CARDINAL George Pell is among a group of Catholic leaders calling on the church’s schools to maximise their enrolment of Catholic children.
According to News Limited today, Dr Pell and his group want preference given to children from a school’s parish, followed by other Catholics, then other Christians and then finally to students with other religions.
The schools have been urged, in an edict reportedly signed by Dr Pell, to “re-examine how they might maximise enrolment of Catholic students”.
They have also been urged to increase the proportion of school staff who are “practising and knowledgeable Catholics”.
Catholic families will also be urged to “maximise their participation”.
The letter, with Dr Pell as head signatory, said: “Half the students of Catholic families are enrolled in state schools and a growing proportion go to non-Catholic independent schools.
I think that you could write a program to determine the bias in a news story based on the words used. Certainly the word "edict" would be a highly weighted word in this context. A document you like is called a letter or instruction, one you don’t like is called an edict.
I wonder how long it will take before some Australian columnist links this to the new CDF document as another attack on non-Catholics. What the Cardinal is requesting is of course common sense and when you get a high index on non-Catholic students and teachers you are usually going to end up with a non-Catholic school or one with a "Catholic Identity" but hardly any actual Catholic content.
A writer in another column that gives two views on this writes:
Catholic schools exist not only because of a percentage of government funding, but also because of sacrifices and donations made by previous generations of Catholics, many working class.
The more non-Catholics they take, the more Catholic schools risk weakening the importance of the Church’s teachings and philosophy alongside academia.
While the opposing writer says:
But at the risk of getting into a biblical slanging match with any member of the clergy, there seems to be a pretty convincing argument that Jesus wouldn’t be falling over Himself to endorse the Church’s present line of thinking.
In the Gospel of St Mark, His views on the issue seem pretty unequivocal: "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners," he said.
No one is suggesting Catholic children shouldn’t be brought up in the faith, or that Catholic parents shouldn’t enrol their kids in schools catering to their beliefs.
But to encourage the inclusion of some children more than others seems to fly in the face of everything I was taught at school.
I was not surprised to see her ending line to be "As a product of the Catholic education system, I find that pretty extraordinary." I find her scriptural argument to be rather weak since as every Catholic parent knows their children are sinners also.