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We’ve disgraced ourselves again… etcetera… May 25, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I actually agree with a lot of what is in this column in the IT from the weekend by Jennifer O’Connell in relation to religion and education. Like many of us here, I suspect, I would seek an entirely universal secular education system. I wouldn’t be averse for those who wanted it, that schools would be open after-hours to the involvement of religious, community groups, or political groups at that!

But where I do part company is this.

It’s a strange little country we live in. A country where Stephen Fry was subject to a criminal investigation for expressing the view that a God who would give bone cancer to children must not be a benevolent one. A country where legislators voted to uphold the practice of beseeching God for guidance in the Dáil. A country where non-Catholics baptise their children to secure them a place in school. A country where the bells of the Angelus peal daily at six. A country where children are segregated in school according to their parents’ religion or lack of it – and isolated if it doesn’t conform to the mainstream ideology.

I don’t really see why we need to see it in terms of others. Rather let’s just address these matters because we have to and because it is the right thing to do. Others whose own systems are equally, perhaps in some ways more in some ways less, compromised by religion in education, state, political structures.

And by the way, just on that, isn’t the emphasis on one of two words in this particular article in regard to a very particular artefact revealing? And just to be clear I understand and agree with those critiquing it.


1. Ed - May 25, 2017

I think it was Eamonncork who first mentioned the phrase ‘apologising to the invisible Englishman’ here for moments like this. I discovered a few weeks ago that they have exactly the same concept in Portugal, ‘para inglés ver’—literally it means ‘for the Englishman to see’, but people use it whenever someone is putting on a show for the sake of appearances. We’re all the same really.


2. bjg - May 25, 2017
3. Lamentreat - May 25, 2017

That seems a bit of an over-sensitive reaction to that paragraph. She makes no explicit comparison with anywhere else other than with American secularism elsewhere in the piece (a point weakened by her forgetting the daily pledge of allegiance in American schools).

And every single one of her points in that paragraph is spot on. Sure, “apologizing to the invisible Englishman” does exist, but not every criticism of the country is an example of it.

The only thing maybe vaguely pointing to it is the word “little”. Cut that and I don’t see the problem.


WorldbyStorm - May 25, 2017

I did wonder if I was being a bit over sensitive when I wrote it, but I think the fact it is the phrase ‘this country’ as if somehow everywhere else is a haven of reason. And I also think that is almost evasionary on the part of those using it because somehow ‘this country’ managed to vote for same-sex marriage or did x or did y. So does she think we are a ‘strange little country’ due to that too? And if not why not?

I do agree, and I said it too above, that I’m in general agreement with her argument otherwise.


4. CL - May 25, 2017

“In Ireland, these state institutions such as schools, hospitals, and charities run by the religious orders were supposed to, under difficult circumstances, and with little money, serve public purposes….
If Ireland is to finally become the progressive, worldly, forward, outward looking, secular modern European nation it seeks to be, its citizens must dissolve those institutions— once and for all— from the backward, poisonous and tyrannical forces of Roman Catholicism which has held the country back for so many years.”


EWI - May 25, 2017

Not just the RCC – but the COI as well, as Griffith College professors are rightly scalding the D4 media on, time after time.


5. DSCH - May 25, 2017

The bar for being the laughing stock of the civilized world has been set unattainably high in the age of Trump and Brexit.


WorldbyStorm - May 25, 2017

There is that! I genuinely take on board lamentreat’s points above and hesitated on posting this cos of similar thoughts.

By the by, how are you? Long time no hear.


DSCH - May 26, 2017

Still lurking here for my sins!


WorldbyStorm - May 26, 2017

Ah, that’s appreciated!


6. E C - May 25, 2017

I would never expect a columnist for the Irish Times’ to display much awareness of class instincts. Plenty in this country want the CC to keep their influence going in the education system so as to keep going the status quo ante. Happens in countries not far from here as well. And in the USA

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