Saturday 24 March 2018

Parents need to take role in religious education

Parish and parents, not schools, should prepare children for sacraments, writes Carol Hunt

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn
Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn
Carol Hunt

Carol Hunt

It was a great week for the professionally offended; they were out in their droves, setting up straw men and knocking them down with righteous paranoia. Such fun! It's been a wet, dull depressing month, so who can blame them? Especially when one of their targets was the supposedly "gaffe prone" Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn.

Seemingly that godless politician wants to remove the teaching of religion from the school curriculum. Yes, all over the country parents, priests, teachers and politicians – even members of his own party – registered their shock at the idea that Red Ruairi could singlehandedly drive religion out of Irish schools.

"I was appalled by what I heard the minister say," complained Breda Bonner, principal of St Bernadette's National School in Quarryvale and Labour councillor. Robert Dowds, Labour TD for Dublin Mid-West, described Quinn's comments as "inept and inappropriate". Micheal Martin said the minister's comments were "insensitive"; the Association of Catholic Priests rowed in saying that Quinn's suggestion to reduce teaching time for religious studies was "unhelpful, unwarranted and unacceptable", and Catholic economist Ray Kinsella wrote that Quinn as "an Education Minister should be a little more conscious of the contribution of theistic faiths to metaphysics, science and culture".

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