Schools and teaching religion

 

Sir, – Diarmuid Bolger’s apologia for the policy relating to religion in Irish schools under the management of the Catholic Church (October 26th) attempts to convince that the policy does not have “indoctrination or proselytising as part of its purpose”. This is at odds with the existence of the so-called integrated curriculum, where Catholic religious belief is interspersed through all subjects during the school day: policy is one thing, practical effect is something else.

Mr Bolger claims that students who do not share the religious faith of the school are allowed to read or study a text that will encourage them to “grow in their own faith or spirituality”. While this might mean that the works of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, among others, all committed atheists, will soon be made available in Irish schools, I have to admit that my expectations in this regard are not very high. – Yours, etc,

SEAMUS McKENNA,

Windy Arbour,

Dublin 14.

Sir, – In his defence of faith-based education, Diarmuid Bolger states that students attending Roman Catholic schools who do not share that faith are encouraged to “grow in their own faith or spirituality”. It may come as a surprise to him to learn that there are many people who do not have a faith or believe in “spirituality”, whatever that might be.

All of our national schools are paid for by taxpayers, not by churches, and they should be there to educate and not indoctrinate. – Yours, etc,

DIARMAID

Mac AONGHUSA,

Shankill,

Dublin 18.

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