Catholic Ethos Disappearing in Irish Schools

Apr 25, 2024 | 0 comments

As younger generations of Irish teachers lose interest in ‘the Catholic Ethos’ time is running out to conserve a thriving Catholic school sector. The pace of divestment (that is, relinquishment to the Irish state) of Catholic-owned schools must quicken to enable a concentration of resources for a thriving but reduced Catholic school presence in Irish education.

This is the main conclusion of an important series of six reports of large-scale research into changing attitudes to the Catholic school ethos, published by Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

Based on surveys of thousands of Irish school personnel, the reports show that teachers in the age category 18-29 are becoming “more and more removed from the Catholic faith”, according to co-author Dr Eamonn Conway.

“Three out of 10 under 29 years teaching at second level make it very clear they don’t witness to or support the Catholic ethos,” he said.

Predicting as they do far fewer Irish Catholic schools, these reports can only intensify the debate around Catholic faith formation, and underline what now appears to have been an historic Irish Catholic mistake in over-relying on schools to pass the faith to rising generations.  Already ongoing in some situations, the move towards parent-and-parish based sacramental preparation of children seems set to intensify.

For a link to these six reports, entitled ‘Identity and Ethos in Catholic Primary and Secondary Schools in Ireland: Exploring the Attitudes and Behaviours of Stakeholders‘, click here


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