Following their meeting at Scotus College in Glasgow today Scotland's Catholic Bishops have restated their strong backing for Catholic schools:
"It is with increasing alarm that we have witnessed the recent negative media coverage of denominational education. We are dismayed and angered by attempts to link the existence of Catholic schools to sectarianism in society.
As a Church we abhor bigotry and sectarianism wherever they are found. We continue to work tirelessly with people of all faiths to promote dialogue and tolerance. Under no circumstances can we accept the assertion that denominational schools promote or perpetuate bigotry. Catholic schools exist worldwide without being accused of leading to sectarianism. Catholic parents and others have a right to have their children educated in accordance with their own beliefs. Those same parents as taxpayers having paid their contribution to society now ask for an education service in accordance with their religious convictions. To deny this would be to strike at their fundamental human rights.
While 'shared campus' arrangements are not our preferred option we can where local needs dictate accommodate such arrangements provided certain conditions are met which preserve the ethos and identity of the Catholic school.
The facts however remain clear: more than 90% of catholic parents make use of catholic schools, where they are available. 80% of catholic parents believe the provision of catholic schools to be an important issue and over half of all Scots believe it is important that Catholic schools are available for those who wish them. *
With this in mind we would urge the catholic community of Scotland to take the opportunity presented by the Scottish Parliament elections in less then five months time to raise the issue of education, especially with their candidates across the country and convey in the strongest terms their support for catholic schools."
* System 3 Opinion Poll, May 2002
Catholic Media Office
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