We are all Protestants now. Or at least that is the opinion of our Education Minister Ruairi Quinn (pictured) who was interviewed by The Sunday Independent last weekend.
The Minister was commenting on the widely publicised opinion poll commissioned by the Association of Catholic Priests which confirmed that lots of Catholics don’t go along with certain teachings of their Church.
It showed, for example, that a big majority want married priests and women priests.
Quinn’s take on the poll? “All our Catholics are Protestants, it seems to me from this new survey”, he said.
Quinn made the remark in the context of overall comments about the future of denominational education.
In those comments Quinn oozed concern about the rights of parents who don’t believe in the faith of the school their children go to. However, he exhibited no concern whatever for the rights of parents who want their children to receive a meaningfully denominational education.
Our Education Minister is much more concerned about freedom from religion than he is about freedom of religion.
But what relevance his remark about Catholics becoming Protestants has to the wider debate about denominational schools eludes me.
Even if he is right that we are all Protestants now, all of us de facto Protestants are still entitled to a genuinely denominational education for our children.
It seems the Minister didn’t really think through what he was saying. Or was he merely grabbing another opportunity to have a go at the Catholic Church?