Archbishop urges Catholic schools to link with other patrons
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has called on Catholic schools to "enter into relationships with schools of other patronage" for a "new pluralist Ireland".
In his homily at Mass for the beginning of the academic year at St Patrick's College, DCU, Drumcondra, Dr Martin said that there is a need to look at how Catholic schools could come together with schools of other patronage.
His comments were made after the umbrella body for community national schools decided that preparation for sacraments, such as First Communion, will no longer take place as part of the school day.
The move by Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI) represents a significant milestone in the long-running debate over the place of religion teaching in primary schools.
Education Minister Richard Bruton announced earlier this year plans to divest patronage from Catholic primary schools.
Dr Martin said there is need to "form new bonds and partnerships to ensure that we also have a common vision - and not an antagonistic one - of education in our pluralist nation."
"All the agents of education in Ireland are called to foster relationships of respect and tolerance and welcome, in such a manner as to build a respectful pluralist model of education for a new pluralist Ireland," he said.
"There is much debate in Ireland about different forms of patronage and such discussion is valid and necessary.
He added: "A Catholic school is not a closed island of believers isolated or, much worse, hostile to the rest of the educational world."