ARCHBISHOP OF DUBLIN Diarmuid Martin has said Catholic education will not be written off completely in Ireland.
Speaking at a Mass to celebrate the new school year, the Archbishop told principals and teachers in Dublin that there is still be a role for Catholic education in Ireland.
“There are some who would wish to write off Catholic education altogether in the Ireland of the future. That will not be the case,” he said during his Homily.
However, he did concede that a “substantial redesign” of school provision and patronage is “inevitable” and “even desirable”.
A new position within an education framework may involve divesting schools, he added.
In today’s and tomorrow’s Ireland, Catholic education will have to fight its own corner within a pluralist environment by the delivery of education that is recognised by parents and educators as something that it would be wrong to ignore.”
He added that Catholic education should also “prove itself in its ability to respond to the rights of parents and to really provide the best in educational excellence and it must learn to do so by stressing precisely its role as Catholic education.”
In the past, he said, one of the greatest contributions of Catholic education was that it reached out in a special way to the poor and disadvantaged. This should continue in the future, said Archbishop Martin.
In its new role, Catholic education must be faith-filled and faith-directed but not impose something upon young people, he concluded.
Earlier today, the Archbishop denied claims that Catholic parish funds are being used to compensate victims of clerical sex abuse.
He was responding to claims made in the Irish Catholic newspaper that such funds are being used to compensate victims in the archdiocese.
Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Dr Martin said that parishes with a surplus have been asked to contribute to a general fund.
This fund has not been used to cover the cost of clerical abuse claims. It has a variety of purposes, according to the Archbishop.