No one has ever picked a fight with the people of Ireland and been glad that they did:
To the people of Ireland, send us an address, we’ll send you a bumper sticker!
So what does Rule 68 say?
It begins by stating that “of all the parts of a school curriculum Religious Instruction is by far the most important”. It goes on to say that “a religious spirit should inform and vivify the whole work of the school.” Its now seen, by the Forum and others, as a major obstacle to the freeing up of Irish Primary schools to fully cater for children of all religions and none.
Fr Drumm called for a new articulation of what the rule intended. He and others fear the potential loss of a distinctive Catholic ethos in Catholic schools as a result of any shake-up.
He pointed out that Rule 68 was not the only one in need of reviewing and few would argue with that.
Rule 69 for instance, which also deals with religion, calls for the denomination of each pupil to be ascertained from the parent, “the father, if possible”, it adds. (We all know how unreliable mothers can be in such matters!)
The full text of the controversial Rule 68 is as follows;
“Of all the parts of a school curriculum Religious Instruction is by far the most important, as its subject-matter, God’s honour and service, includes the proper use of all man’s faculties, and affords the most powerful inducements to their proper use. Religious Instruction is, therefore, a fundamental part of the school course, and a religious spirit should inform and vivify the whole work of the school.
The teacher should constantly inculcate the practice of charity, justice, truth, purity, patience, temperance, obedience to lawful authority, and all the other moral virtues. In this way he will fulfil the primary duty of an educater, the moulding to perfect form of his pupils’character, habituating them to observe, in their relations with God and with their neighbour, the laws which God, both directly through the dictates of natural reason and through Revelation, and indirectly through the ordinance of lawful authority, imposes on mankind.”