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Circular Letter from the Congregation for Catholic Education

03/08/2009: General House

On May 5, 2009 the Congregation for Catholic Education, headed by Polish cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, sent a circular letter to the presidents of the episcopal conferences regarding teaching religion in schools.

The objectives of the circular were stated in one of the opening paragraphs: “By means of this Circular Letter addressed to the Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences, this Congregation for Catholic Education deems it necessary to recall some principles that are rooted in Church teaching, as clarification and instruction about the role of schools in the Catholic formation of young people, about the nature and identity of the Catholic school, about religious education in schools, and about the freedom of choice of school and confessional religious education.”.

Those familiar with this type of document will find a synthesis of references chosen from the most significant documents that have touched on the theme of religious education in the schools, about the role of the school in Catholic formation of the upcoming generations, the nature and identity of the Catholic school, the praxis of teaching religion in the school, educational liberty, religious freedom and Catholic education.

Once again the Church comes to the defense of this right of the person and of the family, reminding the presidents of the episcopal conferences by means of a low-profile document, as is a circular letter, of the traditional teaching of the Church on Catholic education at a time when there are plans for new civil norms that would replace the traditional teaching with the teaching of religion from a multiconfessional perspective or with the teaching of ethics and religious culture.

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