Darwin Bishop Charles Gauci says he will consider closing Catholic schools in his diocese if the Northern Territory Government presses ahead with laws that would strip schools of the right to hire employees based on faith. Source: The Catholic Weekly.
“Now, it doesn’t mean that every teacher is a Catholic or even a believer, but we certainly have a firm policy that the principal, the deputy, the director of religious education, are practicing members of our faith community,” Bishop Gauci said on Darwin’s Mix 104.9 Radio on Wednesday.
“Look, if I cannot have a faith school to be a genuine faith school, where it’s respectful of everybody, where we give people an idea of other people’s beliefs as well … If I cannot have that, then of course what’s the point of having them?
“We would have to close them, I think, seriously consider closing them and then all the kids would have to go to the state schools.”
Labor’s amendments to the NT’s Anti-Discrimination Act 1992 would repeal section 37A, which currently allows faith schools to discriminate on the grounds of religious belief or activity, or sexuality, and is in good faith to avoid “offending the religious sensibilities of people of the particular religion”.
The repeal of section 37A is likely to pass the NT’s parliament when it sits next week.
Bishop Gauci said he had spoken “very strongly” about the draft released some months ago but has been “totally ignored”. He also wrote to members of the NT Parliament with his concerns and received only one response.
He said he wants to “sit down and talk properly and amicably and point out these concerns properly.”
“I repeat: more than half the students to come to our schools are not Catholic, but they value what we present and what we hold. So it’s a very major concern.”
Darwin Bishop will ‘seriously consider’ closing schools if Labor changes laws (By Adam Wesselinoff, The Catholic Weekly)
Bishop Charles Gauci threatens to shut schools over discrimination laws (The Australian)