Letter published in Irish Times – Schools and preparation for sacraments

20/09/2022 09:00 - 09:00


Sir, – Reports that the Catholic Church in Dublin is to start moving the preparation of children for sacraments out of the classroom are welcome, but they are exaggerated when compared to the full policy document published by the archdiocese (“Church set to move children’s preparation for sacraments from classroom to parish”, News, September 17th).

The full policy document says that schools will continue to “educate children for the sacraments”, with “content specific to” each sacrament being “a two-year process”. Whatever this means, it seems to have quite an overlap with preparing children for sacraments.

The policy document also contains a statement that highlights the double standards of the Catholic Church with regard to the role of parents. It says: “Parents have an irreplaceable role as primary agents in their children’s faith life. Parish and school seek to support the primary role of the parents in partnership with them.”

State-funded schools should also apply this principle to parents who are atheists or are members of minority religious faiths, but of course they don’t. Atheist Ireland continues to campaign for secular State-funded schools that treat everybody equally regardless of their religious or non-religious beliefs. Schools should teach, and churches should preach. – Yours, etc,



Jane Donnelly,

Human Rights Officer,

Atheist Ireland,


Dublin 9.