In his most recent pastoral letter Bishop Jose Ignacio Aguirre of Palencia in Spain encouraged parents who are engaged in a “holy rebellion” by conscientiously objecting to the government's mandate that their children attend the school course Education for Citizenship.
In his letter the bishop referred to the more than 30,000 parents who have formally objected to the course. “Their objections are not aimed at the school, the teachers or the book…but rather at the excesses of a State that seeks to make itself the moral educator of their children. I am sure God will bless these parents who have decided to declare a ‘holy rebellion’ for the good of their children,” he said.
The bishop explained that parents “have understood that when the lesser evil becomes the ordinary choice, it ends up becoming a slippery slope downwards toward the ‘greater evil.’ Their active resistance is one of the most beautiful pages in the history of this struggle for the good of children, as well as of the defense of the principle of subsidiarity in the face of the tyranny of the states.”
The Spanish bishop also encouraged more involvement by parents who are not yet engaged in objecting. “And when the day of victory arrives—which it will!—those of us who remained on the sidelines will perhaps feel admiration and thankfulness, and perhaps a bit of timidity and embarrassment.”
He recalled the statement published by the bishops of Castille and Leon that called the mandatory course an “illegitimate imposition by the State of a certain formation of conscience of the students without the consent of their parents.”
“Fortunately, there are increasingly more people who understand that the Church is not defending a particular interest, and there already exist many citizen-led initiatives of active resistance in the face of this unjust intrusion,” Bishop Aguirre said.
Local education officials also received blame from the bishop for refusing to “process the objections presented by parents and claiming that in the development of the curriculum, the contents that presumably would be contrary to the conscience of parents has already been removed. They are stumbling over the same stone as the federal government! Who are they to decide what moral content parents should accept or reject?” he asked.
Bishop Aguirre also criticized efforts to eliminate religion class from schools, noting that in many schools attendance at alternative classes is not enforced and students are allowed to “chat on Windows Messenger or play outside’.”