The prefect for the Congregation for Catholic Education, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, has said conscientious objection by parents and students to civic education that is contrary to their convictions “is not only opportune but necessary.”
In an interview with Italian media, the cardinal was asked whether it is licit that parents and students exercise conscientious objection to a school course that, “as in the case of Spain, promotes a society based on relativism and anti-Christian nihilism,” he responded, “Yes, of course, because the fundamental rights of man recognized in the Universal Declaration of 1948 are being damaged.”
The Polish cardinal recalled that during the Communist regime, he joined with others in conscientiously objecting to communist ideology by, “organizing courses in the Catholic faith,” which at the time were illegal.
According to Cardinal Grocholewski, “All dictatorial regimes seek to steer schools into making citizens docile” to their slogans, which in the end convert them into “slaves.”
“I personally have experienced this reality in my own country of origin, in Poland, where the Communist regime dictated what should be taught and which kind of behavior should be called good,” he said.
“Catholic schools were closed and they tried to silence the Church. This was a clear violation of the basic right of parents to teach their own children according to their convictions,” the cardinal continued. “And it is also a violation of the basic principles of democracy,” he explained.
The cardinal said the same kind of political current is moving through the halls of power today in an attempt to impose “a relativistic concept on ethical-moral behavior,” in order to stifle opposition to their decisions.