St Mary’s: Accommodation or Integration?

At the heart of the debate on the future of St Mary’s College is a wider one about the future of education in Northern Ireland. How do we want our children to be educated? Do we want a system that prioritises parental choice between different sectors or one that maximises opportunities for children from different backgrounds to learn together? A number of recent developments highlight a lack of unified education planning by the Executive.

Last Friday the DUP launched its new education policy which endorses shared education and proposes a single education sector that treats all of the different sectors equally. This would accommodate maintained schools and remove the favoured legislative status of the integrated and Irish-medium sectors. Integrated education schools must have a minimum of 30% pupils from each side of the traditional divide, whereas in shared education schools there is no such obligation but opportunities to meet children from across the divide are encouraged. The DUP see shared education as a stepping stone to integrated education yet, it is unclear how much, or how little, sharing constitutes shared education and therefore how much young people across Northern Ireland will benefit.

John O’Dowd has pushed through the creation of Coláiste Dhoire, a new post-primary Irish-medium school in Dungiven, against the advice of his Department. Sinn Féin have argued that the Irish-medium sector is underserved at post-primary level and parents should have greater choice. Unionists today cited the Department’s advice that the school’s enrolment would “not reach sustainable levels in the medium term, if ever.” Given the current economic climate, expenditure on schools that do not meet departmental guidelines will inevitably be scrutinised.

The case of St Mary’s is rather different. St Mary’s is widely regarded as an excellent institution and is certainly sustainable in terms of enrolment. In a Departmental briefing, Brian McFall, Director of Finance and Administration for St Mary’s, asserted that there is no evidence challenging the viability of the college, provided that the college’s current funding streams and student numbers are maintained, as is the case for any publicly funded college. One funding stream that is vital to the college is the small and specialist institution premia worth £1.1 million a year.

In the 2015/16 DEL draft budget, Minister Stephen Farry outlined a set of savings, not considered to have a significant impact on front line services, totalling £33 million to begin to address the total £82 million of cuts in Resource DEL required. Included in the initial £33 million of savings were the removal of the small and specialist institution premia worth £1.1 million each to both St Mary’s and Stranmillis. Despite the department’s budget cut being reduced by £33 million the premia have not been reinstated in the final budget. Sinn Féin have reacted particularly strongly to the removal of the premia, having fought for additional allocations to DEL.

The Alliance Party support a fully integrated education system and the rationale of the Minister is no doubt that funding two separate teacher training colleges is a waste of resources. The Minister commissioned a report to suggest options for a more shared and integrated teacher training system. Four options were rejected by St Mary’s as it wishes to maintain its autonomy in order to fulfil its mission of providing Catholic ethos education. The college is willing to continue with a collaborative partnership approach, involving sharing with other institutions like Stranmillis. This approach is similar to one of the options outlined in the report but that option was not acceptable to the college.

Barring an enormous electoral shock next year, the DUP and Sinn Féin will continue with shared education. However it remains to be seen whether Minister Farry will succeed in establishing an integrated teacher training system. Integration may have a potentially fatal impact on superb institutions like St Mary’s yet maintaining an overwhelmingly segregated education system will not address the divisions within society. The Executive must determine whether the cost of accommodation can be justified and ensure that, whether integration becomes the dominant sector or not, decisions are made strategically relying on strong evidence and as part of long term planning.

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  • Kevin Breslin

    How can you integrate without accommodating?
    Surely you are only dividing yourself from someone else by not accommodating.

    In a liberal democracy you are going to have division and people who do not conform to your way of living, that’s what separates the likes of Ireland, the UK, France, Germany … multicultural nations all full of arguments and ethnic religious and social tensions between divided people … and the likes of North Korea and Cambodia … full of forced conformity and total integration and no accommodation for anyone.

  • Zig70

    Does anyone has experience of st Mary’s to tell me what this Catholic ethos entails? How much religion do you get with your maths and is it compulsory? There’s nothing to stop anyone being trained there. So is the problem also that some exclude themselves?

  • Practically_Family

    There’s nothing to stop anyone being educated within the state sector in Northern Ireland.

    So is the problem that some exclude themselves?

  • aber1991

    Who controls Stranmillis?

  • Zig70

    I know plenty of Catholics who sent their kids to state schools in Belfast but I don’t know any unionists who send their kids to Catholics schools. I hear it happens across the Bann and in Bangor. Across the Bann it’s more a case of the devil driving. I choose Catholic schools myself because state schools exclude Irish and gaelic sports. I’ve no problem with unionists and their sectarian reasons for wanting the end of the Catholic education sector but the liberal types that can’t see their ignorance of Irish culture driving division annoy me.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    The Stone Cutters….

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Zig

    I don’t quite follow the last part of yer post: “but the liberal types that can’t see their ignorance of Irish culture driving division annoy me.


    Do you mean you’re annoyed by the calls for integrated education from those not willing to include (or oblivious to the importance of) Gaelic culture in the sector?

    For what it’s worth I agree wholeheartedly (if that’s what you mean).
    If they’re going to go to the bother of forcing schools into shared campuses why not just go the whole hog and merge the schools completely (in some scenarios) and add Gaelic games and Irish language into the mix.

    If the schools are merged then people will find it more difficult to withdraw their children at the drop of a GAA hat because as it stands at present for every state integrated school there is, in all likelihood going to be a state ‘Protestant’ school nearby where parents can send their kids if things become a bit too ‘taigy’ for them.

    If this (expensive) option is removed then we might start to get somewhere.

    Or not.

    But it’ll save money and that’s something…

  • aber1991

    “more a case of the devil driving”

    What does that phrase mean?

  • aber1991

    “The Stone Cutters.”

    What are they?

  • Jay

    Why doesn’t Somerton Road send St. Marys the cash, apparently they’re not short a few bob, if the rumours are anything to go by.

  • Abucs

    Zig70, maths is perhaps the most culturally neutral subject. Of course different cultures have different number systems but the Hindu-Arabic system has been the most successful. It was first seen in Christian Europe in the Codex Vigilanus, written by three Spanish monks in the year A.D. 976. Gerbert of Aurilac studied the new maths system iin the Catalan region and read an associated book titled ‘Multiplication and Division’.

    He later became Pope Sylvester II and with good timing, in the year A.D. 999 he personally introduced the abacus to western Europe based on the 1-9 numbering system. Since that time in the largely Christian created university systems of Europe, mathematics was developed to a level that was never surpassed and allowed the new process of science (also largely from Christian universities) to be described and investigated through mathematics.

    For example – graphing and rates of change (Oresme – Bishop of Lisieux) and then calculus (Leibniz and Newton – two Christian Theologians) is but one of the many dozens of Christian mathematical innovations which allowed science to be so successful.

    One danger of secular education systems is that it deliberately ‘writes out’ the Christian underpinnings of culture and then misleads people into thinking that intellectual thought and Christianity are opposing forces. In the end it can create an ignorant and cultureless population at war with Christianity under the mistaken view of atheism masquerading as reason. There has not been a more destructive force in the last 100 years than this. There is a reason why both the Communist Socialists and Nazi National Socialists used the state to completely destroy the Christian education systems before giving us their own enlightened state-only controlled education systems.

    “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state” – Benito Mussolini – leader of the socialist Fascisto party of Italy.

    Unfortunately there are still a few “enlightened” socialist progressives looking to repeat the mistakes of the past.

  • carl marks

    Could someone tell my exactly what extra qualifications are needed to teach in a Catholic school?
    Surely RE (which if parents want children taught a certain religion then they should step up and take responsibility) is the only subject you need a cert from the catholic church.
    Despite all the irrelevant bluster from Abucs below no other subject should be taught with a religious ethos, that is just silly and nothing to do with theology but all to do with control,
    St Marys as has been pointed out is a excellent college as is Stranmillis but if integration can produce savings without effecting quality then its a no brainer, as Jay says if Somerton road want,s this so badly then somerton rd can pay for it.
    Get the whole religion thing out of Schools, if parents or churches want religious instruction for children do it there own time and with their own money!

  • carl marks

    of course Abucs fails to mention that all the leaders of the evil systems he mentioned were products of religious schooling and both Hitler and Mussolini were Catholics !

  • Zig70

    Just that there is no perceived choice. The only good schools in the area are maintained.

  • carl marks

    AG means the Masons and i think he may be making fun of you, I wonder why!
    by there is a poster called Abucs on this thread you two will love each other.

  • Abucs

    Neither Hitler nor Mussolini were Catholic. Both were extremely anti-Christian.

    While much has been argued about Hitler, Mussolini was clearly a proud atheist. To say he was Catholic is an embarrassing display of ignorance.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benito_Mussolini

  • carl marks

    Oh dear, try some quotes from Adolf,

    “We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations; we have stamped it out” ~Adolf Hitler,
    And Again,
    My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice…For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.” [3
    would you like me to dig out Pic’s of Mussolini and Franco standing with the Cardinals or footage of them attending mass?
    Did you know Stalin trained as a priest.

  • carl marks

    I am afraid we will have to put these claims of your’s in the box marked “made up thingy’s” along with your claim that the Nazies intrduced abortion into europe (despite the fact that the nazis introduced the death penalty for abortion) do you wish me to list all the “facts” i have caught you out in!

  • Abucs

    I know Stalin’s movement murdered 200,000 priests in cold blood, destroyed over 40,000 churches, made it illegal for youngsters to attend religious services, made Christian education illegal and sent recalcitrant Christians to Siberia to be ‘cured’. What a pity he didn’t become a priest and serve God instead of fighting against Him and causing the socialist evil that has plagued the world and created so many atheist nut jobs like yourself.

  • Abucs

    Only in your own head.

  • carl marks

    yes and if you had read my post i was pointing out that all the people you mentioned were the products of catholic education (Father Steel was of course russian orthodox) so it was a religious ethos that produced these monsters,
    and you claimed that they were all atheists i have shown this claim to be false.
    and i loved the last bit of your post, basically you think it’s a pity that the mass murderer Stalin wasn’t on your side.
    Now how about you cut out all the historical smoke screen and tell us outside RE in what way does catholic theology affect teaching of English, French, Irish, maths, biology, chemistry etc.

  • carl marks

    denying the abortion thing then, what about your claim that 100’s of canadian pastors were in prison because they spoke out against gay rights, both claims of yours and like your claims about Hitler etc, they were totally false.

  • Abucs

    Regarding your feeble continuance of Mussolini being a Catholic. In what sane world does a photograph of Bennito with a Cardinal prove anyone is a Catholic? I have one with the Dalai Lama and the Pope. Does that make the Dalai Lama a Catholic? Grow up and address the evidence posted instead of running away and changing the subject. There is a reason why I don’t waste my time withy you. You’re an idiot.

  • carl marks

    If Mussolini was a atheist then why where all those cardinal’s a so happy to be seen supporting him and his movement, He was praised from many a pulpit.

  • Abucs

    I’m guessing you still haven’t seen that doctor Carl. You really should.

  • carl marks

    very witty,
    How about you explain to us how outside of RE what way a catholic ethos is involved in teaching any subject but R E hows is Newton’s religious belief relevant to calculus teaching, we have already seen that your historic mass murderer argument is not only inaccurate but irrelevant.
    what i (and others) want to know what difference is there in a lesson on say geology in a Catholic school compared to a non catholic school.
    so please carry on with your petty little personal abuse if it’s all you can come up with but at least try to answer the questions.

  • Kevin Breslin

    You get a hand clap from me for bringing Newton into a debate on integration.

  • Abucs

    🙂 Well I suppose calculus is all about integration and differentiation. Good pick-up.

  • Abucs

    You seem to be purposely missing the point. If Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin all rejected their Christian faith and education so much that they wanted the state to force all students to have secular education then in no way can Christian education be blamed. If they had accepted their Christian education Europe would have been a much happier and healthier place.

    Instead they were influenced by atheistic socialism and the idea that the state should have total control of education. As mentioned above, this is the worse idea to hit Europe in the last 100 years.

    Stalin and Hitler ruthlessly used the state to destroy Christian education while Mussolini, stating his wish that the state should control all education and be secular, eventually compromised in strongly Catholic Italy.

  • carl marks

    the quotes i give from hitler were from Mien Kampf, he never stopped being a catholic so he didn’t reject his catholic education (did you know he spent time in a seminary), the others where all products of religious education which of course means that religious education obviously does not produce better people! so your premise is false, and i note you are still not answering the question, here it is again in case you missed it,

    “tell us outside RE in what way does catholic theology affect teaching of English, French, Irish, maths, biology, chemistry etc.

  • Abucs

    Look Carl, I am not going to get into anything complex with you because you are not capable of following.
    All I will say is that I’ve posted my thoughts on this previously. I also mentioned above how a secular education purposely ‘writes out’ the Christian bits and so gives a false impression of the rise of science, Christianity, culture and western progress.

    So much science has Christian roots that in a proper Christian education, students see the continuation and success of Christian culture.

    So for example your last post mentions geology. A founder of modern geology is Nicholas Steno, a Catholic Bishop. From him we get the idea that we can study the different layers of the earth to tell us information about ages past and what life was like by looking at fossils. Steno also did some great work in the science of anatomy with the Christian world (through their hospital system) building the modern medical system which has been so beneficial.

    Christian education has a connection to culture, secular education is an atheist con job and an inferior product because it leaves out culture and history if it has anything to do with Christianity.

  • carl marks

    Oh and it should point out that it was strongly catholic Italy who put the monster in power and the vast majority of the Italian Fascists were catholic,( including many of those who carried out atrocity’s) many catholic priests where members also, how does that fit in with your theory

  • Kevin Breslin

    They teach it within the context of self-discipline and patience and pupil centric care, a large reason some atheists will still want their children to go to one. The Deputy PM of the UK is such an example.

  • carl marks

    Oh dear more historical inrelvency, and the oul personal abuse of course.
    OK you can’t answer the question, that is obvious,
    so much of our science has Muslim roots, Greek pagan roots,Taoist roots and atheist roots, this is a strawman, you are throwing up to avoid answering.
    Now come on Answer it please, should be easy, and even if i don’t understand it i am sure someone else will!

  • carl marks

    and self-discipline and patience and pupil centric care, are not taught in integrated schools, nonsense my daughter went to a integrated school and all these things were in the ethos and practice at the school without a religious input!

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    ‘The Sacred Order of the Stonecutters’

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Thor’s beard!

    “You seem to be purposely missing the point. If Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin all rejected their Christian faith and education so much that they wanted the state to force all students to have secular education then in no way can Christian education be blamed. If they had accepted their Christian education Europe would have been a much happier and healthier place

    After all that preachifying you did about Islamic nutjobs being unaffected by their secular schooling a few weeks ago you now have the cheek to say “well, if they’d just stuck to the script we’d be all right…”?!

    e.g. Your own words in a mirror image:

    “If European jihadists all rejected their Secular education so much that they wanted the state to force all students to have Islamic education then in no way can secular education be blamed. If they had accepted their secular education Europe would be a much happier and healthier place”

    If you have a hymn sheet stick to it!!!

    Jeeeeezzzz

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “All I will say is that I’ve posted my thoughts on this previously. I also mentioned above how a secular education purposely ‘writes out’ the Christian bits and so gives a false impression of the rise of science, Christianity, culture and western progress”

    Right, could you then explain to me why Free Presbyterian ministers came into my school to teach RE to the Free P pupils?

    To be ‘written out’ and ‘have an entire class to yourself’ are NOT the same thing.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “So much science has Christian roots that in a proper Christian education, students see the continuation and success of Christian culture”

    Or Hellenic culture or Hindu culture or Islamic culture or Roman culture:

    I don’t need to know about Bacchus to know how to count to ten or about Allah to recognise the constellations; you’ve misplaced rational argument with a CV “monks discovered this therefore religious education is bestest!”

    I don’t want to enforce atheism on the rest of the world, as an aussie comedian said of athiests “why get so excited about ‘nothing’?” but neither should certain schools of brainwashing be propped up by the state, if you wish to preach the unprovable then do it at your own expense.

    In fact no, I’ll meet ye halfway; how about we keep enough religious schools to provide parental choice but remove those schools that unnecessarily encumber the finances of this land?

    That’s surely fair?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Where does Ante ” I love priests” Pavlic feature in your rogues’ gallery of atheist baddies?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_clergy_involvement_with_the_Usta%C5%A1e

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “What a pity he didn’t become a priest and serve God instead of fighting against Him and causing the socialist evil that has plagued the world and created so many atheist nut jobs like yourself.”

    That way he’d be known as ‘Ivan the Terrible II’, same carnage, different victims (maybe).

    He (Ivan) was devout too, a serpent’s a serpent and all that…

  • carl marks

    .

  • carl marks

    So Stalin ” causing the socialist evil that has plagued the world and created so many atheist nut jobs like yourself.”

    good argument, stalin was the first socialist and not only the first atheist but the reason for atheists.

    I have to admit you have a wonderful imagination and the fact that it is unencumbered by any relationship to facts is fun

  • Currently the Certificate in Religious Education is required to work in Catholic maintained nursery or primary schools but not in post-primary schools. It is available at St Mary’s and via a distance learning course at Stranmillis. In 2013 the rules changed meaning teachers have up to 3 years following their appointment to obtain the certificate. As far as I am aware it is required for any teaching post within such schools.

    In my opinion there are two issues here. One is the future of teacher training and indeed all education in Northern Ireland as integrated or shared. Secondly is the decision of the Minister to remove the premia without a plan in place as to the future of teacher training. Everyone knows his end game but that does not excuse making a mess of getting there.

  • carl marks

    thank you.

  • Abucs

    You display another fault of secular thinking when you equate all religions and try to argue against one by discussing another. It makes no sense in attacking cricket because of football. If you were not formed in your secular thinking you would be able to see the obvious mistake you are making here.

  • Abucs

    People who want to send their kids to godless schools should be able to, finances allowing. People who want to send their kids to Christian schools should be able to, finances allowing. Your position is not fair because you think the state should underwrite the godless systems as the default and only some Christian schools. You have an authoritarian position that you are not admitting. You see godless schools as somehow natural and Christian schools as brainwashing. You want your sectarian secular view as the view that the state should take. No support there for ever and a day.

  • Abucs

    No they are not the same thing. Pretty obvious. But parents choose schools where their kids are endowed with a curriculum that does not purposely withdraw God from it. Get over it. That is their choice.

  • Abucs

    Did he have an opinion on forcing godless education on the children under his command? That is what we are talking about here.

    Thank you for the background knowledge though. From your link…..
    Pavelić told Nazi Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop that while the lower clergy supported the Ustaše, the bishops, and particularly Archbishop Stepinac, were opposed to the movement because of “Vatican international policy”.[9] Some prominent Catholic clerics[who?] objected to the Ustaša violence.[23] Hebblethwaite wrote that to oppose the violence of the new Ustase regime, the “Vatican’s policy was to strengthen the hand of [Archbishop Spepinac] in his rejection of forcible conversions and brutalities.”[9] Phayer wrote that Stepinac came to be known as jeudenfreundlich (Jew friendly) to the Nazi-linked Ustaše regime, and suspended a number of priest collaborators in his diocese.[26] 31 priests were arrested following Stepinac’s July and October 1943 explicit condemnations of race murders being read from pulpits across Croatia.[27] Martin Gilbert wrote that Stepinac, “who in 1941 had welcomed Croat independence, subsequently condemned Croat atrocities against both Serbs and Jews, and himself saved a group of Jews”.[6] Aloysius Mišić, Bishop of Mostar, was a prominent resister.[23] Gregorij Rožman, the bishop of Ljubljana in Slovenia allowed some Jews that had converted to Catholicism and fled from Croatia into his diocese to remain there, with assistance from the Jesuit Pietro Tacchi Venturi in obtaining the permission of the Italian civil authorities

  • Abucs

    I can see that the obvious madness of the tyrants mentioned and their support for secular education has disturbed you. Pease tell us Ivan the Terrible’s policy on state education. I am not aware of his relevancy here.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Do you admit then that God was NOT withdrawn in the example that I gave you?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    No, there was no fault, you opened that gate (Islam) in a previous discussion about integrated education, just because I used to expose your own hypocrisy does not mean that you get to close it.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    All this says is that the clergy was opposed to Pavlic’s nuttiness, that I would hope is the default/expected position of a church.

    The point that you have ducked is that you bleat on about the bad atheist dictators and I show you one that was very Catholic.

    This example would show that religious dictators are as bad as non-religious ones.

    Did you accept this?

    No, instead you tried to wash away this inconvenient exhibit with the actions of good clergy

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Just showing that madness and slaughter are not the sole preserve of atheists.

    My answer was a response to a post of yours that bore no mention to state education either.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Why are you not conceding or contesting Carl’s points?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Well, finances are not allowing, hence this thread.
    So, something has to give.

    I believe my position to be more of a compromise as it allows for both religious schools and merged/mixed schools.

    Neither are the state schools entirely godless, I just gave you an example of the Free-P ministers coming in for RE classes.

    My way saves money, allows choice, has people of different backgrounds mingling, allows tinkering with regards to RE, exposes people to Gaelic culture etc

    You’re just trying to fob me off as another “line ’em up against the wall” atheist, this is a foolish stance to take and I suggest you drop it and start compromising a bit.

    Failure to compromise surely exposes YOU as the authoritarian?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    BTW, at my ‘Godless’ school, there were hymns and prayers at every morning assembly, a Christian club and the facility of clergymen for RE, that’s hardly Godless, is it?

  • aber1991

    “If the schools are merged then people will find it more difficult to withdraw their children at the drop of a GAA hat because as it stands at present for every state integrated school there is, in all likelihood going to be a state ‘Protestant’ school nearby where parents can send their kids if things become a bit too ‘taigy’ for them.”

    Why should Prods be left in a position whereby they have no option other than to allow their children to mix with Catholics?

    What do you mean by a “state integrated school”?

  • carl marks

    so were do we stand,

    with your assistance we have seen that faith based education has produced most of the last’s century’s mass murderer’s and tyrants.

    you still cant tell us how a lesson on any subject (outside RE) is different in a faith school (please no history of great smart monks,Just how is a lesson different)

    Now you seem to be saying that it’s right for your faith to have it’s own (government funded) schools but the same argument does not apply to other faith’s re;
    “You display another fault of secular thinking when you equate all religions and try to argue against one by discussing another. It makes no sense in attacking cricket because of football”
    and you have stated that your main reason for wanting faith schooling is not because they are better schools but in order to maintain your faith ” that in a proper Christian education, students see the continuation and success of Christian culture.”
    why should i pay for your faith?

  • carl marks

    AG,
    Abucs use a cut and paste form of debate, he rarely any longer give’s us his source,s.
    when i first came across him he give links instead, the links inevitability opened either american christian right sites or Daily mail types.
    I check every “fact” he claims most are incorrect, Godwins law is nothing to him, Abortion (nazis started it) non faith education (caused the nazis) to be fair to him he hasn’t figured a way to associate the Gay right’s movement with the nazis, but i wait with bated breath) the trick is to pin him down and try to get him to explain things in his own words not cut and paste someone else’s
    Unfortunately he does tend to hand out personal abuse when he realises he is cornered.

  • aber1991

    Can anyone prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that the closure of St Mary College of Education would not be a threat to the welfare of Catholics?

  • aber1991

    What has Stalin or Ivan the Terrible to do with this threat to the oppressed Catholic people of Northern Ireland?

  • Reader

    I sent two of mine to a maintained school in Belfast after all 4 went to a superb maintained primary school in Bangor. (Both sides of the family are liberal huns).
    There was a lot of attrition between maintained Primary and maintained Secondary school for the likes of us, which I think was due to the primary school being a good school surrounded by bad state schools, whereas there are lots of good state secondaries in the catchment area.

  • carl marks

    no and neither can i prove beyond reasonable doubt that that the earth will be hit by a asteroid this evening!
    How about instead of us proving it would not do harm you prove what harm it would do to catholics, and some facts(in other words we will want proof) later than the year 2000 will be acceptable, some unnamed thing that happened in the 1950 to you when you were 4 years old won’t cut it!

  • Abucs

    Stalin advocated that the removal of Christian education was good for society and his view should be forced on all families. Of course we know the enlightened togetherness that was promised never arrived and the Russian people and culture went backwards. There are some, unbelievable as it sounds, following in his shadow today.

  • Abucs

    and my post detailing the slaughter of Christians by Stalin was in response to Carl marks trying to make tenuous links to Christianity of different secularists (including Stalin) who forced through secular education on their people. Perhaps you shouldn’t have wasted our time?

  • Abucs

    If Jihadists came to power like Stalin and forced Islamic education on everyone,, this would be just as bad as Stalin forcing secular education on everyone. I agree with you that the Jihadists could not be called secular they would be Islamic. Likewise Stalin could not be regarded in anyway Christian, he was secular atheist. The difference is that you want to force some kids into secular education and I don’t want to force any kids into Christian education. Stalin and the would be Jihadists and you believe in the right to dictate types of education to other people’s kids which fit in with your own philosophy. It was wrong for Stalin, it is wrong for Jihadists and it is wrong for you. It doesn’t matter what illusory benefits you claim will happen. You do not have that right and in a free society, you never will.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Hardly a waste of time trying to show you that “madness and slaughter are not the sole preserve of atheists” or when you contradict yourself (as you did so splendidly earlier).

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Yes, he was wrong to do so.
    This is clear and obvious, but your argument does need more substance than ‘stuff Stalin did’.

  • Abucs

    You did not ask me if I thought religious dictators were as bad as atheist dictators. If you had asked me that question, then you would be going off topic anyway. You asked where Pavlic features in MY gallery of atheists rogues.
    Since Pavlic ( I assume ) wasn’t an atheist then he wouldn’t feature at all in anyone’s gallery of atheist rogues. With regards to the topic of forced state education I have no idea what Pavlic’s ideas or policies were.
    If Pavlic wanted to force Catholic students into secular education like the Nazis did, then I would oppose that. That should be obvious to everyone. Likewise if he wanted to force atheist students into Catholic education then I would also oppose that. The bottom line is that you seem to think you have some right to force Catholics into secular education against their will. You are never going to get anywhere with that authoritarian attitude.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “The difference is that you want to force some kids into secular education and I don’t want to force any kids into Christian education”

    Wrong, I wish to alter the path of least resistance that we have now which corals Catholic kids into Catholic schools and Protestants into state schools (as a rule of thumb, not 100%).

    With a bit of tinkering, budget cutting and merging we could have Catholics going to state schools (where they will still receive RE, help from clergy if need be and Christian clubs) and Protestants going to Catholic schools without compunction or controversy.

    My way in a manner of speaking gives more choice than yours as it mixes things up, at present it is a case of “you lot in this school, you lot in that school”.

    People like yourself are quick to point out the situation and mixed intake of Catholic schools in England but are seemingly against making that a possibility in NI.

    I think you should just admit that you like the apartheid that we have and drop this façade.

    “Stalin and the would be Jihadists and you believe in the right to dictate types of education to other people’s kids which fit in with your own philosophy


    Again, wrong to the point of dishonesty, you’re either not reading my posts properly or doing your best to give them a daemonic gild.
    It is clear to even the most obtuse, ignorant, stubborn imbecile that I am NOT about ‘dictating’ types of education to other people’s kids, rather I advocate some moves that will open up opportunities for others to avail of the various institutions that we have and allow people the chance to mix as a consequence (as well as save money, something you do not try to do in your advocacy of the current apartheid).
    I am not trying to close down the Catholic schools sector, so, now that you have been told that please stop angling it as such.
    Yes, I advocate closing down some schools and merging others but that is a far cry from what you are claiming that I am trying to do.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Touche, I should have omitted the ‘atheist’ bit. Fine, let us give him his own gallery of ‘religious dictators’.

    Done.

    “The bottom line is that you seem to think you have some right to force Catholics into secular education against their will. You are never going to get anywhere with that authoritarian attitude.


    Where, in all my posts about KEEPING enough Catholic schools to supply ‘choice’ did I advocate ‘forcing Catholics into secular education against their will’?
    I suggested no such thing, in fact, I made quite a point of ensuring such a choice remains an option for those so inclined e.g. in the case of merging St Pius and MHS I highlighted that there would be TWO other Catholic schools nearby to cater for those who wish to be educated ‘in the faith’.

  • Abucs

    Two points, firstly the removal of God from the curriculum creates a Godless curriculum which feeds into the formation of students. In that regard it is Godless.
    Secondly it is quite apparent that as secular schools develop the culture of God is pushed out. Prayers are removed and hymns abolished. This has happened all across the western world/ Teachers are encouraged to create lessons and syllabi that are Godless in a mistaken secular idea of tolerance. Yes it is Godless. There are even cases in secular education where education officials have attempted to ban Christian clubs and even prayer meetings because they do not fit in with a secular ethos. It is Godless.
    Since you have a Godless culture, in a mullti-cultural society you are entitled to a Godless education for your kids, but you have to organise that, not get the state to underwrite your culture on other people’s kids. There is no place for such authoritarianism in the modern world.

  • Abucs

    It is not authoritarian to support an education system of parental choice for their own children. If you do not have enough players for a hurling team you cannot go and raid a gaelic football league and force them to play hurling in misguided notions of equality and tolerance. That is authoritarian.

  • Abucs

    See my post above about withdrawing God from the curriculum and the history of secular education in the western world slowly removing God under the cover of upholding ‘secular ideals’.

    It is your culture to see religions as basically the same and nothing more than different cultural traditions based on ethical fables from uneducated times. From this point of view Christianity can be transmitted in the RE class. From your point of view on Christianity (and in your view all religions) God is not removed from the education system.

    But I have a completely different culture than you. God is a reality, not a set of man made ethical fables that can be transmitted by an external reverend. Christianity is a lived culture encountering the reality of God with a rich tradition of history, art, science and ethics. Education in it’s full Christian form is fully encompassing and forms a much rounder and fuller human being.

    When you write God out of the curriculum you are creating a Godless institution. Christianity is a lived culture encompassing all facets of what it means to be human. It has relevance to the growth of the human being and also the growth of human society and civilisation. It is unjust to force a separation between the thoughts of a Christian and the life of a Christian community.

    To an atheist the thoughts of a Christian are incorrect and a individual delusion of secondary importance to his own secular belief system. To the Christian his life is lived progression towards the eternal truth of God and this lived progression is enhanced through community steeped in the intellectual and spiritual historical tradition of the Church and its people.

    You, as a non Christian from an atheist cultural background do not get to decide on what is Christianity, what are it’s limits and thus expect any sort of agreement on your idea of the role of Christianity for other people’s kids based on your sectarian views.

    There is no agreement there and there will not be. The reality is that you and your views are on the sidelines when it comes to Catholic education. It would be nice that you realise the authoritarian nature of forcing other people’s kids into an education system that reflects your own culture. But the history of atheism in the last 100 years is that it is so brainwashed in the right of its own cause that it is blind to the authoritarian nature of actions.

    The more you bang on about your right to define what Christianity is and therefore how other people’s kids should be educated the more you will stay on the sidelines.

  • Abucs

    I usually don’t read his posts. If you think he makes a point of any worth, you are free to repeat it. To be honest with you I think he is an idiot.

  • Abucs

    The only thing I ask is that you write the points you want discussed in your own words. I don’t see CM making any sense at the best of times.

  • Abucs

    If Catholics want to join the non Catholic education sectors then they can. If protestants and other non Catholics want to join the Catholic education system then they also should be welcomed. That is choice.

    If their particular choice of education is not available in their area because of a lack of numbers then that is a problem for them that they have to deal with. They can accept another system, they can home school, they can move, But it is a problem for them. If Catholics in Bangor who want a Catholic education don’t have enough numbers they should not expect to be able to close down local state schools to get their own numbers up and make a Catholic school possible. Likewise in reverse for other parts of Northern Ireland.

    Apartheid was a government policy of separation in South Africa. If blacks and whites both wanted that then I would have no objection. The injustice is that one group ruled for one section of the supposed nation and imposed such a policy.

    That is not the case in Northern Ireland. What I see in the western world is that the multi cultural policies are causing fragmentation. Secular education is not a cure for this nor should it be seen as a cure, particularly a forced cure.

    In my view secular education systems promote a destruction of culture in the mistaken belief somehow culture is an impediment to unity and so should be removed. This view is not only mistaken, as the results show, but is authoritarian. It produces a dumbed down populace that is oblivious to the richness and learned wisdom of culture.

    It makes fragmentation and alienation worse. There are benefits to culture which mindsets characterised by John Lennon’s naive ‘Imagine’ song are oblivious to.

  • carl marks

    tenuous link’s!
    Stalin studied to be a priest,
    Mussolini attended a catholic school and was voted in power and supported by a mainly catholic country,
    I have quoted hitler (he studied to be a monk)on his desire to wipe out atheist’s and all attended church schools,
    these are hardly tenuous links. you brought up several monsters in support of your argument against non religious schooling but the problem is that all those monsters are product of religious schooling.
    that sir is not checking your facts and i have warned you about that.

  • aber1991

    The Catholic people of Northern Ireland have more than enough Ulster reasons for resisting integrated education. Do we really need evidence from abroad?

  • aber1991

    “in the case of merging St Pius and MHS I highlighted that there would be TWO other Catholic schools nearby to cater for those who wish to be educated ‘in the faith'”

    Please leave Catholic schools out of your plans. If you want integrated education in Magherafelt, make the controlled primary and secondary schools neutral and, in that way, attract Catholics who want to integrate.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Carl, your opponent seems to have forgotten the old Jesuit phrase, “Give me a child before he is seven and I will give you that man.” The fact that the dictators rejected their religious upbringing on the surface misses the all important fact that they did so within the framework of their educational conditioning!

    Thanks for sustaining this important argument so well!

  • carl marks

    didn’t catch those statistics released a while ago about atheist’s being in the majority and there numbers growing, who the hell are you to tell the majority how they want their taxes spent!
    if i was you i would start praying that Athiest’s will be more tolerant of christains than christains where of athiests (don’t worry we wont be doing any stake burnings or torturing like the church did when it had power, but we will take a good look at the school budget!

  • carl marks

    seen this and thought of you!

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “make the controlled primary and secondary schools neutral and, in that way, attract Catholics who want to integrate.”

    I have been saying make them ‘neutral’ from day one, why do you not listen?

  • aber1991

    “I have been saying make them ‘neutral’ from day one, why do you not listen?”

    In that case, get on with it. Keep your greedy eyes off our schools.

    P.S. You will not be able to make State schools neutral without providing the anti-Catholic pupils and teachers with an alternative to State schools.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “The best lack all conviction while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity”