Sunday, February 22, 2009
Vatican education prefect defends Catholic school funding
Public funding of Catholic schools is a question of “distributive justice”, reasons the Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski made the case for government subsidies or vouchers at the Acton Institute-sponsored conference “State Financing of Catholic Schools”, held February 16th at Rome's Pontifical Antonianum University.
"This is based on law if we universally uphold several international resolutions that recognize the fundamental right of parents to determine the education of their children. … This means that they are entitled to choose between schools. But if you must pay at one school and not at another, then the choice is not free."
The Cardinal also commented on the recent elimination of Catholic and Protestant religion courses in Quebec, Canada. This past September, all public and private schools were required to replace these courses with an Ethics and Religious Culture curriculum that taught all religions, as well as secular ethics.
"This is the denial of the right of the parents. Because talking about all the religions violates the right of the parents to educate their own children according to their own religion. Secondly, talking in the same way about all the religions, it is almost like an anti-Catholic education—anti-Catholic because this creates a certain relativism. Relativism—all the religions are the same and you can choose one of them like a story. So this is not an education, but anti-religious—very often anti-religious."