21 JUNE  2007







 Cardinal Pell, the head of the Roman Catholic Sydney Archdiocese, has provided Australian citizens with a vivid example of why Church schools cannot qualify as Public. In a draft pastoral plan circulated to all parishes of the Sydney dioceses he wants the 167 school principals, deputy principals and religious education co-ordinators of his schools to commit publicly to a "vow of fidelity" by adhering to church teaching on homosexuality, birth control and women's ordination. Please note that the Roman Catholic schools in the Sydney diocese are in fact and law HIS schools, since he is the Bishop Sole.

In our public education systems one of the central requirements is a "no religious" test. There is not and must not ever be a religious test for employment in that system - whether a person is a principal, teacher, administrator, cleaner etc. etc. For this reason alone, Cardinal Pell's system, namely the Roman Catholic system of schools can never be considered a part of the "public" education system. For this reason also, the public and denominational systems should be kept strictly separate.

Of course, there is nothing new about a 'religious requirement' for employment in the Roman Catholic education system. DOGS could provide countless examples over decades of such a requirement, even though religious witnesses in the DOGS High Court Case  confused this issue. 

After the DOGS High Court case the Roman Catholic Church has continued to demand a religious commitment for employment, career opportunities and promotion in that system.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald of June 4, 2007, the "oath" required of principals etc. by Cardinal Pell:

"demands 'religious submission of intellect and will' on questions of faith and morals - even if these are inferred but not defined by the pope and his bishops - and an acceptance that everything solemnly taught by church tradition is divinely inspired...."

Other new measures  were announced:

  •  marriage preparation classes for senior secondary school students,

  • twice yearly reviews of its educational bodies, and

  •  forums so that Roman Catholic politicians can be updated on church teachings.

The Sydney Auxiliary Bishop, Julian Porteous said that the oath would act as a reminder to educational leaders of their role in promoting church teachings. DOGS quote:

" Anybody who speaks in a Catholic education institution is meant to be presenting the Catholic faith in its integrity. There can be a place for theologians to make explorations of criticism but in teaching position the role is to very much be faithful to the teaching of the church."

Cardinal Pell dealt with religious tests for adults. His fellow Archbishop in Hobart, Archbishop Adrian Doyle has re-iterated the Roman Catholic religious tests for children. In doind so he provided further evidence of why such schools can never be regarded as part of a public education system.

At an annual Conference of the Tasmanian Catholic Schools Parents and Friends Federation on 28 April 2007, (David Bartlett, the Minister for Education in attendance), Doyle  said:

  • "We should always bear in mind that the first obligation of Catholic education is to Catholic students and their families "

  • "There are very many Catholic students attending State schools for a variety of reasons and we would really prefer them to be in our system. We must all work harder to encourage them into Catholic education."

  • "Our Catholic education system will always give preference to those who are Catholics and I must say even more so to those who are practising Catholics..."

  • "The local parish community and priests would help determine those 'who are of the household of faith' for enrolment purposes'

The Mercury , June 1, 2007 picked up on his address and commented that Archbishop Doyle wanted the numbers of baptised students in Tasmanian Catholic Schools to rise to 75%.

The Church was accordingly seeking an exemption under the Tasmanian anti-discrimination Act to turn away non-Catholic students starting with the new high school at Huntingfield.  In his speech he indicated that other states had already such an exemption.

If you think this is a problem only in Australia, think again. On Friday 8 June, 2007, the Scotsman had a report headed

" Jobs Bar on Non-Catholic Teachers Iniquitous" DOGS quote:

"Teaching leaders yesterday reiterated their criticism of the Catholic Church's right to select teachers for denominational schools on the basis of their faith. The attack was made by John Quigley, outgoing president of the Educational Institute of Scotland."

"How do you measure somebody's religious commitment and moral standing with a view to establishing whether a skilled and qualified teacher should be denied employment on these grounds alone?

Yet we have a law which says you can make such judgments and on these grounds alone deny jobs to people in schools which they are funding through their own rates and taxes.

Under the 1980 Education Act (Scotland) the Catholic Church has the right to veto teachers on grounds of faith. But there are concerns the law conflicts with the European Convention on Human Rights which protects people from discrimination on religious grounds"

Well there you have it. Religious men demand special dispensation from human rights while demanding taxpayers funds for their  particular "human rights" in sectarian enterprises.

All the above indicates why church schools in general and Roman Catholic Schools in particular  can never be part of a public education system.

It also indicates why the Founding Fathers put Section 116 in the Constitution, in their attempt to make sure that public money should never be given for sectarian purposes in this country . And what has happened to Separation of Church and State in Australia?









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Last modified:Wednesday, 20 June 2007