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Episode 083: Scrap the Catholic Religious Certificate
Episode 835th December 2023 • Anseo.net - If I were the Minister for Education • Simon Lewis
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Join me as I tackle a question that I feel we should be asking more often: Is the Catholic Certificate in Religious Education discriminatory? Following on from Peter Maguire's excellent article on the subject, I dive into all sides of the debate, chatting about the contents of the certificate, the challenges it poses for non-Catholics, and the arguments for and against its requirement. Strap in for an honest, no-holds-barred conversation (with an alien) that'll hopefully make you rethink the education system and what I would do if I Were the Minister for Education.

Show notes, as always, on https://simonmlewis.medium.com

Transcripts

Simon:

Hello, you're welcome to If I Were the Minister for Education from Anseo.

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net

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Is it discrimination to ask

for the Catholic Certificate

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in Religious Education?

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Peter Maguire wrote an article

in the Irish Times on the 31st of

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October this year, 2023, titled Only

Catholics Need Apply, where he asked

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if the requirement of a certificate

in Catholic Religious Education was

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stopping people from becoming teachers.

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Despite interviewing a number of

people affected, including myself, none

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of us could come up with an answer.

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How can you possibly discriminate

against someone who doesn't

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fill in the application form?

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In this episode, I'll be exploring

whether it is discrimination to ask

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for a Catholic certificate in religious

education if you want to work in a

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primary school, and what I would do

If I were the Minister for Education.

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Hello, hello.

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You're welcome to If I were the

Minister for Education from Anseo.

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net, a regular podcast where I take an

aspect of the Irish primary education

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system and I tell you what I might do

if I were the Minister for Education.

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This is Simon Lewis.

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You're very welcome to this episode

where I'm talking about the Catholic

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Certificate in Religious Education,

something that if you went to an

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Irish teacher training college,

you're probably very familiar with.

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Although it is an optional certificate to

do, it is the key to working in over 90

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percent of primary schools in the country,

because if you are applying for a job,

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it was something that will be looked for.

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However, Is it

discriminatory to ask for it?

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I guess if you work in a catholic school

some might argue that it's important

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for you to be able to be qualified to

teach the religious education program

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and some people might say it is

discriminatory because over 90 percent

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of schools are of a catholic ethos

so therefore it's put in as a barrier

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to stop people from working in it.

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But You probably wouldn't be surprised

to hear what I would think on it, so

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rather than listening to me, I decided

I'd ask a fairly neutral source of

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information about whether a religious

certificate in a particular faith is

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discriminatory, because of course,

for those of you who are listening

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you might be shouting at me already

saying, it's not just the Catholics.

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Why are you always going

on about the Catholics?

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Yes you're absolutely correct.

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If you work in a Church of Ireland

school or you want to work in a Church of

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Ireland school, I'm not sure if there's

a certificate in it now, to be honest

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with you, but you are there is a kind

of a question about upholding the ethos

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and making sure that you're ready to be

a teacher in a Church of Ireland school.

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And I would imagine it's

similar in a Muslim school.

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But then again, I don't know and

certainly in a Jewish school, I can,

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I don't know again either if there's

a certificate of, I doubt it because

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I don't think there are any Jewish

teachers at the moment in the system.

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So it would be very difficult

to figure that one out.

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But I imagine there's some

sort of training or some sort

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of meeting or something like

that or some sort of course.

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And then if you're still shouting

at me saying, Well, what about you,

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Educate Together Schools and all these

other community national schools?

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You have things.

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Right now at the moment, yes, there

is a summer course that people can

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do or for to become, or they can do

a qualification in college to learn

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about the ethical education program

that Educate Together Schools run.

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But at the moment, that is

not a requirement to teach in

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an Educate Together school.

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I'm not quite sure what the

community national schools are doing.

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Personally, I am against the idea of

compulsory certificates in ethos, because

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essentially what I see or what I feel

is it's exclusionary on the basis.

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Of religion or ethos, I think if

you want to work in a particular

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school, that shouldn't be the barrier.

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If you're a qualified teacher, you should

be able to teach in any primary school.

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But I mean, I suppose we're,

we're, we're going a little

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bit off topic for the moment.

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Although we probably aren't

going off topic for the moment.

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In fact, the weird thing about this

Religious Certificate in Education or,

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or it's, or it's equivalents is that

it is being used to, in some ways I

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would argue, is being used to prevent

people from teaching in these schools.

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And in a bigger picture, is preventing

people from going into teaching at all.

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Because if you know that you

have a nine out of ten chance of

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teaching in a Catholic school.

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Therefore, it would seem sensible to do

the certificate in religious education

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in Catholic, in the Catholic education

because you've 90 percent of a chance

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of working in one of those schools.

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And but what if you aren't Catholic.

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And you have to do this certificate

because, you know, the content of

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that certificate could be well, it

could go against your conscience.

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It certainly would go against mine

my freedom of conscience, my freedom

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of religion and all the rest of it.

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So absolutely it is a problem.

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As I said, let's get a

neutral voice in this.

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So rather than me telling you.

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And it's insisting that this

religious certificate in a

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particular faith is discriminatory.

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I said I'd ask a non biased source.

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And short of finding an alien,

because that who maybe just landed on

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Earth, I found the next best thing.

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And you might not be surprised

here, given how much I'm going

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on about artificial intelligence.

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It's ChatGPT.

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And before I put any ideas Into its head.

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And because you can do that with chat

GPT, you can train it to be a certain way.

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You can say Hello chat,

GPT, or whatever it is.

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You are a, you know, helpful

assistant that has this particular

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thoughts on a particular thing.

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I just thought it might be a good idea

to, the first question to ask chat, GPT,

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who is a neutral observer in the world?

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What is the certificate?

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What does it consist of?

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And.

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This is what it offered.

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The Certificate in Catholic Religious

Education, CCRE, it has an acronym,

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is a qualification that many

teachers in Ireland acquire if they

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want to teach in Catholic primary

schools, which form a significant

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portion of the schools in Ireland.

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Here's a summary of

what's typically involved.

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So straight away, CHAT GPT knows

that if you want to work in an

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Irish primary school, you need it.

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And they also make the point

that it forms a significant

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portion of schools in Ireland.

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Interesting.

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So here's actually what it is.

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For those of you who don't know,

who haven't done the certificate,

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because I think a lot of people

listening to saying, ah, it's only

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a little certificate or whatever.

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Who cares?

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You know, it's only a small thing,

but this is what it contains.

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Number one.

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Theoretical foundations.

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So this delves into the core tenets

of Catholic theology, scripture,

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liturgy, and church history.

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It provides educators with a foundational

understanding of the Catholic faith.

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So, That's pretty straightforward.

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I don't think there's any problems

with theology as long as it's not

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indoctrinating, let's say, and forcing

you to become a member of that faith.

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So, number two is pedagogy

of religious education.

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So this component equips teachers with

effective methods to communicate and

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impart the Catholic faith to young

students, adapting to their cognitive

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and emotional development levels.

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Now that's where I've

had my first problem.

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It equips teachers with

effective methods to communicate.

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impart the Catholic faith.

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So the job of the teacher is

to impart the Catholic faith.

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Some people say they're just

inviting the children in.

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Some people will argue, Oh,

no, no, there should, there

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are only a few little prayers.

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Everyone's just being nice.

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No, no.

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The job of a teacher is to impart

the Catholic faith to young students.

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So there's an issue there and

to do that certificate, that's

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what you're being trained to do.

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Number three, spiritual

and personal development.

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Here, participants often engage in

retreats, spiritual readings, and

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other activities that deepen their

personal relationship with God and

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understanding of the Catholic faith.

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So again, we're getting into

not just education, we're

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getting into faith formation.

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We're getting into the, I know people

don't like the word indoctrination,

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but it is exactly what it is.

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So in fact, like the teachers who

were taking on this course are being

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encouraged to deepen their Catholic faith.

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They're not not just their own faith,

or if they have one, but they're

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actually encouraged for their own

spiritual and personal development,

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which is Absolutely outrageous to me,

but, you know, again, it's just there.

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That's what it says.

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Number four, school and parish link.

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This emphasizes the close

relationship between the Catholic

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school and the local parish.

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Teachers are trained to foster this

link and to ensure that their teaching

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is in line with the practices and

beliefs of the local parish community.

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So again, what we're doing here,

we're saying, Seeing that there

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is a close relationship between

the school and the church.

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Now again, this is something that

people deny and they say, Oh no, there's

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no link here and barely ever see the

priest and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

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But the thing is, when you are doing

this course, you are taught that

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this is what's supposed to happen.

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You know, so an interesting kind of thing.

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Number five, practical experience.

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Participants usually have to teach or

assist in religious classes, often under

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the guidance of supervision of a mentor.

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This gives them hands on experience of

teaching in Catholic religious education,

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which obviously makes sense if you are

going to be teaching Catholic education.

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And then six assessment, depending

on the program, there may be written

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examinations, coursework, practical

assessments, or a combination of

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these to evaluate the participants

understanding and capabilities.

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It's important to understand that

this certificate emphasizes the

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Catholic ethos, this is still Jack

GBT, and its integration into the

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broader curriculum and school culture.

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In Ireland, since the vast majority

of primary schools have historically

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been under Catholic patronage, the

CCRE has been seen as an essential

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qualification for many teaching roles.

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Now, I don't think anyone would

argue with any of the above.

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That's just ChatGPT saying what it is.

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I decided to ask something I'm

interested in, and that's whether

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one is required to study Catholic

scriptures as part of the course.

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Because I can't find

it on the actual site.

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You know, it's very interesting, I think,

on the actual websites of these things.

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They don't really tell

you very, very much.

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It's as if, I don't know if they're,

they're not, clearly they're not

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embarrassed or anything like that,

but it's like they don't want to.

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overtly say what they're doing.

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But you can see really from those first,

those six points, you know, how there

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is faith formation happening in these

in this, in this course, not just for

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training you to be faith formers or to be

missionaries or whatever the word is, but

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they're trying, and part of the course

is to make you look at your own Catholic

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faith, even if you don't have one.

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And that's kind of, That's kind of,

I find that outrageous, I really do.

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But I wanted to find out, because this

didn't go a bit deeper enough, but I

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just wanted to find out, do you actually

have to study Catholic scriptures?

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As part of this and the answer was yes,

the study of scriptures is typically

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a key component of the Certificate

in Catholic Religious Education.

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Understanding the Bible, both the Old

and New Testaments, is foundational

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to Catholic Religious Education.

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And it goes into that, and to be

honest with you, I'm not going to

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read the whole thing but it but it

goes in about how important it is.

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to explore key events in the Old Testament

and the New Testament, how to interpret

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that that aligns with Catholic teaching.

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So it ensures that they relay biblical

stories and teachings to their students

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who have to faith form here again and

do it in a manner that's consistent

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with the church's understanding.

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Again, all this is on the show notes.

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So you can have a look at these yourself.

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I'm just really.

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It's long, so I don't want

to get, get far too in it.

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And then the key thing for me is the

integration to the curriculum, because

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a lot of people basically say, Ah, sure,

look, you know, they cannot doubt you.

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The kids cannot doubt.

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But the thing is.

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This is the, this is the nonsense, and

I don't know how I don't, I don't know

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how it survived so long, because it's,

it's, it's all there in black and white.

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And it's in, in the rules of, of, of

primary schools, Rule 68, I, I, I, is

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still alive and well in Catholic schools.

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It says, scriptures are not

just taught as standalone

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lessons, but they're integrated.

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into the broader curriculum.

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This means participants learn to

weave their spiritual teachings

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and values into other subjects

in everyday classroom activities.

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And given the centrality of the Bible

to Catholic faith and teachings, it's

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essential for teachers in Catholic schools

to have a robust understanding of it.

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This enables them to pass on

the faith to their students.

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I don't know, folks.

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All these people who say, Oh no, it's only

a few, a few bits and bobs, it's nothing.

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It's there, and I'm, I'm asking

a non biased source here.

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ChatGPT isn't anti religion at

all, in any way, shape, or form.

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It just tells you the information

as it is, from from from basically

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sources all over the web.

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And it's not actually criticising

it, it's just saying what it is.

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So, despite, so far, I haven't

asked a single loaded question.

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ChatGPT has confirmed that the purpose

of the certificate is to enable teachers

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to pass on the faith to their students

And some will say that one doesn't

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have to believe in it to pass it on.

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That's something I've heard actually,

you know I've just thought of that there.

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But it just doesn't make sense If you

have to pass something on to somebody

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you kind of have to agree with it in some

capacity For example, if I'm teaching

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maths and I'm teaching 2 plus 2 is 4 I

just pass on that information as a fact.

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I tell the children unequivocally that

2 plus 2 is equal to 4, and if I didn't

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believe that 2 plus 2 was equal to 4, I

would teach the children that many people

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believe that 2 plus 2 is equal to 4.

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If I was a teacher in a Catholic school

and I said that many people believe

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that Jesus Christ wasn't the greatest

guy in history and their opinion

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was equally valid, I would be fired

under section 37 of the Employment

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Equality Act for undermining the ethos.

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What I have to do as a teacher.

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in a Catholic school is I have to

believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah

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and is the greatest guy in history.

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And as much as I believe

that 2 plus 2 equals 4.

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To be honest, After doing that, I

could end the podcast here, and say

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there's no need to go on, because,

essentially, it's there, black and white.

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The purpose of this Catholic certificate

in education is to make sure that

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a teacher is able to pass on the

Catholic faith to their students.

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But, we're knee deep now, so

we may as well dive in further.

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So, ChatGPT, what issues would an atheist,

or a Jew, have with doing this course?

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That was the next question.

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And ChatGPT didn't hesitate.

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The Certificate in Catholic Religious

Education, CCRE, is inherently

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rooted in the teachings and

traditions of the Catholic Church.

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For individuals who come from other

religious backgrounds or hold secular

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beliefs, there could be several

issues or challenges they might

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face while pursuing this course.

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Number one, and a Divided actually

nicely into atheist Jews and Muslims.

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So doctrinal differences.

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So the atheists.

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Atheists don't believe in

the existence of deities.

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Engaging with a curriculum that

not only affirms the existence of

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God, but also centers around their

specific religious doctrines and

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beliefs could be fundamentally at

odds with their personal views.

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A Jew?

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While Jews and Catholics share the Old

Testament scriptures, they have divergent

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interpretations and beliefs about them.

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The New Testament, which is fundamental

to Catholicism, is not recognized.

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in Judaism.

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And in Islam, Muslims believe in the

Abrahamic traditions, recognizing

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figures like Abraham, Moses and Jesus.

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However, they have significant

theological differences with Catholicism,

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particularly concerning the nature of

Jesus and the concept of the Trinity.

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So you can see very quickly that that's

three examples of beliefs that are,

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that counter what Catholicism do.

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It's not a harmless entity.

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Just because 99 percent or 95 percent

of teachers, primary school teachers in

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Ireland don't find Catholicism you know,

in any way offensive, it doesn't mean that

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other faiths and none don't find these.

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difficult to manage.

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Even if you are someone who's maybe a

lapse Catholic a lot of it isn't alien

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to you so you maybe not take it seriously

but you don't generally don't find it

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offensive or you sort of in some ways

and I remember I did this myself when

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I started teaching I was in a Catholic

school you kind of take on the role

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of the actor and you see the stuff as

kind of stories and harmless and all

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the rest of it but you kind of have to

think of people who aren't You know,

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sort of, the a la carte, or, you know,

about religion, or anything like that.

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They take bits and pieces.

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They actually believe in their faith,

or they believe in the, or they

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actually have personal difficulties

with with a particular faith as well.

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So, there are problems, and you can

see that already from point number one.

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Point number two from ChatGPT,

they said pedagogical challenges.

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Teaching from a Catholic perspective

might feel inauthentic, and that's a very

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kind word I would say, or challenging

for someone who doesn't personally

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believe in or align with his teaching.

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So, I mean, I have personal

experience of that.

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I found it really challenging

teaching in a Catholic school.

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I was, I mean, I was really good

at it because I, and I've told this

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story before, that I was so good

at it in my first year, I was given

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a sacrament class in my second

year and I found it really hard.

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I found it really, really

hard to be that inauthentic.

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And I didn't, I didn't know

a lot of what I was doing.

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I, I got some help I suppose

from my partner teacher.

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I was lucky to have that.

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But I had no idea.

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I found it really, really difficult.

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And I found it.

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I just, I did find it a little bit

offensive, to be honest with you.

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But, look that's fair enough with ChatGPT.

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Number three, a spiritual

and personal development.

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A significant aspect of the CCRE

is a personal spiritual growth

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within the Catholic tradition,

and this could be uncomfortable or

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irrelevant by those from different

religious or secular backgrounds.

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This is the thing.

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You have to have personal

spiritual growth in Catholicism

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if you're doing the certificate.

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That must be really difficult.

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I mean, for people, again, who are

laissez faire about religion, you can

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kind of pretend and you laugh along with

the rest of the a la carte Catholics.

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But for someone, like, can you imagine?

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You know, and most people will

think of a Muslim because there

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are some Muslim teachers coming

into the Irish primary system.

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And if they're doing, I mean, I imagine.

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If any of them do the Catholic

certificate, and let's say they're

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practicing Muslims, you know, I'm not

saying all Muslims are more devout than

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Catholics or anything like that, but

let's say it's more likely that, you know,

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first, second and third generation Muslims

are probably more devout than, let's

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say, you know, twenty fifth generation

Catholics or something like that, it's

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you It must be really uncomfortable.

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I, I would find it very uncomfortable.

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In fact, I'm glad I, I know I

didn't do this certificate, but

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I think if I had have, I may

have had to drop out of college.

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I would have found it

really, really difficult.

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I don't know.

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Hindsight, I suppose, is, is

20, 20 vision is 20 years ago.

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I, you know.

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When that opportunity came along.

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Anyway, number five.

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Moral and ethical stances.

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The Catholic Church has specific

positions on moral and ethical issues, e.

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g.

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abortion, LGBTQ plus

rights, contraception.

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Those from different backgrounds

might disagree with some of

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these positions based on their

personal and cultural beliefs.

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That's.

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Pretty much fair enough.

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I would you know, I think

not much more to say on that.

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Number six, they've said, they have

a few points on this one, experience

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of exclusion or misunderstanding.

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Participants from non Catholic backgrounds

might occasionally feel left out or

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misunderstood, especially if the course

assumes a shared Catholic background

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among attendees, which it does.

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:

And that's the thing.

368

:

It does assume that everybody there.

369

:

Wants to be there, is Catholic, or

understands Catholicism, and I like the

370

:

word there Misunderstood, because I think

that's something that I experience when

371

:

I'm talking about this all the time.

372

:

People say to me They don't understand

why I go on about this all the time.

373

:

Like it doesn't affect you.

374

:

Why are you going on about this?

375

:

You know, it's not that bad.

376

:

We're very inclusive in our school.

377

:

They don't understand

and that's fair enough.

378

:

Why would you understand if everybody

else around you thinks everything's okay?

379

:

So I thought that was

an interesting point.

380

:

And then number seven,

personal reconciliation.

381

:

Engaging deeply with Catholic teachings

might bring up personal challenges

382

:

for some as they reconcile their

course content with their own beliefs.

383

:

This could be an introspective

journey leading to a deepened

384

:

understanding of one's own beliefs

or in some cases internal conflict.

385

:

I'm not sure I I don't know, that's

a, I think that's a push, but look,

386

:

that's a, I'm sure that may be a

case for some people, maybe not me.

387

:

These are all individual issues

for individual people, but

388

:

many of them will resonate.

389

:

I'm sure maybe some of those

resonated with you if you did the

390

:

Catholic Certificate in Education.

391

:

And I may say this again, but I spoke

to somebody who was involved in one of

392

:

the college, teacher training colleges

where the certificate is offered and in

393

:

the 10 years that they had been there

they said that only four people in 10

394

:

years had refused to do that certificate,

which says a couple of things.

395

:

Number one might say that we have a

problem with diversity if people aren't

396

:

refusing to do it and it doesn't seem to

be a big problem for people or number two,

397

:

that people are, Somehow, pragmatically

doing it and just getting through it.

398

:

I'm pretty sure the former, rather

than the latter, is more true.

399

:

Anyway, I guess the final question

was simply to bite the bullet and ask

400

:

whether the practice of insisting on

that certificate was discriminatory.

401

:

ChatGPT does everything it

can to be balanced, and, to be

402

:

fair, it did give both sides.

403

:

So, I'm going to read what ChatGPT said.

404

:

It's, it's, it's long enough.

405

:

Question of whether insisting on

having the Catholic certificate in

406

:

religious education for teaching

positions is discriminatory.

407

:

So this is whether it's

discriminatory or not.

408

:

It's nuanced, they said.

409

:

And here is a balanced analysis.

410

:

They're even telling you

they're being balanced.

411

:

Arguments suggesting it is discriminatory.

412

:

One.

413

:

It's a barrier to employment.

414

:

If the majority of schools in a region, e.

415

:

g.

416

:

Ireland, require their certificate for

teaching positions, then individuals

417

:

who don't have it, especially those

who aren't Catholic, who don't want to

418

:

undergo Catholic religious education, may

face significant barriers to employment.

419

:

I mean, that's a bit of a, you could say,

duh, at the end of that, but it's true.

420

:

This is it.

421

:

If you don't do that certificate,

you are automatically not

422

:

going to be able to work.

423

:

in 90 percent of schools.

424

:

2.

425

:

Potential bias against non Catholics.

426

:

By insisting on the CCRE, schools might

be implicitly, or explicitly, favouring

427

:

Catholic applicants over others, limiting

the opportunities for non Catholics or

428

:

those who don't have their certificate.

429

:

Which, again, is fair enough.

430

:

3.

431

:

Lack of religious neutrality.

432

:

Insisting on a certificate that aligns

with the teachings of one specific

433

:

religion in public or state funded

schools may be seen as a lack of

434

:

religious neutrality, potentially

leading to feelings of exclusion

435

:

among those of other faiths or none.

436

:

Now, the one thing I disagree with

in this sentence is the may be seen

437

:

as a lack of religious neutrality.

438

:

It is a lack of religious neutrality.

439

:

Four, homogeneity.

440

:

If all teachers are required to have

a CCRC, it might lead to a homogenous

441

:

teaching environment in terms of religious

beliefs, which could limit diverse

442

:

perspectives into an educational setting.

443

:

And I think we just need to

look at our staff rooms to

444

:

see that is entirely the case.

445

:

And in fact, we just need to

look at the:

446

:

NUIG, where it seems that 99.

447

:

7 percent of teachers in

Ireland identify as white.

448

:

Irish, 95 percent identify as

Catholic, and I think it was 4 or

449

:

so percent identified as Church of

Ireland or some sort of Christian.

450

:

So, yes, homogeneity is a problem.

451

:

So then they move on to how

it isn't discriminatory.

452

:

So one, it's a specialized role.

453

:

The primary purpose of the CCRE is

to equip teachers to effectively

454

:

teach Catholic religious education.

455

:

If a school's curriculum includes

Catholic teachings, it's reasonable

456

:

for them to want teachers who are

trained in that specific area.

457

:

And you couldn't argue with

that because that is true.

458

:

But these are not

private Catholic schools.

459

:

These are state schools.

460

:

I know there's a sort of private

public partnership kind of involved,

461

:

but when 90 percent of your schools

are this are insist on this.

462

:

I, I think you have a problem there.

463

:

Anyway, I shouldn't be interjecting here.

464

:

I wasn't as interjectory in

the, in the previous section.

465

:

Number two, freedom of

religious institutions.

466

:

Religious schools argue they

should have the freedom to uphold

467

:

and pass on their traditions.

468

:

If a school's mission is to provide

a Catholic education, requiring

469

:

teachers to be familiar with

Catholic teachings might be seen as

470

:

essential to fulfilling that mission.

471

:

Three.

472

:

Voluntary participation.

473

:

Schools that insist on the CCRE

typically have a Catholic ethos.

474

:

Teachers who apply to these institutions

are generally aware of this requirement.

475

:

If they choose to apply, they're

opting into an environment

476

:

with known expectations.

477

:

Now that is fair.

478

:

It feels unfair because 90

percent of schools are Catholic.

479

:

So you kinda, you're sorta saying,

Well, if you wanna work in an Irish

480

:

primary school, you gotta go with them.

481

:

You, you, you know what

you're getting yourself in.

482

:

So why become a teacher?

483

:

You know, why if you, if

you already know this.

484

:

So it's essentially what you're

kind of saying there is if

485

:

you wanna become a teacher in

Ireland, you need to be Catholic.

486

:

You know?

487

:

Which, which in some ways is the way I,

I suppose it's essentially how you, how

488

:

you kind of have to square that off.

489

:

Yes.

490

:

You might know, but you know, do you have

to be Catholic to be a primary school

491

:

teacher anywhere else in the world?

492

:

I, I don't think that's the case.

493

:

So I think.

494

:

It's, it's a, it's a, it's an argument

which I suppose would answer my question.

495

:

Actually, I would, I'd flip that

and say actually it's not voluntary

496

:

really in Ireland particularly.

497

:

Although it technically is.

498

:

But if you want to work in

Ireland you probably do need it.

499

:

Now you, someone might say to

me, shout at me now and say

500

:

but you don't have it Simon.

501

:

And you're absolutely right, I didn't

do it, but it wasn't a requirement

502

:

when I qualified, it's only become

a requirement since I qualified so,

503

:

and that's an interesting thing as

well, that it's become compulsory

504

:

quite, quite recently, so, that's

interesting as a point, and then

505

:

number four Alternative opportunities.

506

:

While many Catholic schools

might require the CCRE, there

507

:

are also schools that don't.

508

:

In places with a diversified educational

system, teachers have other options

509

:

where the CCRE is not a prerequisite.

510

:

I would argue that those diverse

educational places exist not in Ireland.

511

:

Anyway, it goes on to say, on balance.

512

:

The insistence on the CCRC could be

viewed as discriminatory, especially

513

:

in areas where a large percentage

of schools are required, thereby

514

:

limiting employment or opportunities

for those without the certificate.

515

:

Now, I'm going to interject here and

say That would be basically all of

516

:

Ireland and maybe, you know, Dublin

6, I think is the most diverse

517

:

place in Ireland in terms of school.

518

:

I think it's something like 60, 66 percent

of schools are Catholic in Dublin 6.

519

:

I think it's the best, or is it

Lucan might be actually a bit is,

520

:

is, is, has a better you know, isn't,

is, is more diverse, but that's it.

521

:

Everywhere else in Ireland has

at least 80 to 90 percent or more

522

:

schools under a Catholic ethos.

523

:

And if you increase that Christian

ethos, you could be up to 90, you

524

:

could be up to 100 percent of schools

in certain counties like Leitrim,

525

:

Longford and a couple of other places.

526

:

So, you know, It's interesting.

527

:

So it could be viewed, I

would say, is discriminatory.

528

:

So, so far, I would say that's chatGPT

being balanced in inverted commas.

529

:

Anyway, it becomes particularly

contentious if state funded schools

530

:

insist on it, which they do, as this might

be seen as a lack of state neutrality

531

:

in religious matters, which it is.

532

:

However, from the perspective of

preserving the religious ethos of Catholic

533

:

institutions, the requirement makes sense.

534

:

It ensures that teachers are well

equipped to deliver the specific

535

:

religious curriculum in the school offers.

536

:

That also makes sense, and it would make

sense if we had private Catholic schools.

537

:

for those who, who need them.

538

:

The debate hinges on the tension between

individuals rights, in this case, the

539

:

right to employment without religious

prequisites, and the rights of religious

540

:

institutions to maintain their identity.

541

:

The answer might be, might vary

based on societal context, legal

542

:

frameworks, and personal perspectives.

543

:

Now, I imagine my conclusion

will be different.

544

:

to those who are happy

with the status quo.

545

:

I know there are many in the status quo

who won't disagree with CHAT GPT either,

546

:

and they will loudly exalt that it is

wrong that there are so many Catholic

547

:

schools, and then promptly do absolutely

nothing to counter that problem, which

548

:

to me says more about everything.

549

:

Anyway, I cannot count the number of

people that tell me, and I understand

550

:

why they do this where they say, I would

love to say something, but however, any

551

:

analysis of the closest we'll get to an

alien's interpretation of our education

552

:

system would suggest that the insistence

of a certificate in Catholic religious

553

:

education is problematic at best.

554

:

Obviously, my view is that it

is absolutely discriminatory.

555

:

I, I mean, I can't think anyone

listening to this would think that

556

:

it's anything but discriminatory.

557

:

You know, I, I think sometimes when

something's Outlined by a neutral

558

:

observer, you know, it's very hard

to interpret in a different way.

559

:

But if you have, I'd

love to hear from you.

560

:

I mean, please, please you know, reply to

when I put this up on X or Twitter or X.

561

:

I suppose now I have to call it reply

where you, where you listen to this and

562

:

kind of think, let me know what you think.

563

:

Is it discriminatory or not?

564

:

And then I suppose, you know, I, I

kind of I suppose, what do we do then?

565

:

What, what do we do if we,

if we accept discriminatory?

566

:

Do we do something about it or do we just

kind of pretend and keep playing along

567

:

with the, with the system as it stands?

568

:

I'm, I'm, I mean, I know what I would do.

569

:

We, we obviously need to do

something about it because we are

570

:

going to become a more diverse

profession whether we like it or not.

571

:

We are already have

really diverse classrooms.

572

:

We already have some schools in the

country and six counties in Ireland

573

:

have Classrooms where more than 50

percent of the children are opted

574

:

out of religion in these classes.

575

:

It's it makes sense Also, the the

census figures at the moment only 53

576

:

percent of 29 or 25 to 29 year olds

identify as Catholic So we're you

577

:

know, these are the people who are

going to be hopefully I presume are

578

:

going to be raising their children Not

in the Catholic tradition, so that's

579

:

going to be kind of difficult as well.

580

:

Like, we can't just do

nothing, is what I'd be saying.

581

:

So, that comes down to the question

of what would I would do if I

582

:

were the Minister for Education?

583

:

And, I think it's pretty obvious that

if I were the Minister for Education,

584

:

number one, I would be removing the

requirement for any certificate in.

585

:

Ethical education, religious education, is

a requirement to teach in those schools.

586

:

And number two, obviously, in the

bigger picture, I would be removing that

587

:

religious or secular indoctrination.

588

:

So both of these things.

589

:

So when I say indoctrination, I

mean that you say that something

590

:

is a fact and you do not talk about

other faiths or other beliefs.

591

:

So I suppose I should explain this a

little bit before I, before I finish

592

:

because people say to me, I mean, you

just want a secular education system.

593

:

I don't.

594

:

I want a secular education system,

particularly in my understanding

595

:

of the word secular education,

because again, that's a gray area.

596

:

I don't believe it is okay to have

a system where you don't mention

597

:

religion at all, or you don't

teach about religions at all.

598

:

I think we all live in a world where

the majority of people have a faith, and

599

:

it's important for us to understand why

people do what they do, the rituals that

600

:

they do, and what we all have in common.

601

:

anD you can't do that in a secular

education system similar to, let's

602

:

say, the French system where, you

know, Muslim people can't wear

603

:

their hijabs, Christians can't wear

crucifixes, and things like that.

604

:

That is not an inclusive education system

either, in the same way as a Catholic

605

:

school insisting that you only teach about

Catholicism, or you teach that Catholicism

606

:

is the truth is not okay either.

607

:

What I see As the if I were the minister

for education is a system where everybody

608

:

goes to their local school and their

values and their faith or lack of

609

:

faith or whatever, or their beliefs

are as important as each other's.

610

:

And we learn about each other

and we learn from each other.

611

:

And for me, that's how we get a system

working and we stop putting in boundaries.

612

:

Barriers and obstacles for to ensure

that everybody in a school is welcome.

613

:

And so they're my two cents worth.

614

:

I'd love to hear what you think.

615

:

Thanks for listening and

we'll catch you again.

616

:

So there you have it.

617

:

I hope you enjoyed that episode and if

you have any comments, please be sure

618

:

to go on to our social media channels,

Simon M Lewis, or you can go to the

619

:

blog where you'll find the show notes.

620

:

That's simonmlewis.

621

:

Medium.

622

:

com or you can go to anseo.net to

tune into this and any other episode.

623

:

If you're interested in subscribing to

the podcast, please do on anseo.net or

624

:

on your favorite podcasting platform

where you can tune in every fortnight

625

:

or so when a new episode will land.

626

:

I'm thinking of creating a bit of

a mailing list where I can share

627

:

some other thoughts and extra

things for people that want them.

628

:

And, let me know what

you think on that too.

629

:

So look, that's it for me for this week.

630

:

Thanks so much for listening.

631

:

All the very best.

632

:

Bye.

633

:

Bye.

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