Education and inequality

 

A chara, – Una Mullally has interesting remarks about educational inequality. It’s a pity she didn’t resist the temptation to attack the Catholic Church (Opinion & Analysis, April 3rd). She wrote, “the ultimate elitism in school entry here is the grip the wealthiest organisation we’ve ever had on our soil has on our schools: the Catholic Church . . . that kind of control is where real power lies, and we must continue to challenge it.”

Yes, challenge by asking how that “power” and “grip” have been used in the service of all, regardless of their wealth or status in society. It is by no means the wealthiest organisation on our soil: that position belongs to our State apparatus. There may possibly be some lay employees of the church whose salary level is around that of Government ministers, but certainly none of the ordained ministers.

The Catholic Church in Ireland has many faults; and yet 84 per cent of the population claimed to be Catholic in the 2011 census. The Irish Times reported (January 21st, 2016) that weekly Mass attendance levels in Dublin are currently put at 20 per cent to 22 per cent of the population. So about a million people attend church every week around the country – far ahead of any other organisation.

The real wealth of the church is not in the value of the property which serves so many, but in the people who are the church, many of whom give their time voluntarily to serve their communities. If this is what she calls “the weird grip Catholicism holds on various aspects of Irish society”, she shows very little respect for large numbers of people, many of whom are readers of The Irish Times.

Una Mullally writes that “many children are being inducted into a religion their parents are only collaborating with in order to get them onto a school’s waiting list”. She should ask why the State has failed to ensure waiting lists do not occur. Continue to challenge this. – Is mise,

PÁDRAIG McCARTHY,

Sandyford, Dublin 16.