Barack Obama urged an end to segregated schools in Northern Ireland, warning Protestant and Catholic children should study together to bring long-lasting peace.The US President used a speech to thousands of young people in Belfast to urge them that the ‘fate of peace’ is up to their generation.
The Catholic media is up in arms over comments President Obama made during a speech while in Northern Ireland for the G8 summit. Obama made what is described as “an alarming call for an end to Catholic education,” in spite of the fact that it is considered “a critical component of the Church.”
In front of an audience of about 2,000 young people, including many Catholics, Obama claimed that Catholic education divides people and blocks peace, according to the Scottish Catholic Observer.
“If towns remain divided—if Catholics have their schools and buildings and Protestants have theirs, if we can’t see ourselves in one another and fear or resentment are allowed to harden—that too encourages division and discourages cooperation,” Obama said.
Catholic World News noted:
“Ironically, President Obama made his comments just as Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told a crowd in Scotland that religious education upholds the dignity of the human person. Archbishop Müller said that Catholic schools should promote “all that is good in the philosophies of societies and human culture.””
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf quoted the Observer’s article on Fr. Z’s blog and added:
“Another example of what this man wants: total isolation of any religious values in the private sphere alone. Pres. Obama is working either to intimidate or legislate or even TAX religious freedom out of the public square.
Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a foreign visit to a Islamic nation where he told people on his arrival that they shouldn’t have madrasas. Can you?
Did he when visiting, say, Israel, say “You Jews shouldn’t have synagogue schools and you muslims shouldn’t have mosque schools.” I can’t remember. Did he?”
Each of the articles drew numerous public comments, most suggesting that Obama be more concerned about the public schools in the United States than their parochial schools, which are working just fine.
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