Spain: 70.2% of Students Take Religious Instruction

Source: FSSPX News

On March 1, 2012, the Bishops’ Conference of Spain’s Commission for the teaching of catechism (CEE) published an annual report on the number of students who receive a Catholic religious and moral formation at school. They count a total of 4,696,247 students in non-university establishments.

Former socialist Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero’s government abolished obligatory teaching of the Catholic religion in 2006, and suggested replacing it by a program of citizenship education.  Although a majority of students prefer religious instruction to “civic education”, the bishops observe a slight decrease in the number of young people open to receiving a religious formation: 0.8% fewer than last year.  In public schools, 61.5% of the students are enrolled in Catholic instruction.  In private schools it is 69.6%, and 99.5% in Catholic establishments.

For this reason, the bishops have firmly encouraged parents “to take advantage of their children’s right, recognized by the Spanish Constitution, to receive a Catholic moral and religious formation at school”, and thus “to enroll them in these classes, or at least to motivate them to do so themselves.” And they exhorted the parents: “we must all work together so that children and adolescents may not be deprived of the knowledge necessary to their religious formation,” which, added the bishops, gives them, “among other advantages, the keys to an understanding of the roots of our culture and our very personality, and of the meaning of life and the greatness of the Christian faith.”

On January 31, the Mariano Rajoy government’s new Minister of Education, Jose Ignacio Wert Ortega, announced that a program “free of controversial questions and ideological indoctrination” would replace the “civic education classes”. (sources: apic/kna/conferenciaepiscopa/larazon – DICI#252, March 30, 2012)