Religious classes at risk as just two in 200 students are Catholics

Right-wing opinion leaders are up in arms as just two of the 200-odd students at a Vienna school are Roman Catholics.Brigittenau district schools inspector Walter Gusterer said today (Weds) the plan was to now let the children join religious education classes in a nearby school.She explained that high administrational costs could not justify holding religious classes for just two students.”Two hours of religious classes per week are part of the education plan for Viennese primary schools – but only from ten students and more,” Gusterer said.Conservative media have stressed that two in three children visiting the school are Muslims. Dozens of schools of all types across Vienna have a comparable percentage of Islamic students.The Austrian Roman Catholic Church’s reputation meanwhile has suffered dramatically over the past few months as around 700 people came forward to report violent and sexual abuse at its institutions.Fears are increasing that up to 80,000 Austrians will leave the Church throughout 2010 as more than 30,000 quit in the first three months of this year.Last year’s 53,216 people quitting their membership was an all-time high.