.- The Archbishop of Toledo, Cardinal Antonio Canizares, encouraged parents to defend their children from the ideology the State is seeking to impose with the course Education for Citizenship, which all students will be required to attend in the region of Castilla-La Mancha starting next fall.
“Parents and schools, teachers and leaders of Catholic schools have the duty to defend your children and demand that they be given what is inalienably theirs by right. Your duties and rights must be respected. That is how a democratic society and true coexistence is built,” the cardinal wrote in a pastoral letter to mark the end of the school year.
He noted that the Spanish Constitution protects the right of parents to choose the kind of moral education they wish their children to receive and their right to religious and ideological freedom. For this reason he encouraged them to act with “lucidity, truth, responsibility and freedom,” in accord with their duties and rights.
“The State cannot legitimately impose any kind of formation on the moral consciences of students outside the free choice of you, their parents,” he said. Catholic schools cannot allow Education for Citizenship to be taught because they would be going against their own philosophies. The State cannot force them to do so because it would be violating the right to freedom of education and of religion.”
“Public schools, for their part, by imparting this course, would lose their obligatory ideological neutrality, if they imposed on students a moral formation that was not freely chosen” by parents, the cardinal continued.
He thanked local officials for their willingness to discuss the issue, but he called on the governments of Castilla-La Mancha and Extremadura to continue working to find just solutions that “effectively respect and guarantee the rights of parents.”