You two need to talk, Father!
THE Catholic Church [in Sidney, Australia] wants to discourage non-Catholic families from enrolling their children in its schools under a return to strict religious values.
Church leaders headed by Cardinal George Pell yesterday issued an edict to all Catholic schools, demanding that students and their parents be more devout and outlining a plan to lure back thousands of poorer families who have left the system.
The Church will not ban non-Catholic students from enrolment - it says it considered, but rejected, plans for a formal "downsizing to accommodate only those who are committed to the faith".
But it wants to introduce a new four- way selection test to give preference first to children from the school's local parish, then to other Catholics, other Christians and finally children from other religions.
The state's 585 Catholic schools have been urged to "re-examine how they might maximise enrolment of Catholic students".
The edict also tells Catholic schools to increase the proportion of school staff who are "practising and knowledgeable Catholics".
Church leaders want more people at Sunday Mass and deeper involvement in the life of the local church by students and ex-students.
The letter, with Cardinal Pell as head signatory, said: "Half the students of Catholic families are enrolled in state schools and a growing proportion go to non-Catholic independent schools.
"Another enrolment trend of particular concern has been the decline in representation in our schools of students from both poorer and wealthier families." [...Snip] The Daily Telegraph