“What we need is variety in patronage, improvement in the quality of all schools and that is where real opportunity will arise,” the Archbishop said.
At a Mass to mark the beginning of the new school year, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin warns that a narrow one-size-fits-all financial model can easily become a straitjacket for disadvantaged schools.
“In recent years, faith schools have been poorly served, at times, by news media. Too often, there is a failure to ensure that hyperbole and opinion are counterbalanced with evidence-based facts.”
Geoff Meagher highlighted how there has been better emphasis on “quality visitation”, spending more time really understanding the needs of those served and coming up with a plan that will get them back to self sufficiency.
“A faith school has a right to have a faith-based ethos. Parents have a right to send their children to a school with a faith ethos that can permeate the school day”.
Without a conscious effort to maintain a distinctly Catholic ethos, it can dissolve into non-descript and vague spiritualism or disappear entirely.
The real demand in Ireland is not for secular schools but for school places and providing adequate places is the responsibility, not of the Catholic Church, but of the State.