The Constitution could not be clearer.
The State guarantees not to endow any religion.
So, I ask, why has the State been funding Catholic marriage courses? Answer – history. The funding of such courses is a hangover from a time when the Catholic Church wielded great and abusive power in our country.
The decision to cut funding to such courses is a welcome step in the continuing secularisation of Irish society.
But the bishop of Elphin, Dr. Kevin Doran, is not happy.
It seems to me that if the State does have a commitment to marriage, as the Constitution requires it to do, it is a rather strange move to be withdrawing funding from pre-marriage preparation courses.
There may indeed be a commitment to marriage in the Constitution as the bishop claims but I couldn’t find any mention of it.
As a country/republic we really need to get our act together on the issue of favouring one religion over another or, indeed, favouring any religion.
If the Catholic Church wants to run pre marriage courses it should be allowed to do so but taxpayers should not be required to pay for the service. The State should provide such courses but on a religiously neutral basis
Now, what about the millions wasted on military, hospital and schools chaplins?