Furore over proposal to charge Catholic schools rent

Sydney Morning Herald

Deborah Snow

Senior Catholic educators are warning in a confidential paper that any move by NSW bishops to start collecting rent from Catholic schools could be seen as a way of “paying for the ‘sins’ of the clergy”.

And the serious “reputational, political and canonical risks” involved could trigger a perception that government money meant for the education of children was being diverted to other church activities, the paper says.

The internal briefing paper, obtained by Fairfax Media and dated early April, was prepared for the heads of the 11 different Catholic education offices in NSW, who each report to their local bishop.

At least one diocese, Newcastle–Maitland, has confirmed to Fairfax Media it is considering a proposal to charge its schools rent.

Two others, Armidale and Bathurst, did not rule it out when asked if they had it under consideration.

The dioceses of Lismore, Paramatta, Sydney, Broken Bay, Wollongong and Wilcannia-Forbes said they did not have plans to start collecting rent from the schools they administer, and Wagga Wagga said it had not been discussed.

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