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Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education

2/19/2009 - 15:58 PST

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By Kris Dmytrenko

ROME (Zenit) - The new religious diversity curriculum introduced in the Quebec school system is a violation of parents' rights and borders on being "anti-Catholic," according to the prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education

Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski discussed the Canadian province's "Ethics and Religious Culture" program with ZENIT on Monday, after a conference held at Rome's Pontifical Antonianum University on "State Financing of Catholic Schools," hosted by the Acton Institute.

In September 2008, the Quebec Ministry of Education introduced the new curriculum into all public and private schools in the province. The mandatory courses replaced the "Catholic Religious and Moral Instruction," "Protestant Moral and Religious Education" and "Moral Education" programs, between which parents could choose for their children.

In the new program, students are taught a diversity of world religions and secular ethics.

"Talking about all religions violates the right of parents to educate their own children according to their own religion," explained the Polish cardinal, echoing the protests of some parents in the province who say the textbooks are not ideologically neutral.

"Talking in the same way about all religions," Cardinal Grocholewski continued, "is almost like an anti-Catholic education, because this creates a certain relativism." He concluded that this approach to instruction could ultimately be anti-religious, since youth are left with the impression that each faith is a fictional narrative.

The Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops have been measured in their criticism of the "Ethics and Religious Culture" program, recognizing in a March 2008 statement that the curriculum would "promote the development of a better mutual understanding between those who have different religious or secular beliefs." The bishops also applauded the course for highlighting the distinct role played by Catholicism in the French Canadian province's history.

However, the bishops reaffirmed their preference for parental choice and described their stance as "critical and vigilant." The bishops further worried that teaching religion from a purely socio-cultural view could lead to a restrictive understanding of religious experience.

Some Canadian clerics, such as Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec City, maintain that parents should be able to exempt their children from the program for reasons of conscience. Presently, the provincial government has permitted no such allowances for concerned parents. Students who consistently miss "Ethics and Religious Culture" classes could face suspension.

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Education, Cardinal

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1 - 8 of 8 Comments

  1. Ann
    1 year ago

    thanks

  2. StanLR
    3 years ago

    Amazingly , we have thrown out the Holy Cross and Morning Prayer in the classrooms and replaced it with many uncatholic teachings--gay marriage?condom usages...and the list goes on and on...Morality among our youths is becoming questionable in many schools---illegal drug use to name one. What's happening???

  3. Michael
    4 years ago

    When making the decision to send your child to a Catholc School you have made the decision that they be taught the Catholic faith and be taught to see life from the Catholic perspective. They have pleanty of time in their lives, after school, to relate to other religions/faiths.

  4. Terry Brennan
    4 years ago

    Now..Now, Let's step back and look at this from Canada's point of view. All Canadians pay school taxes, but,historically, they only have two choices Catholic or Protestant. What about Jewish, Buhdist,Hindu, and many other Canadians who are not from a Christian European backgound. I think the Catholics can teach and preach without the help of the state, and I do believe that Christ will inspire through these more tolerant policies. Is this site becoming a center for Catholic bigotry against people they do not agree with? Would Christ approve?
    Render to Ceasar the things that are Ceasar's....

    TB

  5. mikedj
    5 years ago

    Katherine, watch who you're calling lazy. Private religious schools were set up precisely so parents have the choice to give their kids a good religious education. Catholic education is more rigorous than some PC education program being imposed by your secular government.

  6. katherine
    5 years ago

    People need to educate their own children at home and take responsibility for what they want their children to believe. Why trust the state? Children have a right to learn about the world and world religions. This is how you they relate to other people of the world and learn to understand them. Parents are the ones who should be educating their children directly in their personal faith. This is another example of Roman Catholic laziness. Be responsible for your own spirituality and that of your children directly and personally.

  7. macgrubb@persona.ca
    5 years ago

    We must stand up for our faith. Our Bishops must show their authority as religious leaders and explain to their congregations, the effects of this. Our faith must be explained and taught thoroughly to our students. If we do not stand up now and speak out, it will be too late. MARY ANN

  8. mike
    5 years ago

    this is outrageous! The State does not have the right to override the rights of parents to educate their children according to the religion of their choice! The bishops have got their priorities bass-akwards....sure the curriculum MAY promote greater tolerance of other religions, BUT it's forced inculcation is a profound offence against the family. Get going on this - it must be stopped. Canada has a Euro concept of the State as supreme ruler over the citizens - this is erroneous to the Natural Law whiach says the State is created by the People - who answer to GOD for how they use their inalienable rights. Stuff this initiative NOW!

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