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Holy See diplomat emphasizes parental rights, religious liberty in education

March 18, 2011

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s leading representative at UN offices in Geneva, has reminded fellow diplomats that both parents have a fundamental right to educate children in their faith.

“The well-recognized right of parents to decide the type of religious education their children should receive takes precedence over any open or indirect imposition by the State,” he said at a meeting of the Human Rights Council. “Fundamental rights cannot be transgressed: those relating to parents and those relating to believers themselves acting in community.”

Referring to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Archbishop Tomasi added that “while people should have the right to profess their religious ideas freely, this should be done within the limits imposed by the common good and a just public order, and, in every case, in a manner characterized by responsibility.”

“The assumption that a faith must change over time needs a cautious approach,” he concluded. “While certain historical conditionings can be adapted to new circumstances, one has to avoid any form of relativism, on the one hand, and, on the other, undue interference in the internal life of faith communities that would violate the fundamental human right of freedom of religion.”

Archbishop Tomasi delivered his remarks on March 10; the Holy See Press Office released them on March 17.


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  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Mar. 18, 2011 10:27 PM ET USA

    Taking this one step further, parents should also have the right, as they do in the US, to home school their children if they feel that what is taught in public schools goes against their beliefs and they can provide for a comparable--in most cases better--education at home. Instead, many home schoolers in the EU are being prosecuted and persecuted, their children removed from their homes, etc. It is a disgrace, and a threat to our rights in the US.