A Journal for The Contemporary Church

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Catholic primary schools – on rapidly thinning ice


TheCatholic Church in Ireland invests considerable resources in Catholic education, such as personnel, property, time, land and finance. I think it is worth asking if these resources are well placed in furthering the mission of the Church in Ireland or are there more effective ways that the Church can use these resources in realising the reign of God for Ireland and the world.

For instance, there are currently 2,800 primary Catholic schools in Ireland. Each school has a board of management which has 9 members: the chairperson, the principal, a teacher, two parents, two community representatives and two nominees of the patron – that means there are about 25,200 people giving of their time voluntarily towards Catholic education in their local schools. The patron (the Catholic Church) is directly responsible for inviting three people, the chairperson and two others to participate on the board on its behalf: 8,400 people who give regularly of their time and expertise to the local school on behalf of the Church. I wonder if that is the best use of the talent and ability of these people in the service of the Church’s mission in Ireland today.