Vatican Archbishop Defends Rights of Parents to Educational Choice
By Hilary White
GENEVA, December 4, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An “inclusive” education means that which respects the rights of parents to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children, a Vatican Cardinal told the U.N.‘s International Conference on Education last week.
Citing the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s permanent observer at the U.N. offices in Geneva, said, “Educators should remain aware that they carry out their service in cooperation with parents, who are the first ‘educational agency’ and have the priority right and duty to educate their children. This convergence of efforts is an evident application of the basic principle of subsidiarity.”
The concept of subsidiarity in Catholic social teaching means that the needs of the individual are best served by the stratum of society closest to him, starting with the family. Catholic teaching holds that it is the purpose of the state to safeguard the family and the family’s rights. This doctrine is directly opposed to the high-level statist concepts of social theory that are currently at the fore in the UN and European Union, where governments are creating increasingly tightly regulated social conditions.
Tomasi’s assertion on the rights of parents is directly opposed by some European countries, most notably Germany, which retains a Nazi-era law forbidding homeschooling. In recent years, parents who have chosen to shield their children from the heavily secularised, and sexualised, state education have been hounded in the courts and had their children seized by the state.
Archbishop Tomasi also criticized the emphasis on “efficiency” in education and in society in general, saying that the global financial crisis is a “concrete lesson” in what happens when a society subordinates the needs of the individual to utilitarian ideals.
“‘Inclusion’ works through the promotion of a society that respects the dignity of every human person and goes beyond criteria of efficiency.”
“Only the person that conceives relations with others beyond criteria of productivity and control can value reality in a balanced perspective and assume appropriate responsibility.”
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