Speaking on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela, Archbishop Roberto Luckert of Coro, demanded this week the government respect religious education and he rejected a proposal to eliminate religious instruction from schools.
Archbishop Luckert noted that religious education programs in schools “supplement the educational work of mothers and fathers” and that the real aim of the proposal is “to substitute religious education with Communist ideology.”
The government proposal seeks to limit religious education to the home, which Archbishop Luckert said was similar to the policy in Cuba. Under a previous agreement between the Church and the government in Venezuela, religious instruction was allowed up until sixth grade. But that agreement expired on February 2 and has not been renewed, which meant religion teachers stopped receiving their salaries.
Marisol Morales, who coordinates religious education for the Venezuelan government, said religion teachers “have continued working without pay. However, I have been informed that there is a possibility the agreement will be renewed, but government support will be handled differently.”
The bishops in Venezuela have outlined a list of issues related to religious education that they want the government to address, and they have called for prayers to defend the right to religious education in the country.