Separate but equal? Schools and the politics of religion and diversity in the Republic of Ireland focuses on the historical and current place of religion in the Irish education system from the perspective of children’s rights and citizenship. It offers a critical analysis of the political, cultural and social forces that have perpetuated the patronage system, looks at the ways in which the denominational model has been adapted to increased religious and cultural diversity in Irish society and shows that recent changes have failed to address persistent discrimination and the absence of respect for freedom of conscience. It relates current debates on the denominational system and the role of the State in education to Irish political thought and conceptions of national identity in Ireland, showing the ways in which such debates reflect a tension between nationalist-communitarian and republican political outlooks. There have been efforts towards accommodation and against instances of discrimination within the system, but Irish educational structures still privilege communal and private interests and hierarchies over equal rights, either in the name of a de facto ‘majority’ right to religious domination or by virtue of a deeply flawed and limited view of ‘parental choice’.
State in terms of the recent English
past. Warburton, though, seemed to have avoided any explicit engagement
with history in the Alliance: in fact, he had structured its argument quite
intentionally to avoid the inconclusive wrangling that so often characterized
early modern historical scholarship. Yet the Alliance, no less than every other
eighteenth-century work on English Church–staterelations, ruminated on
the previous century’s internecine religious and political conflicts and proposed solutions to forestall them ever happening again.
This chapter anatomizes
Religion is implicated both in questions of institutional design and in what might
loosely be termed republican social politics. In this chapter, we offer a republican
analysis of the constitutional framework for Church–Staterelations in Ireland.
The provisions concerning religion in the 1937 Constitution are ambiguously
poised between contradictory theoretical models: on the one hand, religion is
accorded an essentially private status for most practical purposes; on the other, it
is given strong symbolic recognition as a central feature of national identity, and
Clarendon, Cressy and Hobbes, and the past, present and future of the Church of England
The lives, and political thought, of Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, and Thomas Hobbes, were closely interwoven. In many ways opposed, their views on the relationship between Church and State have often been seen as less far apart, with Clarendon sharing Hobbes’s Erastianism and concerns about clerical assertiveness in the 1660s. But Clarendon’s writings on Church-State relations during the 1670s provide little evidence of concern about clerical involvement in politics, and demonstrate his vigorous adherence to a fairly conventional view among early seventeenth-century churchmen about the proper boundaries to royal interference in the Church; his worries about attempts to push further the implications of the royal supremacy in ecclesiastical affairs are evident in his writings against Hobbes, as are his even greater anxieties, exacerbated by the conversion of his daughter, the Duchess of York, about the dangers of Roman Catholic encroachment.
Political reality and religious principle, 1945–56
six weeks old, the scheme still contained the elements that the hierarchy had objected to, and although they wished to be consulted in the drafting process, Dr Staunton cautioned against directly asking for that privilege
‘lest the Government might refuse to acquiesce’.173 This change in attitude
reflected how significant the Browne scandal had been in terms of Church–
Staterelations, and showed that the hierarchy was deeply concerned about
public opinion. When Browne had published correspondence between the
hierarchy and the Department of Health in April 1951, the
reveals, is that Irish women – rural and urban, lower-class and
middle-class, and across a century of unprecedented political and
economic change – were consistently active in the creation of modern
Catholicism, emerging, in the process, not as mere symbols but also
key contributors to the family, community, faith, and future.
1 Eamonn McKee, ‘Church-staterelations and the development of Irish
health policy: the Mother-and-Child Scheme, 1944–1953’, Irish
Historical Studies 25: 98 (1986), p. 171.
2 Letter from Catholic hierarchy to the
jurisdiction to exercise spiritual
discipline. 4 Those dubbed
‘Erastians’, on the other hand, perceived that to establish such a dualist
model of church–staterelations would lead to either theocratic tyranny or political
The dispute over ecclesiastical power also looked to the pressing political
question of preventing the church in England from returning to being an arm of royal power.
For its supporters, presbyterianism represented a means to reform the church so that it was
both responsive to local
, from social justice and women’s rights to peace and arbitration. This
is not to say that their outlook on these matters was identical. However, the
effort to promote an issue across national borders helped activists to affirm
both the progressive nature of their specific undertaking and of internationalism
more generally – even if the essence of such ‘progress’ was defined differently
by different actors.
This aspect is particularly interesting if one bears in mind that Belgian
activists disagreed with each other in domestic debates, for instance on church–
enforced public morality offered the only
potential bulwark against the acceleration of secularisation. The state, he argued,
had a duty to Ireland’s Catholic majority to enforce Catholic public morality.
The Catholic ideal, he insisted, in his book Studies in Political Morality (1962)
was for an established Church. It should never surrender this ideal in theoretical
discussions on Church–staterelations. More generally it should never surrender
the primacy of theology to political theory. He faulted progressive American
theologians for having done so. The demands of the
morality offered the only potential bulwark against
the acceleration of secularisation. The state, he argued, had a duty to
Ireland’s Catholic majority to enforce Catholic public morality.
The Catholic ideal, he insisted in his book Studies in Political Morality
(1962), was for an established Church. It should never surrender this
ideal in theoretical discussions on Church–staterelations. More generally it should never surrender the primacy of theology to political theory.
He faulted progressive American theologians for having done so. The
demands of the Church of