ROME — A Catholic private school is considering petitioning the Supreme Court of Canada, after the Quebec Court of Appeal issued a decision obliging it to teach a state-imposed Ethics and Religious Culture course (ERC) at odds with Catholic teaching. The Quebec court issued its decision Dec. 4, overturning an earlier judgment of the Superior Court, which supported the request Loyola High School put to the education minister to teach the course objectives from a Catholic perspective. The Jesuit boys school, located in Montreal, has been battling the provincial government on this issue since 2008.
Marie Bourque, vice-president of the Catholic Parents Association of Quebec, said the decision infringes on the rights of parents to choose an education for their children in line with their faith and values and “to rely on the collaboration of confessional schools” to this end. The Catholic Civil Rights League also issued a comment in agreement.
Bourque described the ERC as a “totally superficial, folkloric and materialistic” program, which “forbids any chronological or historical teaching of religions.”
“It presents them as the fruit of the human mind,” she explained. “It’s all relativistic; there’s no absolute truth at all. So, moral and philosophical stands, which are atheistic, certainly sound more credible than any religion at all in this context.”
Both the Catholic Church and the UN Declaration of Human Rights state that parental rights in education are essential and must be upheld, she underlined.
“The responsibility belongs to (parents) to teach morals and religion. They can delegate it to whom they choose but it belongs absolutely to them in the first place,” she said.
Loyola High School first took legal action in 2008, when the education minister refused to grant equivalency to the school’s Morals and World Religions course. The minister argued that Loyola’s course is taught from a Catholic viewpoint, whereas the state course requires religions to be taught from a secular and religiously neutral perspective.
Listen to the interview by Laura Ieraci with Marie Bourque:
Supreme Court — Break with Common Law Putting the Onus on Parents rather than the State(With sample activities and material used in ERC classes)
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