G.P.F.Vyajdar Babat

G.P.F.Vyajdar Babat
 A concept of the human person being open to the transcendent necessarily includes the element of religious education in schools: it is an aspect of the right to education (cf. c. 799 CIC). Without religious education, pupils would be deprived of an essential element of their formation and personal development, which helps them attain a vital harmony between faith and culture. Moral formation and religious education also foster the development of personal and social responsibility and the other civic virtues; they represent, therefore, am important contribution to the common good of society.
11. In a pluralistic society, the right to religious freedom requires both the assurance of the presence of religious education in schools and the guarantee that such education be in accordance with parents’ convictions. The Second Vatican Council reminds us: “Parents have the right to determine, in accordance with their own religious beliefs, the kind of religious education that their children are to receive […].The right of parents are violated, if their children are forced to attend lessons or instructions which are not in agreement with their religious beliefs, or if a single system of education, from which all religious formation is excluded, is imposed upon all” (Declaration Dignitatis humanae [DH] 5; cf. c. 799 CIC; Holy See, Charter of the rights of the family, 24 November 1983, art. 5, c-d). This statement finds confirmation in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 26) and in many other declarations and conventions of the international community.
12. The marginalization of religious education in schools is equivalent to assuming – at least in practice – an ideological position that can lead pupils into error or do them a disservice. Moreover, if religious education is limited to a presentation of the different religions, in a comparative and “neutral” way, it creates confusion or generates religious relativism or indifferentism. In this respect, Pope John Paul II explained: “The question of Catholic education includes […] religious education in the more general milieu of school, whether it be Catholic or State-run. The families of believers have the right to such education; they must have the guarantee that the State school – precisely because it is open to all – not only will not put their children’s faith in peril, but will rather complete their integral formation with appropriate religious education. This principle must be included within the concept of religious freedom and of the truly democratic State, which as such – that is, in obedience to its deepest and truest nature – puts itself at the service of the citizens, of all citizens, in respect for their rights and their religious convictions” (Speech to the Cardinals and collaborators of the Roman Curia, 28 June 1984, unofficial translation).
13. Based on what has been said, it is clear that teaching the Catholic religion has its own specific nature vis-à-vis other school subjects. In fact, as the Second Vatican Council explains, “Government therefore ought indeed to take account of the religious life of the citizenry and show it favor, since the function of government is to make provision for the common welfare. However, it would clearly transgress the limits set to its power, were it to presume to command or inhibit acts that are religious” (DH 3). For these reasons, it is for the Church to establish the authentic contents of Catholic religious education in schools. This guarantees, for both parents and the pupils themselves, that the education presented as Catholic is indeed authentic.
14. The Church identifies this task as its own, ratione materiae, and claims it for its own competence, regardless of the nature of the school (State-run or non-State-run, Catholic or non-Catholic) in which such teaching is given. Therefore, “The Catholic religious instruction and education which are imparted in any schools whatsoever are subject to the authority of the Church […]. It is for the conference of bishops to issue general norms about this field of action and for the diocesan bishop to regulate and watch over it” (c. 804 §1 CIC; cf. also, c. 636 CCEO).
b) Religious education in Catholic schools

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