Sunday, 29 April 2012

Catholic school teaching Catholic ideas?!?

Stop the press! Catholic schools teach Catholic ideas about gay marriage!  

There has been much in the press over the last week about how Catholic schools are wrong in their promotion of the conventional and traditional form of marriage. Some schools have taken up the Bishops' request to promote a petition against the change in law that would allow same-sex couples to call their legal union a 'marraige'. This issue has been discussed on TalkingDonkeyRE before, here and here.

However this weekend, the Daily Telegraph published a blog which got a lot of online interest. It basically said, in a slightly tongue-in-cheek fashion:

"What is the world coming to when, in the 21st century, in daylight hours, in an educational institution, the offspring of Catholics can openly be taught Catholic values? This madness must end!"

It goes on to urge a sense of calm, and non-sensationalism... is this really a surprise to the general public?

"This open-mouthed alarm at Catholic schools for promoting the virtues of traditional marriage is a bit like being shocked to discover that a Friends of the Earth summer camp teaches children BS about the eco-End of Days or that a Jewish school says the Torah is a good read."

However the section which got a lot of criticism, particularly from the secular and atheist readers was this one:

"Catholic schools have a certain amount of leeway to teach the Catholic view on life, sex and relationships. If they didn't, then they wouldn't be "Catholic schools" – they'd just be "schools". Maybe that's what the Catholic-bashing set wants – the evacuation of every smidgen of Catholic ideology from Catholic schools, so that they end up being indistinguishable from your average state school, and so that Catholic parents are denied the fundamental liberty to send their children to a school that embodies their values."

Many would like to see the closure of Catholic schools, in fact all faith-based schools. They perhaps forget that it was Christians who first started free schooling for the British population, or that over the last 150 years Christians have built schools, funded schools, supported schools... They also forget that it would be impossible to purchase all the land, buildings etc that Christians have donated for the use of education. Never mind fund the 10% of budgets that faith-based schools have to pay themselves.

There was also great issue with the fact that this 'fundamental liberty' of parents, is in fact some kind of abuse of parents to their children. I'd suggest that students of faith-schools get a wide ranging education of their parents' faith and can then decide whether or not they choose to believe. A reader that comments that in France, faith-schools are illegal and that this is a better way. France a country that continues to have rising tensions, particularly in ethnically diverse and economically poor areas.

It concludes by highlighting the irony of the secularists:

The irony is that while secularists accuse Catholic schools of "politically indoctrinating" their pupils, the real political indoctrination taking place here is the never ending attempt to prevent Catholic schools from imparting their values to their pupils. It is this intolerant desire to force Catholic schools to bend their knee to every mainstream political idea – whether it's on "safe sex" or "same-sex marriage" – which smacks of indoctrination, of attempting to cleanse institutions of the "wrong" way of thinking and make them repeat chattering-class catechisms.

As discussed on here before, I'm still undecided on the campaign against same-sex marriage. However, one thing I am sure of , is that Catholic schools increasingly need to fight for their identify under increasing pressure.

Is it really that shocking that Catholic schools are teaching Catholic ideas? Do you think Catholic schools should be reduced to just schools? Is Gove right to start investigating?

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