It is increasingly clear that the Catholic Church will not divest any schools to other patron bodies unless they are forced to do so. In fact they have reinforced their position of opposing human rights standards in education, by rejecting the Toledo Guiding Principles. Even Prof John Coolahan (Chair of the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism) is now saying that the Department of Education needs to wield a stick to make divestment happen.
Also, even if the Catholic Church did divest a number of schools, that would still not address the State’s obligation to provide a religiously neutral education for children, in classes other than religion class, even in schools that retain a religious ethos. The only real solution is for the State to implement the Recommendations of the UN Human Rights Committee, the Irish Human Rights Commission, and the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism.
In an article in the Irish Times Prof John Coolahan is quoted as stating that the Department of Education needs to wield a “stick” against the Catholic Church if it wants to make progress on the divestment of schools to other patrons. He also stated that the church’s refusal to take “a proactive stance” in promoting the divestment of schools undermined the process from the outset, and he suggests cuts in school funding might be considered to concentrate minds.
To be honest, this does not in any way surprise me at all. Control of education is of primary importance to many beliefs because it enables them to instil religious ideas into young minds before they can start to think critically and so enables them to retain their grip over successive generations.
Having been born and educated in Ireland I have a personal experience of exactly what goes on. For example, one specific institution I attended was run by Opus Dei, and there they ran a very focused campaign of cherry-picking as follows. All of us, no exceptions, were given a series of tests that were designed to measure IQ, and then using the results from they would identify the top 10% and specifically target them. The next step was an invitation to attend a study weekend and that was where they would then recruit new members via a process of psychological manipulation that involved buttering you up and telling you how smart and wonderful you were. By generally building up a strong emotional bond you would in theory be then motivated to invest in them and their specific ideas.
It was a very long term bet, once where essentially they would identify the cream of the crop, and then recruit them early before they went off to university. The thinking was obvious, here were the folks who would potentially become the movers are shakers in society in the decades to come, and so they were after influence and power – this was indeed (and still is) a long term plan.
However, when it comes to utilising education as a religious tool, the real masters of the art are the Jesuits (yes, I was taught by them as well at one point).
The latest revelations of the systemic and rather rampant abuse might indeed have cost them a generation of people, but the thinking will once again be long term, and so they will attempt to ride it out by ignoring the current generation and instead seek to nurture the next one.
Bottom line: Will they willingly let go of education?
I suspect you can see the answer here and also now understand why would never do that – doing so would be catastrophic for the long term viability of the belief in Ireland.
The article from Atheist Ireland goes on to explain …
The Irish Human Rights Commission had issued a Report on Education & Religion; A Human Rights perspective and the Church did not approve of its Recommendations. The Commission is a statutory body who are legally obliged to uphold human rights. Fr Michael Drumm speaking on behalf of the Catholic Church at the Forum forcefully criticised the Report from the Irish Human Rights Commission.
Is their any merit to their criticism of the substantial and extensively detailed report?
Nobody knows, because they have failed to actually explain why they reject it, but then that is perhaps to be expected, because the root cause of their resistance is rather obvious to those that grasp what their educational agenda is all about.
It’s time to cut their funding.
Prof Coolahan, who oversaw the forum’s main report in April 2012 and has contributed to subsequent update reports, suggests it was a mistake to leave the Catholic bishops, as patrons, to drive the reforms.
… er yes, no kidding.
Make no mistake, this is going to happen, they now have a legal obligation to do that, and if they will not do it willingly (which is not a surprise), then they will be forced to do it.
No matter how you slice or dice this, Catholic clerics have always been way too interested in young children for all sorts of very wrong reasons.