Cardinal Sean Brady yesterday dismissed claims that the Catholic Church had no right to be involved in public schools as “a red herring and blatantly unjust”.
He said it would be wrong to dismiss the “superb work” of so many people involved in Catholic education “because of the terrible failings of some priests and bishops”.
The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland staked the Church's claim to a continuing role in Irish education in the wake of the damning Ryan and Murphy reports on clerical child sex abuse.
And he insisted Catholic schools “should not apologise for who we are”.
Cardinal Brady was speaking at the launch of Catholic Schools' Week, which saw the inauguration of a new umbrella group, encompassing the bishops and religious congregations, the Catholic Schools Partnership, to guide Catholic education into the future.