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More cash proposed for seminaries

More cash proposed for seminaries

Australian taxpayers would subsidise the training of priests and other religious workers at private colleges for the first time under the Abbott Government’s proposed higher education reforms.

But, according to this report, Labor Higher Education spokesman Kim Carr, above, has slammed the proposal, saying:

This raises serious questions about relationship between Church and State. The Church has traditionally funded the training of its own personnel.

As well as deregulating university fees and cutting university funding by 20 per cent, religious teaching, training and vocational institutes would be eligible for a share of $820 million in new Commonwealth funding over three years.

Earlier this year the government controversially announced it would provide $244 million for a new school chaplaincy scheme but would remove the option for schools to hire secular welfare workers.

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In correspondence with voters, Family First Senator Bob Day, above, singled out funding for faith-based training institutes to explain his support for the government’s reforms.

Eleven theological colleges are currently accredited by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) to provide courses designed to prepare students to enter religious ministries.

Institutes such as the Sydney College of Divinity, Brisbane’s Christian Heritage College and the Perth Bible College, which currently charge students full fees, would be eligible for an estimated $4214 funding a year each student under the reforms.

The John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne, which offers course units including “Theology and Practice of Natural Family Planning” and “Marriage in the Catholic Tradition”, would also be eligible for federal support.

The institute says on its website that its mission is to:

Promote marriage and the family for the good of the whole Church and the wider community.

The Anglican Diocese of Melbourne requires all trainee priests to receive theological training at Ridley College or the Trinity College Theological School, both of which would likely be eligible to offer Commonwealth Supported Places under the government’s changes.

Kim  Carr said there was a difference between federal funding for theoretically-focused religious studies courses and courses designed to prepare graduates for the priesthood.

Greens higher education spokeswoman Lee Rhiannon said that Education Minister Christopher Pyne has gone one step further than robbing Peter to pay Paul:

He is attempting to rob Australia’s public and secular university system to pay private, religious colleges. Courses that Mr Pyne wants to extend funding to include those teaching prescriptive Christian ideology on sexuality and marriage – is this really the best use of the higher education budget?

On its core values page on its website the Perth Bible College say:

We believe in the urgent need to reach our broken world with the gospel of Jesus Christ and to train men and women to be effective servants for God.

Senator Day said in a letter to a member of the general public that it was “unfair” that public universities receive federal funding but religious colleges and other private providers do not.

The government’s reforms were voted down by the Senate this week but will return to Parliament, with some amendments, next year.

14 responses to “More cash proposed for seminaries”

  1. John says:

    Ah, well, at least when you repair the church roof then, when all the parishioners have finally left or died or come to their senses, you can turn it into a community centre or something; an outcome I always find very cheering. Unlike spending money on priests who’re good for bugger all.

  2. Pomme de uk says:

    I though Aussies were more sensible than this… …

  3. Paul Cook says:

    @ John
    I can’t agree with you.
    Not quite correct.
    Priests aren’t good for bugger all, Priests do bugger all.

  4. HVillar says:

    Instead of courses like Marriage in the Catlick Tradition, they should offer others such as “How to Apply the Full Weight of the Australian Penal Code on Catholic Pedophiles and Their Protectors”or “The Criminal History of Christianty”. The latter would use Karlheinz Deschner’s magnum opus, yet to be translated into English. Maybe I should start a Kickstarter project to have it translated.

  5. Angela_K says:

    At least the French get it right this time by banning a nativity scene: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30326257

  6. Pomme de uk says:

    And as for the 15M£ lushed away on church roofs I think that’s outrageous especially as the islamist brothers are starting to buy up such buildings for desecration into terrorist incubator units.

  7. AgentCormac says:

    @Angela_K

    I do love the way the French refuse to pussy-foot around such matters. If only the rest of Europe was so confident and so bold. At least everybody living in France knows exactly where they stand.

  8. Cali Ron says:

    Can’t help, but wonder why the ‘almighty god’ can’t fix his own churches roofs. In fact, why can’t allah kill the infidels himself. Churches already don’t have to pay taxes on the millions of dollars they raise her in the states. I suppose they’re tax exempt in Australia, too(correct me if I’m wrong). And they want the government to subsidize them, too. And trading a real education for one in superstition. It’s a win, win for the church-less education to make the masses easier to indoctrinate and more preachers to indoctrinate them. But lose, lose for Australians!

  9. Robster says:

    It’ll have a hard time getting through the senate. We’ve currently got the worlds strangest senate, the upper house has really embraced diversity in a not totally positive kind of way.

  10. Trevor Blake says:

    Honest, no lie – I am a religious school in Australia that just happens to be trapped in an individual in the USA. My belief in that is very sincere and traditional and spiritual. Please send me money.

    Because… how are the arguments by religious schools in Australia any better than that?

  11. Angela_K says:

    Sorry if I mentioned this before but a few months ago a leaflet was delivered to every house in my Village asking for money to preserve the hardly used Church. I know the person who did this and confronted him in the Village shop, he wasn’t too pleased when instead of money, I offered a can of Petrol and box of matches. No sense of humour these religious types.

  12. Paul Cook says:

    Angela

    That was funny!

  13. Michael Glass says:

    This move to fund seminaries is worse than a sick joke. Australia is supposed to be facing a budget crisis. However, the Abbott Government has taken the axe to science research while pouring new money into funding seminaries and school chaplains, even though the High Court has twice ruled that funding school chaplains is unconstitutional.