Schools, faith and morals

 

Sir, – For most reasonable people, a census in which 78.3 per cent of the population freely declare themselves to belong to a particular religion would not be interpreted negatively and described as “in decline”. But not so for Patsy McGarry in his piece on church-run schools (“Church-run schools have failed at a deeper level”, Rite & Reason, November 7th). In support of his argument he quotes Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (not known for his positive take on things relating to the Catholic Church). Your writer lays the blame at the door of church-run schools for failing to instil “Christian values in our population” as evidenced by the corruption at the highest levels of life in Ireland.

As a reader of The Irish Times over many years, the clear impression given is that Catholic education amounts to indoctrination. Or is it more accurate to say Catholic education is indoctrination when it teaches such things as the meaning of marriage and the sacredness of human life, values not acceptable to middle-class modern Ireland, but it is proper education if it teaches values that are good for the economy? To claim church-run schools have contributed to the corruption of adult life in Ireland, while undermining what they offer to society by characterising their education as indoctrination, is a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t. – Yours, etc,

Fr GREGORY O’BRIEN, PP

Templeogue,

Dublin 6W.

Sir, – The Rev Patrick G Burke is right to state that it is unreasonable for Christian values to be inculcated in the classroom without the support of family and society (November 8th).

As this trend is likely to increase and intensify, why do the Christian churches insist on maintaining their own schools when it is plain to see that their schools are having a minimal effect in creating a more just society. – Yours, etc,

BRENDAN BUTLER,

Malahide, Co Dublin.