By John-Henry Westen

  VATICAN CITY, October 11, 2007 ( – Pope Benedict XVI said today that governments are morally obligated to fund faith-based schools.  His remarks were made in greeting Francis Kim Ji-young, the new ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Holy See.

“Faith-based schools have much to contribute,” said the Pope in ensuring young people receive a sound education.  “It is incumbent upon governments to afford parents the opportunity to send their children to religious schools by facilitating the establishment and financing of such institutions.”

“Insofar as possible,” he added, “public subsidies should free parents from undue financial burdens that attenuate their ability to choose the most suitable means of educating their children.”

  The Pope specified that he was referring not only to Catholic but also other faith-based schooling, and also insisted that governments allow faiths freedom in terms of curricula. “Catholic and other religious schools should enjoy the appropriate latitude of freedom to design and implement curricula that nurture the life of the spirit without which the life of the mind is so seriously distorted,” he said.

  In the same address, the Pope condemned research which threatens the human embryo.  “The destruction of human embryos, whether to acquire stem cells or for any other purpose, contradicts the purported intent of researchers, legislators and public health officials to promote human welfare,” he said.  “The Church does not hesitate to approve and encourage somatic stem-cell research: not only because of the favorable results obtained through these alternative methods, but more importantly because they harmonize with the aforementioned intent by respecting the life of the human being at every stage of his or her existence.”

  See the Pope’s full address to the Ambassador here:…