Catholic and Church of Ireland schools have better teacher-student ratios
Pope Francis acknowledges pain of many priests in current environment
Parishes taking the lead on becoming more green
Why do evangelicals support Trump? Blame the suburbs
C of E Pensions fund enters choppy waters


Catholic and Church of Ireland schools have better teacher-student ratios

Interdenominational (26.8) and multi-denominational schools (25.5) have The type of school that a pupil attends can have a big influence on the number of children in class.

Location can also play a major factor in class sizes, with Leinster pupils more likely to face overcrowding.

Interdenominational (26.8) and multi-denominational schools (25.5) have higher average class sizes than both Catholic schools (24.3) and Church of Ireland schools (23.1).

Schools in disadvantaged areas – DEIS schools – have an average class size of 21.3 pupils compared with 25.2 in non-DEIS schools.

The largest primary school in the country is St Mary’s Parish School in Drogheda, Co Louth, which had 1,103 pupils enrolled last year in 40 classes.
More at – https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/education/catholic-and-church-of-ireland-schools-have-better-teacherstudent-ratios-38367888.html


Pope Francis acknowledges pain of many priests in current environment

Pope Francis thanked priests for their sacrifices and acknowledged the pain many feel in the current environment in a lengthy letter on August 4, 2019, the Feast of St. John Vianney, Cure of Ars.

“On this, his feast day, I write this letter not only to parish priests but to all of you, my brother priests, who have quietly ‘left all behind’ in order to immerse yourselves in the daily life of your communities,” the Holy Father said. “Like the Curé of Ars, you serve ‘in the trenches’, bearing the burden of the day and the heat (cf. Mt 20:12), confronting an endless variety of situations in your effort to care for and accompany God’s people.

“I want to say a word to each of you who, often without fanfare and at personal cost, amid weariness, infirmity, and sorrow, carry out your mission of service to God and to your people. Despite the hardships of the journey, you are writing the finest pages of the priestly life.”

The Pope went on to note that in the context of the abuse crisis, many priests have suffered. He noted that on his many pastoral visits around the world he has heard the outrage of priests about the scandal and the damage it has done to the Church.

He also recognized the victims of the abuse, both sexual and of power. He stressed his commitment to reform.

“In these years, we have become more attentive to the cry, often silent and suppressed, of our brothers and sisters who were victims of the abuse of power, the abuse of conscience and sexual abuse on the part of ordained ministers,” Francis said. “This has been a time of great suffering in the lives of those who experienced such abuse, but also in the lives of their families and of the entire People of God.

“We are firmly committed to carrying out the reforms needed to encourage from the outset a culture of pastoral care, so that the culture of abuse will have no room to develop, much less continue. This task is neither quick nor easy: it demands commitment on the part of all. If in the past, the omission may itself have been a kind of response, today we desire conversion, transparency, sincerity, and solidarity with victims to become our concrete way of moving forward. This, in turn, will help make us all the more attentive to every form of human suffering.”

Pope Francis reminded priests to remain grateful and positive. He warned against falling into sadness and depression.

“May we allow our gratitude to awaken praise and renewed enthusiasm for our ministry of anointing our brothers and sisters with hope. May we be men whose lives bear witness to the compassion and mercy that Jesus alone can bestow on us.,” Francis concluded.
More at –

Parishes taking the lead on becoming more green

A number of churches are leading by example on green energy and showing parishes all over the country how they can affordably move, with Irish State support, from fossil fuel heating systems to renewable energy ones that will save them money over time.

The Irish Government recently announced a major plan aimed at drastically reducing Ireland’s carbon emissions and part of this will involve a switch to green energy.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has pointed to two churches as examples of how this can be done. One is the North Cathedral in Cork and the other is St Oliver Plunkett Church in Dundalk.

SEAI told The Irish Catholic that both churches received substantial grants to assist them in becoming more green.

North Cathedral installed solar panels, the lighting system was upgraded to environmentally-friendly LEDs, a heat pump was installed to eliminate electric heaters and a charger for electric cars was also installed.

The total cost was €77,000, but the church received almost half of this, or €36,000, in grant funding.

It is estimated that carbon emissions by the church will reduce by 24,000kg per annum. More at –

Why do evangelicals support Trump? Blame the suburbs

In a recent piece from The Atlantic, Peter Wehner tries to answer a question that befuddles reporters, preachers and political commentators alike in recent years.

Why do white evangelicals remain so loyal to President Donald Trump? And why are so many evangelical thought leaders surprised by this loyalty?

Wehner points to a survey showing that seven out of ten white evangelicals approve of Donald Trump’s job performance, despite his personal improprieties and his parade of not so thinly veiled racist statements.

He quotes Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, saying that evangelicals adore the president: “There has never been anyone who has defended us and who has fought for us, who we have loved more than Donald J. Trump. No one!”

The support for Trump comes with a price, argues Wehner. Evangelicals may have helped win the White House, but their public witness is suffering.

“There’s a very high cost to our politics for celebrating the Trump style, but what is most personally painful to me as a person of the Christian faith is the cost to the Christian witness,” he writes. More at –

C of E Pensions fund enters choppy waters

The Church of England Pensions Board has reported a bad year for its investments: there has been a total loss of 2.6 per cent on its £2.5 billion-strong portfolio.

The Board, which provides pensions, housing, and other retirement services for tens of thousands of retired priests and lay Church employees, was affected by a global fall in financial markets in 2018, which ultimately meant that its assets fell back slightly from the £2.6 billion they were worth the previous year.

This setback was revealed in the board’s annual report, published on Wednesday, which also showed that there was a deficit of £292 million in the charity’s pension schemes.

The board’s chief investment officer, Pierre Jameson, said: “The final quarter of 2018 was a turbulent period, particularly for public equities, and the board’s results dated 31 December 2018 partly reflect this.” More at –