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In Ontario, Catholic schools are welcome; Catholic education is not

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Apr 08, 2014

Catholic schools are free to operate in Ontario, as long as they don’t provide religious education. That’s the message that seems to be coming from the Ontario Superior Court, which has ruled that Catholic high schools cannot require students to attend Mass.

In its immediate impact, the court’s decision seems to affect only non-Catholic students, who are already excused from religious-education classes. But look carefully at the reasoning of Justice Ted Matlow, who concludes that school rules compelling students to attend Mass and other religious functions “have as their central purpose the provision of religious experiences and education to the students who attend them.”

Well, yes; indeed they do. Yet Catholic schools have the same central purpose. If they’re not providing religious experiences and education to students, what are they doing? But if they are providing religious experiences and education to students, it seems only a matter of time before they will rule afoul of Ontario laws once again.

It’s becoming a familiar story: The Church might run the schools, but the state will dictate what happens in those schools. Or to put it differently, the state will allow Catholic schools to continue functioning, as long as they don’t function as Catholic schools.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: garedawg - Apr. 10, 2014 11:28 AM ET USA

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that the Catholic schools in Canada get money from the state. Once you start slurping from the public trough, you can no longer complain.

  • Posted by: Defender - Apr. 08, 2014 7:05 PM ET USA

    Why are the schools "required to accept non-Catholic students?" Is this a Canadian thing? We have accepted a lot of foreign students who also knew they were required to attend Mass and Religion. We did have a few who became Catholic, too. Is this what Canada want's to prevent or is it just because the schools are Catholic?

  • Posted by: Dan - Apr. 08, 2014 5:52 PM ET USA

    We are headed in the same direction here in America, and Obamacare is the Trojan Horse. I sadly predict that the bishops will relent rather than refuse to implement the legislation, and invite within its doors ever-expanding surveillance by the quite hostile State.

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