Church will fight hard to preserve its 'divine right'
But the Christian Brothers' version of morality is starting to crumble, writes Emer O'Kelly
Nearly one-third of people in this country think the Catholic Church should maintain control of the primary school system. And more than half the population thinks that, whether it maintains control or not, the Catholic Church will change to prevent child abuse at the hands of clerics happening again. That means there is an unsettlingly high number of people in this country, despite all the scandal, the trauma, the pain and the shame, in the schools and outside them, who do not believe the Church will change but are still perfectly happy for it to go on its dictatorial way, unchecked by the civil authorities, and having total control of the welfare and moral formation of the nation's children.
No wonder Cardinal Sean Brady felt confident enough on Thursday to launch Catholic Schools Week 2010 and inaugurate a new Catholic Schools Partnership. The theme, by the way, is that Catholic schools are "a light for every generation", while the Partnership, according to Bishop Leo O'Reilly of Kilmore, marks the completion of a cherished goal to establish an association which will act as an "advocate" for Catholic education into the future.
But 61 per cent of people polled by MRBI for the Irish Times during the week believe the Church should give up the control it now exercises through Boards of Management in the primary school system. Twenty eight per cent were not in favour, which is roughly two to one in favour of kicking them out.