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Religious education is an inalienable right, Costa Rican bishops assert

.- The bishops of Costa Rica released a statement expressing concern over a recent ruling by the country's Constitutional Court which stripped the Church its right to choose which religion teachers will be hired in Costa Rican schools.

Last month, Costa Rica's Constitutional Court took away the Church's right to choose which religion teachers it will hire, after reversing a 1972 law stating that all religious teachers must be approved by the Bishops’ Conference of Costa Rica.

“We respect the decision of the Constitutional Court, but at the same time we are concerned about the insecurity and confusion that the ruling has caused among teachers and students of religious education, as well as parents,” the bishops said.

The foundation of religious education, they explained, “lies in the inalienable right of Catholic parents to educate their children according to their faith and convictions. It is a human right that must be respected, and it is the duty of the Costa Rican State to make the greatest effort possible to ensure parents are offered this education in public schools.”

After noting that religious education is also good for the state, the bishops expressed their concern over “the tendency to want to replace Catholic religious education with … education in ethics, aesthetics or values, denying the rights of parents and to choose Catholic religious education for their sons and daughters.”

For these reasons, the bishops called on parents to provide the necessary religious education to their children; on authorities to respect this right; on teachers to assume this task with responsibility and to respect “current law that protects Catholic religious education.”

They also encouraged a strengthening of the collaboration between the State and the Catholic Church in the area of education.


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August 20, 2014

Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church

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Mt 19:23-30

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