Vatican Voices its Opposition to Replacement of Religion Classes in School

Source: FSSPX News

The Congregation for Catholic Education addressed a Circular Letter to the presidents of Bishops’ Conferences worldwide concerning religious education in schools. Dated May 5, the letter was published on September 9. Indeed, the Congregation “deemed it necessary to recall some principles that are rooted in Church teaching, as clarification and instruction about the role of schools in the Catholic formation of young people, about the nature and identity of the Catholic school, about religious educations in schools and about the freedom of choice of school and confessional religious education.”

Thus, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski and Archbishop Jean Louis Brugues, o.p., respectively prefect and secretary of this discastery, observe in this long letter that “the nature and role of religious education in schools has become the object of debate. In some cases, it is now the object of new civil regulations, which tend to replace religious education with teaching about the religious phenomenon in a multi-denominational sense, or about religious ethics and culture – even in a way that contrasts with the choices and educational aims that parents and the Church intend for the formation of young people,” lament the prelates in this document available in 5 languages on the Vatican website.

The document specifies that “religious liberty is the basis and guarantee  of the presence of religious education in State-run schools.” And they add: “If religious education is limited to a presentation of the different religions, in a comparative and (so-called, Ed.) “neutral” way, it creates confusion and generates religious relativism or indifferentism.” “For these reasons, it is for the Church to establish the authentic contents of Catholic religious in schools. This guarantees, for both parents and the pupils themselves, that the education presented as Catholic is indeed authentic.” “For her part, the Church, exercising the diakonia  (service, Ed.) of truth in the midst of humanity, offers to each generation the revelation of God from which it can learn the ultimate truth about life and the end of history,” the Congregation for Catholic Education concludes. — This Roman document raises once more the question of the conciliation of religious liberty with the teaching of the Catholic Faith. The Conciliar declaration on religious liberty has substituted the human person to  revealed divine truth, thus paralyzing the Church in advance  by depriving her interventions in the social sphere of any authority. Consequently, as John Paul II declared before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, in 1988: in this situation, “confronted with this diversity of viewpoints, the noblest function of the law consists in guaranteeing equally to all citizens the right to live in agreement with their consciences.” With such a principle how can we fight against the confusion, relativism and indifferentism, which do not fail to stem from a religious education limited to an exposition of the various religious precisely because it intends to be in agreement with the conscience of everyone? (DICI n° 202 - 17/10/09 – Sources: Apic/vatican.va)