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Partial victory for Quebec Catholic school in Canadian high court case

March 23, 2015

In a 4-3 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned a decision by Quebec’s education minister and ruled that a Catholic school should be permitted to teach a Catholic version of the province’s mandatory “ethics and religious culture” (ERC) curriculum.

The court ruled, however, that Loyola High School in Montreal should teach about other religions from a “neutral” perspective, rather than a Catholic one.

“In the Quebec context, where private denominational schools are legal, preventing a school like Loyola from teaching and discussing Catholicism from its own perspective does little to further the ERC Program’s objectives while at the same time seriously interfering with religious freedom,” the court ruled.

“That said, the [Education] Minister is not required to permit Loyola to teach about the ethics of other religions from a Catholic perspective,” the ruling continued. “The risk of such an approach would be that other religions would necessarily be seen not as differently legitimate belief systems, but as worthy of respect only to the extent that they aligned with the tenets of Catholicism.”

 


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  • Posted by: FredC - Mar. 24, 2015 5:15 PM ET USA

    If, as they should, they teach Catholicism as the true religion, the other religions can be safely taught in a neutral fashion. But will the government decide whether this arrangement meets its criterion that the teaching of the other religions is neutral?

  • Posted by: bruno.cicconi7491 - Mar. 23, 2015 2:51 PM ET USA

    "Sure, you can teach your faith, but make sure that you teach it as having the same value as all others". In another time, wouldn't this be: "sure, you can worship your God, as long as you give our gods the same worship". I wonder if, in such conditions, the only acceptable course would not be to close the school.