Dear Editor, It was heartening to read Fr Tom Deenihan’s words dismissing “inaccurate, unworthy and misleading” criticism of Catholic schools (‘Catholic Ed. chief defends ‘inclusive and diverse’ schools’, IC 19/03/2015).
I am fed up of reading criticism in the media about our schools. The Catholic Church did not set out to create some kind of monopoly in education – its majority role in education is simply as a result of standing in to fulfil a need not being addressed by anyone else. Our schools are not trying to indoctrinate children against their parent’s wishes, but in my experience, with my own children, are very much places of welcome, diversity and inclusiveness.
Even dating back to my own school days attending a Catholic primary and secondary school, my classmates from other denominations were never made to feel like outsiders and enjoyed being part of the choir or drama involved in preparing for the sacraments or celebrating religious festivals.
Now in a more multi-cultural Ireland students from different ethnic and religious backgrounds are being educated side-by-side as equals. I would also agree with Fr Michael Drumm that Catholic schools “have been leaders in areas such as social inclusion, special needs and Traveller education”.
How about instead of obsessing about how long teachers spend teaching religion, we concentrate on providing our funds-starved schools with more resources so that they do not have to rely on donations from cash-strapped parents in other to pay simple bills like lighting and heating?
Templeogue, Dublin 6W