standing practice of ‘protecting’ gay and pedophile members of the clergy .

    2) The role of ‘women’ in the Free Presbyterian church and why women are better able to make tea and sandwiches and keep the kitchen cleaner than men .

    Those two alone should keep the pot boiling and a heavy hand on the NI lid for at least another generation .

    Remind me that the next time I need some help with litigation I should visit my accountant and when I need a tooth extracted I’ll just go to the cobblers (if there’s any left )

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Fergus:

    ”No worship in school. Kids get their “indoctrination” outside of school – assuming they want it! Simple really.”

    Well said that man. What exactly is the problem the various faiths have with allowing children to BE children, free from religious baggage? What is the problem with laying out the religious options on a table at a suitable age and arguing the merits of each?
    We thankfully don’t have ‘political’ schools run by Sinn Fein or the Tories — we assume that people can make their own choices based on merit rather than family tradition or indoctrination. We don’t have schools exclusively geared towards particular career choices. So why have them geared around one particular faith?
    As far as ‘parental choice’ is concerned — I’d rather like to send my kids to a grammar school. Problem anyone?

  • circles

    GlvC “We thankfully don’t have ‘political’ schools run by Sinn Fein or the Tories” – I think we don’t need to limit this to any particular party.

    While Bishop Walsh can defend parents rights to whatever (although theoretically at least, as a bishop he shouldn’t really have a clue about how parents actually think), its only his “slightly” biased opinion. Catholic schools are in his interest – get them young, get them scared and bind them tight to the flock.

    He can say what he wants, but in this instance any half-wit knows this is hardly an impartial judgement call by the man in red (or is that purple).

  • George

    Gerry lvs Castro,
    Off you go and send them to a grammar school but don’t force others to send their children to one.

    We’ve gone through this one before and from what I see the argument against allowing parental choice is that you don’t like the decisions some parents make. Well tough.

    If parents want their children to be educated in a religious environment, that is their choice.

    I say state provides FOR education, you say state provides education.

    I believe the Irish Republic has it right with the provide for model.

    Sweden is going in the same direction at a rapid rate to improves standards and I wouldn’t be surprised if in the years to come other democratic countries don’t join up.

    Parental choice is not about faith schools or indoctrination, it’s about choice.

    If choice leads to indoctrination, why are 100% of the south’s new schools integrated?

  • McGrath

    The American public system, apart from the kids shooting each other and the teachers not educating the children, is perfect.

    Such superstitious nonsense has no place in school. Parents wishing to indoctrinate their children in such superstitious nonsense need to do so on their own time. But, there in lies the problem, why should they when they can get the state to do it for them?

    I suspect that if “Religion” wasn’t taught in school, it would not be taught at all, especially at home.

  • Puzzled Jackeen

    The state should be as neutral as possible – if religious studies are in school they should be of the form “Members of this faith believe this, members of that faith believe that”.

    As for the priests not entering schools – I’m not sure if this is due to a falling number of clergy only going to schools where they think a minimum number of Catholic pupils are or something else.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Hello George
    Yes we’ve already been all round the houses on this one.
    My point about grammar schools is that (in the UK at least), I won’t have the choice. Grammar schools are a no-no — you can’t select on academic ability any more, but you can select on the grounds of religious dogma.

  • George

    Gerry,
    not well up on the UK education system, I’m afraid, although I did read that the Conservatives are being lobbied to move towards the choice route.

    I would say that this is one of the perils of state-run education, you aren’t in control. They choose for you.

    Schools should be allowed stream if they want, religiously, by specific subject performance, linguistically, culturally, by methodology or whatever.

    As long as certain educational standards are met, of course.

  • barnshee

    “That said, wonder what the RC church is doing south of the border in the grey Irish Republic where 100 per cent of the new schools opened last year were integrated”

    Hilarious! with a population -what 96/97% catholic ?– “100 per cent” of schools are integrated ??? ha ah aha
    You could not make it up

  • Fergus D

    Well we have discussed the issue of faith-based schools before. My view is that the state collects our taxes and the state should provide an education to all kids based on principles we all can agree on. Which means a secular education in largely secular countries like the Britain (maybe not NI) and increasingly the RoI. we could go on with this but….

    The thread was about INTEGRATED schools in NI and the involevement of lack of it of RC clergy. Surely, if parents send their kids to integrated schools, which appears to be unusual in NI (not so elsewhere in the UK), then they do it for a reason. For kids to learn about themuns? For kids to make friends with themuns? Because the parents don’t want religion in schools? Of all places religious observance and instruction should be kept out surely it should be integrated schools. Discussion yes, indocrination no.

    Of course I think the same about all schools.

    If the USA can see this (part of its dissenting tradition?) why can’t we?!

    My kids hated RE in school and resented any enforced religious observance. It’s actually the non-religious in the UK that are descrimiunated against. 1944 Education Act etc. We really should do something about it!

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”Hilarious! with a population -what 96/97% catholic ?– “100 per cent” of schools are integrated ???”

    Oh come on Barnshee — it’s barely 92%.

    Mind you, makes you think — a religious institution responsible for worldwide paedophilia, covered up, moved around and openly tolerated for decades, if not centuries, and 92% of the population are still happy to identify with it! Makes you wonder why Gary Glitter’s fan club isn’t burgeoning doesn’t it?
    You might want to entrust your kids to this lot — I’ll give it a miss if it’s all the same to you.

  • Fergus D

    Gerry Lvs Castro:

    “Mind you, makes you think—a religious institution responsible for worldwide paedophilia, covered up, moved around and openly tolerated for decades, if not centuries, and 92% of the population are still happy to identify with it! Makes you wonder why Gary Glitter’s fan club isn’t burgeoning doesn’t it? ”

    Cripes – I hadn’t thought of that! Actually Catholic priests should be banned from state schools. I’m serious, there is a good chance they pose a physical risk to the kids. And certainly an intellectual one. Still that applies to any peddlar of religion.

    I try and not let my irritation at religion get out, and keep calm, but sometimes the enormity of the silliness just gets to me….

    I suspect that the 92-100% catholics in the RoI are comprised of a large number of the “cultural” variety. After all, the majority of Brits would say they are christian, even CofE, but we know only a tiny minority ever see the inside of a church, open a bible, say a prayer or do anything remotely religious. And that goes for a lot who send their kids to faith schools as well. There is a lot of hypocrisy in this area of life.

    To reiterate – Integrated schools in NI should be religion free zones surely.

  • Greenflag on Oct 11, 2006 @ 10:43 AM wrote “The RC Church is not a democratic organisation just in case there are those RC’s there who happen to believe that it is . “

    Well done Einstein… it’s not supposed to be a democracy it’s a religion.

    Catholicism is based on a hierarchy from the Pope to the Cardinals to the Bishops and then Priests (basically). Democracy should be the electoral process and the society that we live in; religion is a different kettle of fish altogether. The Catholic religion has rules and regulations (don’t all religions) which recommend that parishioners ask their children to attend local Catholic schools. If you don’t then don’t come back crying that your children don’t get to see the Priest but once a week on the altar. You want to be a Catholic then be one there’s no such thing as “kinda Catholic when it suits for the fancy weddings and funerals that they put on…I just love the smell of incense and the robes and songs are very theatrical”

    Thems the rules… you don’t like ‘em then tough… you can’t have your cake and eat it.

    If you want participation in the parish then become a lay member of the church… every church has a bunch of committees which you can join and get the inside track. You want to vote on who should become the parish priest or moderator… then become a Presbyterian, Methodist etc.

    Fair Deal, thanks for your interest in a religion that I assume is not your own. Congrats on maintaining this topical interest as well as your busy GAA schedule and observations / comments – a true Catholic Gael misplaced thro Brit intervention !?!? LOL.

    Me: I’m not a strong adherent to the Catholic religion but I guess I try. I have no involvement in the Church but I just think the original postings and subsequent ramblings need to be countered as they were mischievous and the usual Sick Cos religion knocking.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”I suspect that the 92-100% catholics in the RoI are comprised of a large number of the “cultural” variety.”

    I would say you’re right Fergus. Mass attendance in the black north has consistently outstripped the grey south, which I suppose goes to prove that when a ‘faith’ is under threat, it gets bums on seats. Witness the flocking of the faithful US fundamentalists back to their temples of apocalypse after 9/11.
    However it has to be said that any non-religious organisation producing even a fraction of the scandals that have engulfed the RC church would have been despatched to the dustbin of disgust years ago. It’s a funny old world.

  • “.. organisation producing even a fraction of the scandals that have engulfed the RC church would have been despatched to the dustbin of disgust years ago. “

    doesn’t this go to show the strength of the Catholic religion? As a Catholic let me say “thanks for the support for my religious beliefs” and your continued interest in said religion that has kept you posting on this thread so much today. It’s so good that you maintain your interest in Catholicism in light of the tough times it has gone thro and especially in NI where it wasn’t considered “official” religion for so many years.

    It’s people like you who give Catholicism it’s depth and strength knowing that any issue like the one highlighted by Fair Deal will always be discussed to the fullest on a public forum. You, like St. Peter, the first Pope (pre – Reformation, you know), are a rock. On behalf of all Catholics may I applaud you in reinforcing Catholics commitment to their beliefs, especially in the Sick Cos.

  • Hercules

    Going way back to the first post and the reasons suggested.

    [quote]It’s about children having the right to be taught the sacraments where they go to school, rather than where the priest decides that he will let his God go. [/quote]

    And re integrated schools,in the early days, that I have knowledge of, priests were offered full access, re preparation for the sacraments but they dared not go against the then bishop’s views. But there was also another and perhaps more important reason from the RC perspective, falling school rolls, through demographic trends.

    Giving their blessing, so to speak, to Integrated Schools would have accelerated the closure of Catholic schools.

  • Greenflag

    Anonymous ,

    ‘ I’m not a strong adherent to the Catholic religion but I guess I try.’

    So you don’t know the words to that great old Irish street ballad

    “Come all ye roman catholics that never go to mass ‘?

    For any remaining rocks out there this might raise a smile 🙂

    The Cork comedian Niall Toibin (Neil Tobin) said he was still a devout Roman Catholic or at least tried to be . He admitted it was a bit depressing going to Church for Mass and seeing the empty pews with just a few oul stragglers here and there, in what would have been a full house 10 or 15 years ago . Not only were there few people but those who had hair were mostly grey , or white or were bald . Others sported hearing aids , zimmer frames and a few were in wheelchairs .

    due to a shortage of clergy they had roped in an older retired priest who had just returned to Ireland after 34 years out in Australia . This was a man who thought it was still the same country he had left in 1972 . His sermon was on the subject of ‘Sex outside marriage ‘. He droned on for 20 minutes and finally stopped when he noticed the glazed look of a supreme disinterest on the faces of his geriatric audience .

    On his way out of the church , Niall heard two oul Dublin women in their sixties nattering away . The part he overheard went something like this .

    Mary,

    ‘Jayziz where do dey dig dem up dem priests . I ask ye -sex outside marriage ?

    Sheila ,

    ‘ Where else does the feckin eejit think we’d get it ‘

  • rapunsel

    Fergus

    I think I’m with you. I am sending our children to an integrated school and would rather that no priests or ministers of religion of any hue attend to deliver any form of religious instruction to children. Tne main problem with integrated schools as I se eit is that they are not secular but are very much in the christian tradition. Religion should remain a matter for parents and should be kept out of schools apart from teaching children of the concept and variety of the belief systems that exist here and elsewhere.

  • William Joyce

    Gerry: However it has to be said that any non-religious organisation producing even a fraction of the scandals that have engulfed the RC church would have been despatched to the dustbin of disgust years ago.
    Gerry, if you are referring to the abuse of children by Catholic relgious, I am not sure you are right. Anyone involved with kids has to be watched for signs of abuse and I would imaginew swimming is not the only sport child abuse was rife in. The secretive nature of priests fuelled the problem. Groups like the Christian Brothers have passed their sell by dates. Different problems will emerge with integrated schools.
    In the case of the Christian Brothers at Artane, one third of the kids would be total crazies and would have been left alone. The nutty brothers would have targeted the vulnerable. The vulnerable will awlays be targeted.

  • did you hear the one about… who gives a damn about an irrelevant attempt at a joke. When were the churches ever full to the brim… not since I was a child and that’s a long time ago. Isn’t a church better off with less numbers and more devout / dedicated member of the congregation? Most of the big Catholic churches were built when the religion had been freed with Catholic Emancipation (thank you Mr D. O’Connell). The buildings were probably full to the brim then but it should only be expected that the attendence would slacken.

    Would the knockers of the Catholic religion like to remumerate the Church for the free education they received from the Brothers, Nuns and Priests. (I understand that salaries were paid by Govmt but these were minimal and the infrastructure was establish for the Govmt by the Church). It’s too easy to knock the Church that’s why I won’t go with the flow.

    Neither King nor Kaiser nor Crozier and that’s the way it should be.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    william: ”The vulnerable will awlays be targeted.”

    That’s precisely why vulnerable children need to be protected from predatory paedophiles, many of whom apparently joined the RC church in the full knowledge that the secretive and unquestioning nature of the organisation would allow them to operate with virtual impunity.
    My point above regarding non-religious organisations is valid in that any such organisation displaying widespread abuse of children be torn apart by the authorities, ostracised by any right thinking parents and forced to adhere to strict codes of conduct in the event of their particular activity being able to continue. The fact that little or none of this has occured in the case of the RC church speaks volumes of many people’s attitude to religious institutions against say swimming clubs or pop singers. My question is why this should be.

    Anonymous:

    ‘Is church better off with less numbers and more devout / dedicated member of the congregation?’

    In fairness this does appear to be the current fall-back position of the Vatican — a kind of face-saving, damage limitation exercise. Quite frankly after the vile and seemingly endless catalogue of abuse perpetrated and covered up by supposedly moral men, the church should be thankful they have any members at all.

    You appear to be a staunch defender of the indefensible. If you have children of your own, you might like to reflect for a moment on your reaction to learning that their priest had abused those closest to you and his superiors had merely moved him to another parish to prey on other innocent children, many of whom are psychologically scarred for life. We’re not talking a few ‘bad apples’ here — we’re talking in hundreds. How can you possibly trust such an organisation?


    doesn’t this go to show the strength of the Catholic religion?”

    The Catholic church is run by men anonymous. If those men are corrupt to the point of tacitly condoning abuse of the most vulnerable in their care, they are not acting in the name of any religion — they are acting to satisfy their own desires and protect their positions of power.
    If this is religion, do you really want to be part of it?

  • Ermintrude

    I went to integrated primary and secondary schools. The local priest refused to let the children from catholic families who went to our primary school make their first holy communion along with all the other kids from the area. In our small town, ‘first communion day’ was a big deal for the catholic community, and a handful of seven-year-olds being excluded from it and made to go through this rite of passage alone was a sad sight. The parents of these children were not just ‘cultural’ catholics, but people of real faith who were active members of the church when they were allowed to be. Only in the last few years, as it has become clear that the integrated school is not going away and catholic parents are not going to be intimidated out of it, have the catholic pupils been let celebrate together with others from the area.

    I think the degree to which integrated schools are “in the Christian tradition” probably varies according to the particular ethos of the staff, but as a devout atheist I never felt sidelined at mine. In assembly we would be asked to “pray or reflect”, and I was happy with that.

  • Greenflag

    Anonymous,

    ‘It’s too easy to knock the Church that’s why I won’t go with the flow. ‘

    Keeping your head in the sand won’t make things any better . With an attitude like that you must be a Unionist even if an RC one 🙁

    Here’s some more fresh ‘revelations’ today for the knock the Church brigade 🙁 Makes the pair of Florida Father Ted’s and their 8.5 million heist look like juvenile delinquency 🙁

    IOWA CITY, Iowa – After paying out more than $10.5 million to resolve dozens of sex abuse claims and now facing a new set of lawsuits, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

    The move Tuesday makes the diocese – with more than 105,000 parishioners – the fourth in the nation to seek financial protection to deal with priest sex abuse cases.

    Bishop William Franklin said the diocese was left with no other alternative and the move would ensure the financial health of the church.

    “The decision to reorganize is the best way in which we will be able to continue the Church’s mission,” Franklin wrote in a letter to members posted on the diocese Web site.

    Since 2004, the diocese has paid more than $10.5 million to resolve dozens of claims filed against priests, including a $9 million settlement reached with 37 victims in fall 2004. Since then, the diocese or former priests under its supervision have been held liable by juries in civil trials.

    But the decision to file for bankruptcy now is being driven by a new set of claims aimed at the diocese and retired Bishop Lawrence Soens, church officials and others say.

    Soens, who served as Bishop in Sioux City in northwest Iowa, has been accused of misconduct by as many as 15 former students during his tenure as priest and principal at a Catholic high school in Iowa City during the 1960s.

    Soens, who retired in 1998, denies the allegations.

    Diocese Spokesman Deacon David Montgomery said the diocese is aware of 25 pending sexual abuse claims against former priests, but others may be forthcoming.

    The first of three trials involving Soens and the diocese was scheduled to begin Oct. 23, but a victims’ lawyer said it likely will be dismissed in light of the bankruptcy filing.

    “I think it’s a sad day for victims of clergy abuse in the Davenport Diocese as well as its parishioners,” said the lawyer, Craig Levien. “I believe it’s just an unnecessary step … with the real purpose being an effort to try and eliminate future responsibility.”

    The Davenport diocese now joins Portland, Ore., Spokane, Wash., and Tucson, Ariz., seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, in which a court supervises the reorganization of the diocese’s contractual and debt obligations.

    The costs of the Catholic abuse crisis nationwide have risen to about $1.5 billion since 1950, according to studies released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    PS . IIRC the RC Church in Ireland were initially very hostile to the Irish Government’s move to introduce free access to second level education in the Republic in the mid 1960’s . But fair play to Donough O’Malley who stood up to the crozier brigade and forced through the change.

    PPS . As to the contribution made by generations of brothers and nuns and priests to Irish education over the past century or more I believe we can hold that ‘contribution’ in the highest regard while at the same time lambasting the Hierarchy of the RC Church for covering up the child abuse crimes by some clergy and brothers/nuns.

  • William Joyce

    Ermintrude: What school did you go to? I would quip that you have the “faith of our father’s holy faith” but that is an English song.
    Gerry: methinks you do protest too much. The Catholicism of days gone by was a cultural Catholicism. Most priests/brothers joined up because they were dragooned into it at an early age. Or they were the third dones of small famers with no hope of getting the land and too low a sperm count ot make it into the Gardai. Interesting that so many Civil war veterans had relatives who took orders. And, here’s one to get the Kincora brigade smirking: there has been a “proud” history of IRA volunteers taking holy orders. Pirais O Duill, the Capuchin, is one such but there were others.

    To say the Catholic church is a church of sinners is an understatement. It was an institution where abuse, sexual and otherwise, was as rife as it is in Sinn Fein, sporting bodies or any group with a power structure and where delegation of the vulnerable happens.
    Have a look at the nuns. To become a teaching nun, you had to pay a fee. Otherwuse it was latrine duty. Nuns currently recruit in the Philippines and send their captives to Sicily to make comunion wafers. Could they not get a Sicilian baker to do that?
    When crazy people and religion mix, beware the ocnsequences.

  • Shuggie McSporran

    Anonymous

    “Would the knockers of the Catholic religion like to remumerate the Church for the free education they received from the Brothers, Nuns and Priests…”

    I get the jist of what you are saying but it ignores an important point – the parents and wider community of the majority of people who have received a catholic education in Northern since 1921 contributed a considerable proportion for the cost of it out of their own pockets.

    It’s only relatively recently that catholic education became fully funded by the state

    Everybody knows Lord Craigantlet wanted to educate all the kids together back in the 1920’s. The catholic church was willing to pay for it’s own seperate education, but the money to pay for it came from the pockets of catholic parents and parishioners.

    It could even be argued that for most of the existence of Northern Ireland catholic education was never state funded. That’s because most of the curriculum taught in catholic schools was/is exactly the same as in state schools, but the shortfall in state funding, made up catholic parents, covered the catholic ethos bits.

    This thought particularly occured to me a few years ago when the Catholic church sold the prominent site in Rathcoole that had previously housed three catholic schools (but which had long lain empty due to the campaign of genocide and ethnic cleansing carried out in the area) to retail developers.

    My sister attended one of those schools and my parents, like every other parent, contributed to it directly out of their own pockets but I don’t remember anyone offering them a return from the price that the site was eventually sold for.

  • Ermintrude

    William Joyce:
    All Children’s (yeah, horribly twee name) and Shimna College

  • micheal

    Hey priest, leave those kids alone.

  • William Joyce

    Michael: That’s very witty. I recall an Anglican vicar at Chrsit Church in Dublin phoning up the Joe Duffy show about the verbal and physical abuse collared priests suffer from Dublin’s “Concerned Citizens”. He himself was sbused by gentlemen thinking he was a priest. Nice company to be in.

  • Greenflag

    william joyce

    ‘When crazy people and religion mix, beware the consequences.

    There have always been ‘crazy people’ in all religions . This does not mean that all religious people are ‘crazy’ . What you call the ‘consequences’ by which I assume you mean wars, conflict, societies divided by sectarianism etc arises when the ‘crazies’ become the leaders of a particular religion or sect and at the same time also become ‘political ‘ leaders with the power to ‘infidelise’ other population groups either within or without the State in which they operate .

    We are all aware of the ‘intolerance’ of the medieval Roman Catholic church and how it used it’s political influence to appoint and ‘legitimise’ Emperors and Kings in the iddle ages . We see today in many areas of the Islamic world the same tie in of absolute religious certainty among some politicians e.g the current leader of Iran , the ‘mad’ mullahs of the Taliban etc . We have seen how the ‘absolute ‘power hierarchy within the RC Church has hidden the crimes of large numbers of clergy .

    In Northern Ireland it’s obvious that a lot of people who have seen Paisley’s absolute and uncompromising ‘faith’ for the past 40 years and his utter conviction that the RC Church is the embodiment of all evil, as a good enough reason to vote for the DUP .

    So who should people ‘beware’ ?

    1) Those who believe in their own ‘religion’ with such utter certainty that they have God on ‘their side’ and seek political power so that they can implement God’s (their God of course)rule on earth.

    2)People should beware of themselves. There’s no harm in having ‘religious’ faith . In small doses it may even function as ‘arsenic’ . In large doses as with the Taliban and Paisleyite varieties it also function as ‘arsenic’ and drives societies into a spiral of sectarian and political conflict without end .

    After 40 years of Paisleyism you might think that people would have learnt ?

    Not so . Even in Afghanistan there are now growing numbers of people who still believe in the way of the Taliban – yes -even women 🙁

    All you need is enough fear and ignorance plus a charismatic political and/or religious zealot and the right political or economic circumstances and the large dose of arsenic will be sitting in the First Ministers or Ayatollah’s chair .

  • Alan

    Personally, I have sympathy with the secularists in all this. However, my head tells me that if you don’t recognise people’s belief systems in schools you risk alienating them.

    Integrated Schools were set up to end that alienation. That is why there is provision for the teaching of denominational, non denominational and secular forms of Belief/ religious education.

    I think that it is unfortunate that many integrated schools were set up as christian schools. Most of the drive for that seems to have come from the early days of the movement.

    Talking to many of the founding governors of Lagan College, they were all christians with strong beliefs. They either worked out or were informed that they would get nothing but opposition from the Catholic church if they set up as secular schools. the die was therefore cast and led to the first split within the movement.

  • William Joyce

    Afghanistan and Myanmar are very multi cultural. It is easy for manipulator to press the right buttons. I would not describe Paisley, or Martin Luther for that matter as religious people but as politicians. It’s easy to blame Popes for Medieval wars. Were all the soldiers and officers priests? Why, in the wars of the Reformation, did Protestant princes have Catholic armies and Catholic princes have Protestant ones? Maybe politics and politicians had something to do with it?
    If you ever read The Gulag, you can see why most Orthodox priests collaborated with Stalin, who didn’t suffer fools too gladly.
    I wonder what form of intolerance will replace religious intolerance in the 6 cos and what part so called integrated schools will play in same. Maybe, in a few years’ time, when the geriatric wards are full of abandoned grannies we will know. Until then, we have Stan.

  • Fergus D

    Greenflag: “There have always been ‘crazy people’ in all religions . This does not mean that all religious people are ‘crazy’ .”

    Unless you take the view that anyone who believes in a supernatural all knowing all seeing being, life (!) after death, angels, devils, limbo (ah no – I think that has been abolished – where have all the little babies gone?!), purgatory, heaven hell etc, etc – all without a shred of evidence must be crazy!

    But to return to the original post. I would have thought that the safest, most concensual poicy to have for integrated schools is no religion in school. Nothing to stop religious observance out of school. Why should kids in school have to have regious teaching and observance? I don’t have it at work – do you? Does the priest/iman/rabbi come to your place of work to preach to you? Does your employer set aside a time in the day for this? Are you allowed paid time off to attend religious ceremonies? I doubt it. Do you demand/want it? I haven’t heard a clamour. So why should kids in school have it, or have it foisted on them? Can’t they go six and a half hours without religion?

    Presumably parents who send their kids to an integrated school don’t want a Catholic/Protestant ethos to pervade the school. How the hell doe a Catholic/Protestant ethos change the teaching of maths, english, french etc (OK science could be a problem, which is scary if teh science being taught in faith schools is different).

    Just give ’em a good secular education we can all agree on and leave the rest to home it’s simple.

  • Greenflag

    williamjoyce,

    ‘I wonder what form of intolerance will replace religious intolerance in the 6 cos’

    Why should there be any replacement ?

    ‘what part so called integrated schools will play in teaching religious intolerance ‘

    None I’d have thought . I presume those who started these schools are ‘moderates’ of the live and let live ilk .

  • Greenflag

    Fergus D,

    I agree with your overall position . from the point of view of the ‘religious ‘ schools they or more accurately their churches operate on the basis that if you don’t ‘brainwash’ the children early enough just about around the time they stop believing in fairy tales it will be impossible ‘brainwash’ them later in life . It’s a well established fact that people who have had no ‘exposure’ to doctrinal religion in early childhood have a major problem in ‘converting ‘ to faith later in life .

    Holding on to as much of market share is what denominational education and thus catholic only or protestant only schools are all about.

    ‘ Just give ‘em a good secular education we can all agree on and leave the rest to home it’s simple. ‘

    Sounds simple and sensible . However both protestant and catholic clergy might actually have to do some work outside of normal school hours and at a time and place that they might find inconvenient.

    Secondly the clergy don’t trust parents to provide the proper quality of ‘indoctrination’ in the home .

    Alan I think hits the right note in what would appear to be practically possible for NI conditions at this time .

    If it were just ‘religion’ there would be less of a problem IMO . The political background radiation noise cannot be ignored as a factor in NI no matter how much we may wish to pretend it doe’snt matter .

  • willis

    Ok ok Great thread so far buuuuut.

    I have learned a few things on this thread.

    Thank you Ermintrude.

    However one question asked (ish) early on was

    “Are things different in the grey South?”

    Once you remove the Political/cultural baggage is it possible that the Holy Catholic Church can do business with Integrated/Interdenominational schools?

    C’mon, you know where you live.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Greenflag: “There have always been ‘crazy people’ in all religions . This does not mean that all religious people are ‘crazy’ .”

    Sadly I have had considerable experience of religious people down the years, and I can broadly group them in three sections:

    1. The ‘learned it by rote’ brigade. Brought up with it, went to school with it. It’s second nature and not something you question or rave about. It’s just there.
    On the surface this group are fairly harmless. Many will refer to themselves as being ‘lapsed’. Underneath they’re deeply tribalist and feel that any attack on their faith is a personal attack on them. Whether or not they are regular attenders at mass, church or mosque, they remain indelibly stamped with their tribal marking.

    2. The ‘late convert’ brigade. These people have generally had little or no experience of religion in their formative years, but ‘discover’ religious faith later in life through marriage, peer group or a life-changing event. They tend to over-compensate for their ‘former life’ by seeking to convert everyone in sight to their exciting new findings. This group tends to be more suggestible to extreme ideas.

    3. The complete fanatic. Driven by an insatiable urge to ‘live’ their faith, these people are often relatively normal on first meeting, but tend to be obsessive to the point of mania in matters of religion. They refuse to acknowledge any other viewpoint, see their holy book as being infallible and impose their particular ‘moral code’ on their immediate family and anyone else within their sphere of influence. I have personally encountered fanatics in the RC, Protestant and Muslim faiths, and they represent the ultimate, perhaps logical conclusion of that strange phenomenon called religious belief.

    Whether all religious people are ‘crazy’ is a highly debatable point. Having had regular experience of an individual with acute paranoid schziophrenia, I was struck by the similarities of the more bizarre psychological aspects of their condition with the unquestioning spiritual ideas of the religious.
    Obviously this is itself proves nothing, but several scientific studies have suggested that religious experiences can be induced by manipulating various parts of the brain, as indeed of course can mind-altering drugs.

    None of this is intended to suggest that all religious people are ‘crazy’, but it is rather puzzling that ‘miracles’, prophets and intense religious experiences such as documented visions have almost entirely ceased since the early centuries AD. It must be remembered that a vivid dream in biblical times could be interpreted as a vision from God, a natural phenomenon such as a flood or earthquake was considered to be aimed at ‘sinful’ mankind rather than being a random occurence and that organised religion was a highly effective tool in controlling an often lawless and volatile population with promise of cake tomorrow for good behaviour today.

    Rather like alcohol, religious belief is relatively harmless and can even be beneficial in small doses. However, when it begins to seep into government, schools and hospitals and forms itself into a world-view, as in violent Islam or fundamentalist Christianity, it becomes a malevolence that is closed to reason.
    In my view, it is the duty of government to ensure that all religious belief is kept well away from the statute book, and that men, women and sexual minorities are given equal standing in all matters. Children should be allowed to be children, and the classroom is not the place for dispensing one-sided religious dogma. If the chosen ‘faith’ of the parents is really as strong as their church leaders would contend, there is nothing to be lost in providing all children with a well-rounded secular education and allowing them to experience religious ‘instruction’ outside school premises.

  • Fergus D

    Greenflag: ” agree with your overall position . from the point of view of the ‘religious ‘ schools they or more accurately their churches operate on the basis that if you don’t ‘brainwash’ the children early enough just about around the time they stop believing in fairy tales it will be impossible ‘brainwash’ them later in life . It’s a well established fact that people who have had no ‘exposure’ to doctrinal religion in early childhood have a major problem in ‘converting ‘ to faith later in life “.

    Well that’s their (the churches) problem which the state shouldn’t help them with. I admit I do cleave to the republican (as in 1789 etc) view that the state should be resolutely secular and that extend state funded and supported education.

    Greenflag “If it were just ‘religion’ there would be less of a problem IMO . The political background radiation noise cannot be ignored as a factor in NI no matter how much we may wish to pretend it doe’snt matter .”

    That’s clearly what makes this so much more of an issue in NI compared to other parts of the UK. State funded faith based schools should never have been allowed in the UK in the first place and Blair and “New Labour” should never have encouraged them – they might have faded away. Now we have state funded secondary schools set up by creationist fundamentalits. What a mess.

    As for the RoI, I suppose I just hope the general decline in religios belief will force a change. I used to think it would require a radical anti-clerical campaign to rid Ireland of its catholic obscurantism, but maybe that’s not necessary.

    Gerry Lvs Castro: I agree!

  • Greenflag on Oct 12, 2006 @ 12:03 AM wrote “Keeping your head in the sand won’t make things any better . With an attitude like that you must be a Unionist even if an RC one 🙁 “

    No. Having the opposite opinion from yours doesn’t mean I keep my head in the sand but I have the ability to form my own opinion independently rather than your ability to rush to conform to prevailing views. Go with the flow if you wish leaving you a parrot of the establishment…rather like…?

    “Here’s some more fresh ‘revelations’ today…” WTF does that have to do with integrated schools in NI or is it an attempt to support you ingrained opinion of the Catholic Church.

    “…fair play to Donough O’Malley who stood up to the crozier brigade and forced through the change. “ Which agrees with my earlier posting of “Neither King nor Kaiser nor crozier” but that seems to have slipped from you radar – try putting down that tar brush and read what I post.

    “…I believe we can hold that ‘contribution’ in the highest regard while at the same time lambasting …” ditto and again watch out for the tar brush against my postings.

    Anything back on my earlier posting of “Well done Einstein… it’s not supposed to be a democracy it’s a religion….” or are you hoping to just ignore my points and they’ll go away?

    Gerry Lvs Castro on Oct 11, 2006 @ 11:42 PM wrote ” You appear to be a staunch defender of the indefensible. “ I think that the sum of the religion is greater than the sum of the individuals (not taking into consideration the % of criminal in the sum of individuals). YOU seem to knock everything about Catholicism if you think this most numerous of Christian religions which survived since the beginning of the calendar and (form a localized viewpoint) survived systematic and officially supported discrimination in the Sick Cos, is going to fall from the behavior of some degenerates.

    “If you have children of your own…” watch you don’t make this personalized or I’ll rip you a -fucking -sunder (verbally speaking, of course)

    “…many of whom are psychologically scarred for life. We’re not talking a few ‘bad apples’ here—we’re talking in hundreds. How can you possibly trust such an organisation? “ the perpetrators should have been treated exactly like any other similar criminal. Those that didn’t expose them should have been dealt with both by the civil authorities and also by the Church. Therefore the hierarchy has a lot to answer for… but the Catholic religion isn’t to blame. The fools that headed the Church in Irel for the last number of decades are to blame for a lot of the problems but the Church and the beliefs will remain. Not with as many in the congregation and always with run-of-the-mill, go-with-the-flow snipers like you parroting the knockers.

    “The Catholic church is run by men… corrupt to the point of tacitly condoning abuse of the most vulnerable in their care, they are not acting in the name of any religion” here we differ. It’s run by highly honourable and decent members of the hierarchy. A number have disgraced themselves and the Church. You paint the Church with the same tar brush as those who committed the crime. I’d like to think that I can see thro the headlines, understanding that your simplistic view can’t and so I support the Church while you look to bash the Church while it’s down. Knocking something when it’s down isn’t a proud stance in life!

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Anonymous:
    ”the Catholic religion isn’t to blame. The fools that headed the Church in Irel for the last number of decades are to blame for a lot of the problems but the Church and the beliefs will remain.”

    It may have escaped your notice but the clergy child abuse scandals have been a worldwide phenomenon. Clearly ‘fools’ have headed the church worldwide.

    ”YOU seem to knock everything about Catholicism if you think this most numerous of Christian religions which survived since the beginning of the calendar…”

    I hardly think longevity equates with decency, otherwise prostitution would be the noblest of professions.
    You paint the Church with the same tar brush as those who committed the crime.

    ”Knocking something when it’s down isn’t a proud stance in life! ”

    If it’s any consolation I’ve been knocking organised religion for longer than the recent RC abuse scandals.