Skip to comments.(Canada) Catholic schools can't force student to attend mass, court rules
Posted on 04/08/2014 2:31:03 PM PDT by NYer
Oliver Erazo stands in front of Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School with sons Amilcar, left, and Jonathan, in early 2013. Erazo went to court to press his contention that non-Catholic students attending publicly funded Catholic schools should not be required to attend events with a primarily religious focus.
The Ontario Superior Court has ruled that student at a Catholic high school who is entitled to be excused from religious courses must also be excused, if they wish, from religious field trips and attending mass.
The decision is being hailed by critics of publicly funded Catholic schools, who believe it brings a secular option to a religious school system they feel is a costly duplication of education.
“Parents of Grade 9 to12 students living in a community where the nearest school, the least crowded school, or the best school is Catholic can now chose that school without fear that their children will be forced to take sectarian (religious) courses and programs of little interest to them,” said Leonard Baak, president of Oneschoolsystem.org, which opposes taxpayer funding of Catholic schools. Non-Catholics may attend Catholic high schools, but not elementary schools.
Grade 11 student Jonathan Erazo is not Roman Catholic, but has attended Brampton’s Notre Dame Catholic School because his father, Oliver Erazo, felt it was the best school close to their home. In Grade 10, Jonathan asked to be excused from religious classes, and after refusing at first, the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board eventually agreed because Ontario’s Education Act excuses non-Catholic high school students from “any program or course of study in religious education” if their parent asks in writing.
But when Jonathan also wanted to be excused from having to attend five or six church services and a religious field trip each year, the school refused, arguing that all students are expected to take part in these for reasons of “supervision, safety and community reasons.”
Oliver Erazo decided to ask the courts for clarification, and in a recent decision, Ontario Superior Court Justice Ted Matlow agreed with Erazo.
“No Catholic school system that is required by law to admit non-Catholic students should have the right to require participation in such activities (liturgies and retreats)” wrote Ontario Superior Court Justice Ted Matlow in a 16-page decision. “In my view, the liturgies and retreats … have as their central purpose the provision of religious experiences and education to the students who attend them.”
Ooops ... once you take government funds, you must follow their rulings.
Just like the Boy Scouts - when you take Gov’t or corporate money (and especially must rely on it) then you eventually will have to compromise yourself.
How common is that? Any idea?
I attended 12 years of Catholic Schooling. We had some other Christian kids and some Jewish kids as well. They attended Mass each week with us. They didn’t participate in the Sacraments but they attended Mass. The schools should require this participation as part of a signed contract by both the parents/and students IMHO.
Same here - we had Hindu and Buddhist kids in my class.
My kids go/went to Catholic school, and while in general I believe in a voucher-type system, this type of thing makes me wary of it.
I too attended 12 years of Catholic school ... BUT ... it was privately funded. Once a school accepts public funding, it places itself at the mercy of the government.
I'd say dump the public funding, but it may not be that easy. In many aggressively secular states (such as England), Catholic schools were virtually required to accept funding and become part of the state education system. Oddly enough, the British - and probably the Canadians - don't dare to force the Muslim schools to do anything they don't want to do. But what else would you expect?
Catholic schools should bail on the system and go to a tuition-only model. That is, the students get what their tuition pays for - I read that Belmont College is doing this. It means slimming down the administrative side, of course, but if the teachers are paid the prevailing wage or close to it, it doesn't seem to have an effect on them. And in any case, there are teachers who would rather teach kids like this than suffer in the public school system for a few more bucks.
Still, I'm not sure if Canada would even allow something like that, because I think their educational control is even more severe than ours. Well, at the moment.
Catholic schools need to stop taking public funding
next dirtbags like this will insist that crucifixes be removed from the classrooms
then stop the prayers in the classroom and on the buses
however they want their kids to be surrounded by nice respectful Catholics
Hey dad why you didn’t take your kids out of the school idiot
What dear ole dad religious background HELLO
Take the government’s money, expect to follow its diktats.
Ooops ... once you take government funds, you must follow their rulings.That's the kicker. My sympathy and empathy fails at that point. When you take Caesar's offerings, you are beholden to Caesar's wishes.
in our Catholic school the govt pays part of the cost of textbooks and materials since all kids are entitled to them
However, given this case, that not enough incentive to give up religious freedom even in religious school
the same thing, govt intrusion and dictates, is going to happen with obamacare and hospitals