The Church should prepare to sell large numbers of Catholic schools to the State and use the money to strengthen remaining Catholic schools, leading commentator Maria Steen has said.
Mrs Steen – a columnist with The Irish Catholic – and spokesperson for The Iona Institute has warned that the continued situation where the State is dictating what can be taught in Church schools is undermining the Faith.
Writing in her column in this week’s edition, Mrs Steen insists that “rather than allow further undermining of the faith and the religious freedoms of Catholic children, the Church should act now and sell large numbers of her schools, to the State if it can afford them, or to other interested parties if it cannot”.
She went on, “it would certainly be interesting to see how the State would cope in discharging its duty to educate the children of the nation without the co-operation of the Church”.
Mrs Steen believes that the monies realised should be used to “establish authentic Catholic schools, for the benefit of parents who wish to be supported in their efforts to educate their children. To ensure that such schools are free of the influence of the State, they cannot rely on State money.
This might mean Catholic schools not being as well funded or having as many facilities as other schools, and they would certainly be fewer in number than at present. Against that, we would have religious freedom and the right to educate our children without the pernicious proselytising of the State.
“Then we could start concentrating on reforming our Catholic schooling from within,” according to Mrs Steen.
Read her column here.