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School fights to promote Jesuit values

The new program isn’t optional, says Courchesne


 

School fights to promote Jesuit valuesCan a Catholic high school teach its students that all religions are equal? Paul Donovan, the principal of Montreal’s Loyola High School, says it can’t be done. So the boys-only Jesuit school is taking the province to court over its new ethics and religious culture program.

The new course was introduced by the Ministry of Education to teach about various religious traditions in Quebec society, with the goal of increasing tolerance among students. It teaches about Protestantism and Catholicism, as well as Judaism, native spiritualities and other religions.

But Donovan says his teachers can’t deliver a religious course without a Catholic perspective—a perspective that promotes Catholicism ahead of other beliefs. “Our parents send their sons to us because of our mission and the values that we hold as a Catholic, Jesuit school,” he wrote in a letter to the ministry. “It is our firm conviction that we cannot honestly undertake the program . . . without compromising some of those values.”

Donovan asked for an exemption from the province’s program before going to court, suggesting Loyola’s existing religious curriculum as an alternative. But Quebec Education Minister Michelle Courchesne has made it clear that a class slanted toward one religion is not acceptable.

“Part of the mandate of the course is to present religion in an even-handed way,” says Daniel Weinstock, a professor who consulted in the drafting of the new program. “If a school has as its guiding intention to inculcate children into the Catholic faith, it clearly means a part of their mandate is not to present all religions in an even-handed way.”

Loyola’s court proceedings have just finished and it may be months before a decision is handed down. But Weinstock says Quebec’s courts have historically been averse to overturning provincial legislation—so chances are, come this fall, Loyola will be teaching that all religions are equal, whether it likes it or not.


 

School fights to promote Jesuit values

  1. 1) This disrepect of private religious institutions in Quebec by the State ("whether it likes it or not") is more and more worrisome.

    2) Weinstock does not know what he is speaking about: Loyola high is not trying to overturn provincial legislation, but trying to have its own Ethics and World religious course considered equivalent, given its private denominational nature, to the State's areligious Ethics and religious culture course. More details on http://www.loyola.ca/index.php/news-and-calendar/

        • If the institution is private, then I completely object to the efforts of the Province. Of course, in Canada, "private" is a misnomer. It is my understanding that even private schools in Canada must have their curricula approved by the province.

  2. I thought that this program was supposed to teach kids bout other religions so that they gain a better understainding of the world around them. I do not think that learning about Hinduism, Buddism, Protestantism or the other faiths will cause kids to convert.
    You can learn to cook, eat and appreciate spaghetti with out being Italian.

    • But you cannot very well be a Catholic and think, hmm, maybe that Martin Luther did have a point.

    • Just as well that, for your example, you used spaghetti instead of, oh… I dunno… crackers and wine.

  3. irongirl, please check the Loyola link. Loyola has had a World religion course for the past 25 years ! The problem is not what is taught, but how and when. In the case of the ERC course it is taught very early (from six years old) in a relativistic fashion (even in a Catholic school the State says to a private Catholic school that they can't say that Christ is the way!).

  4. What is at issue here is whether a private school can be forced to teach a course in a way its deems contrary to its mandate (because it is basically an atheistic or an agnostic way of teaching) while it proposes the governement a course it deems equivalent which respects the two goals of the course : work for the common good and respect of other people and its three core "competencies" : dialogue, discussing ethical questions and knowing aspects of six or seven religions.

    Why should the State be able to dictate everything a PRIVATE school wants to teach and more profoundly HOW it wants to the teach it?

    I'm sorry but this is more and more looking like soft fascism (the State deciding everything, with a smile this time, well, not in court obviosuly).

    (The analogy with spaghetti is obviously inept : you are born and stay Italian whether you can cook Spaghetti or not, your philosophical outlook can be changed through teaching, if it weren't the case why would the State be so adamant to impose this course? In the State's eyes this course is crucial, as one of its expert witness, George Leroux, told the court, this is why there can be NO exception.)

  5. This whole trend of gov't interference is so worrying….our kids were in a private Christian school for 21 years from start to finish., BECAUSE we wanted them to be taught that Christ was the way, backing up what they were taught at home and at school. (And yes indeed they were taught about other religions, and as a matter of fact had to pick one to study more in depth and present a report on.)

    Why in heaven's name does the government find this so harmful to the country's values that they are interfering in our right to religious freedom? What is next? That the government must screen every minister/pastor/priest's sermons to be sure that there is nothing subversive hidden inside ready to contradict the party line?

    Nothing soft at all about this fascism….. if it looks like it and smells like it, the odds are pretty good that it is.

    • Don't worry, the Government just wants to make sure that your sermons give equal time to Mohammed.

  6. What is at issue here is whether a private school can be forced to teach a course in a way its deems contrary to its mandate (because it is basically an atheistic or an agnostic way of teaching) while it proposes the governement a course it deems equivalent which respects the two goals of the course : work for the common good and respect of other people and its three core "competencies" : dialogue, discussing ethical questions and knowing aspects of six or seven religions.

    Why should the State be able to dictate everything a PRIVATE school wants to teach and more profoundly HOW it wants to the teach it?

    I'm sorry but this is more and more looking like soft fascism (the State deciding everything, with a smile this time, well, not in court obviously).

    (The analogy with spaghetti is inept : you are born and stay Italian whether you can cook spaghetti or not, your philosophical outlook can be changed through teaching, if it weren't the case why would the State be so adamant to impose this course? In the State's eyes this course is crucial, as one of its expert witness, George Leroux, told the court, this is why there can be NO exception.)

    • "Why should the State be able to dictate everything a PRIVATE school wants to teach…"

      This should have been written as:

      How can the State think it has any right to dictate anything to any PRIVATE institution?

      In Canada, private is becoming far too public.

      • Yes, Justin, I agree wholeheartedly. I stand corrected.

  7. As I understand from this article, the controversy is not Loyola's lack of desire to teach the history, beliefs etc behind each religion (which I gather they already do without the provincial government's help); but rather it seems they object having to teach the ethical angle of each religion according to the government's "relativistic approach". I can see how a Jesuit school would have a problem with this, considering that ethics are not universal.

    But if I'm wrong, is the Quebec government any better in providing this type of instruction? I doubt it. I think Jesuits have a much better handle on "ethics" as they relate to religion from an academic perspective, and be far more sensitive on a community level, than most Quebec government officials (and that prof. who advised them).

    I think I don't need to list all the famous Jesuit schools out there, or the notable individuals who graduated from them, to prove my point.

  8. The imposition of the «Ethic and religious culture» state culture does not cause the conversion of the children in others religions. However, in the term of this first year of teaching, some of us notice that their children embraced a relativist vision of religions. The Nihilism is not new in Quebec but it is now the children who are victims of that. Why? " To live better together " such as proclaims the sacred state program of Ethics and religious culture.

    Our family (15 generations) always been in Quebec. This course is a violation of our values, deforms our religion and interferes in our family. Those who of us asked to exempt their children of this course lived on the harassment. Superior court (Granby) had finnaly protected those childs from this kind of «inquisition». If Quebec realy becomes "Quebekistan", we will leave it, our culture and our language with the bitterness of liberties which get lost.

  9. Two interesting facts that transpired from the court cases against the government imposing this curriculum:

    Gérard Bouchard who recommended this program and asked for it to be promoted vigorously has only had a three hour training session on it before he insisted on it being enforced in his celebrated Bouchard-Taylor report (see http://pouruneecolelibre.blogspot.com/2009/05/bou

    Georges Leroux, star witness for the State during the two court cases against this course, readily admitted that the State imposing it on all was "jacobin" (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobin_(politics)). See here for the court transcript (in French) : http://pouruneecolelibre.blogspot.com/2009/05/geo

  10. The whole enforcement aspect of this course is utterly scandalous: pupils with straight As expelled in Granby for not attending a course which is not even necessary to get one's diploma (it is compulsory but one can get the required credits in sports instead if you flunk this ERC course).

    A youngster (16 now) submitted to two gruely cross-questionings before the Drummondville trial and fainting in front of my eyes (and before 80 other pairs) as he was starting to be questioned in court.

    This is simply unacceptable. The State must back off!

  11. ECR is the politically correct technocrat's religion. Their marketing is excellent. Admittedly there are a number of people out there that are fine with such a belief system. Fine, let those that really want this course, CHOSE to have their kids take it. Nobody will complain. But why do those politically correct technocrats at the Quebec Ministère de l'Éducation need to ram their relativistic RELIGION down everyone's throats? Is that "ethical"? Now if a bunch of Jehovah's Witnesses or Raelians were taking over the system like this, the army would be called out (and the Quebec media would go for their throats), but if it turns out instead to be a bunch of well connected technocrats (aided by their media cronies), now why should anyone complain?

    Right???

    • Exactly! We're all free to believe what we want, as long as YOU believe what I do.

  12. The Quebec government is forgetting a very basic principle, the separation of Church and state. It works both ways, and compelling people to conform to thought police will create a huge backlash.

    • The separation of Church and State is an American principle, not a Canadian one.
      At its inception, it was the result of religious persecution in Britain and was intended to keep the state out of religion, not to keep religion out of the State.

      • "an American principle, not a Canadian one" – last time i checked John Locke was not American, did he change citizenship?

        "intended to keep the state out of religion, not to keep religion out of the State" – as I said originally, it works both ways. If the State is espousing certain views on religion, there is no longer a separation of Church and State.

        • I do not wish to quibble and get into the history and the subsequent different applications of Locke's ideas in different countries. I was merely pointing out that the US had adopted it as a constitutional principle under Jefferson, and Canada never had.

    • Separation of Church and State? Ha. The Queen of Canada is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England!

      • She is not the Supreme Governor of the Church of England in her capacity as Queen of Canada, however, but in her capacity as Queen of England. The Anglican Church is not established in Canada.

        • But our Head of State is still the head of a church. I am certainly glad that we do not pay tithes to the Church of England, but the whole thing still looks a bit silly, does it not?

          • You mean the monarchy in general, or having a Queen of Canada who is a foreigner? I find the whole situation a bit sad, not because I oppose the monarchy (quite the contrary) but because we can't get our act together to either embrace it or change it or anything. As with so much in Canada, apathy is king.

          • I am so anti-monarchical that I won't even at Burger King.

          • You're an antiwhoppertarian?

          • I think the only people who should wear crowns are beauty pageant winners, kids' celebrating their birthdays at Medieval Times, and people with bad teeth.

          • Why should they get to wear them and not me?

          • Well, you can. But you might get put in a mental institution.

            And while on the subject, I think the only thing differentiating a mental institution from a church is better music.

            Now we're back to the beginning.

          • C'mon Justin. Be fair. Some church music is kinda ok…

  13. As many other have stated, this course is not about teaching tolerance, it is about coverting Quebec children to the religion of Relativism, as early as possible, and subverting the religious teaching they are receiving elsewhere. The increasingly facist interference of the State into the private lives of families is unmasking Quebec's political and artistic intellegentsia's real goals: An atheistic state and the destruction of the nuclear family. First they tried to eliminate religion from the schools, and were met with such stiff opposition that they had to rethink their 5-year plan. Then they tried to get the parents to ask for non-denominational schools. This failed in most cases. Finally, they eliminated the religion-based school system entirely. Now they they are imposing a non-religious religion program as the next-to-last step in becoming a totally ATHEISTIC SOCIETY. But as many communist countries have discovered, you cannot eliminate the Holy Spirit. Religion driven undreground merely gets stronger. Quebec facist politicians are sowing the wind and they will reap the whirlwind.

    • Amen Marilyn! Great points.

    • At first I was vehemently opposed to the social engineering attempts of the Province of Quebec. But, learning from you that they are trying to promote "an atheistic state and the destruction of the nuclear family", I am suddenly warming to their cause.

  14. In all the Charts of Family Rights, Vatican, United Nations, Quebec and Canada's Governments, etc. one can read that the parents are the FIRST responsable of their children education. The Quebec Governement voted hastely to change the law on this right for parents to choose the religious education for their own children in school. This is INACCEPTABLE and shows how the Quebec Governement, either it is Liberal or Parit Quebecois at the power, has the same agenda as of becoming totalitarian and appropriate our children. What's next?

  15. It is clear that the government of Jean Charest is going against basic rules of a democratic state. It's a tragedy to see the fake openness of Quebec to all religions, but it's own, a rejection of their culture. Imagine who is behind this new course: the ones who invoked freedom of conscience to get rid of catholic teachings in school and now won't let others use the same principle. The flower power people are trying to lead the world toward relativism emptiness. ‘' Believe in all religions to ensure your salvation''. This is the beginning of an intransigent state. This attempt against democratic values is a sign of a state losing its grip on freedom. In Quebec the course tenants want ordinary catholics to be viewed as fundamentalists or worse, extremists. Some Quebeckers, associated with this course, are bending definitions to mean something else: ‘laicism' used to differenciate ordinary people from the priesthood, is now used to promote a separation of faith from atheism. I think the worse is to come.

    • "…a sign of a state losing its grip on freedom."

      If the State has its grip on it, it ain't freedom.

        • Because the private institution does not have a monopoly on the use of force.

          • But they can control whether you keep your job. Balances out.

          • There is nothing about freedom that guarantees you a customer (or employer) for your product.

          • Well, all you're doing is defining freedom as freedom from government. That is surely not the only definition of freedom. Being chained to a 40-year mortgage and a job you hate is not quite slavery but it's not what I'd call freedom.

          • Freedom is the absence of coercion. If your mortgage and job were contracted voluntarily, you are not enslaved to them.

            I find these days that there is much too much romticisation of work. People always think they need to "find the right one for me". It's work, and it's not supposed to be fun. If work was fun, it wouldn't be called work… it would be called play.

          • But you're free to leave the country whenever you please, just as you're free to walk away from your mortgage. Technical freedom in both instances, but effectively you have no choice in either.

          • You can leave the country, there is just no guarantee that you can get into another.

            Walking away from a contract that you voluntarily entered into, is not a matter of freedom or unfreedom. If you don't want to pay your mortgage, the bank gets your house, those were the terms under which you borrowed the money. You were not forced to agree to the terms.

          • Well, this is the old libertarian-vs.-limits debate, but you also don't have the freedom to go around thwacking people (interesting, Firefox spellcheck recognises "thwacking" but not "spellcheck"). That is a liberty we lost: in the old days you could thwack whomever you liked, provided you were willing to take the non-State-sanctioned consequences. It just seems to me rather arbitrary to define freedom in this limited way.

          • It just seems to me rather arbitrary to define freedom in this limited way.

            Well, buster, it's the freedom you're stuck with, so just accept it. Oh, and enjoy your freedom. Comes with the rule of law. You no like? Join Wells on the deli-tasting circuit in Mogadishu.

          • If one is to have freedom, and thus, right over his/her person and property, society must preclude violence against that person, as well as others.

            Some have argued, I think including the Fountainhead of Libertarianism herself, Ms. Rand, that the restriction on force is not a limit on freedom because people in free society acknowledge that it is only without the use of force that free decisions are made.

            I tend to think that the restriction on violence is, technically, a restriction on liberty, but a necessary one. I do not think that property rights would simply be regarded naturally by all in an ungoverned society. In the end, rights are obtained and defended with force. The use of force is the domain of government, and the rules regarding this force is the subject of law. This is what separates we Libertarians from Anarchists.

          • I've never met a Randian before. They're elusive.

          • In Canada they are an endangered species.

  16. The Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms recognized the responsibility of the schools to respect parents' beliefs and convictions within school programs. In June 2005, with the adoption of Bill 95, The National Assembly, without previous debate, agreed unanimously to withdraw that provision from the Quebec charter.
    In other words, the Quebec government has denied one of the most basic of human rights; the role of parents as prime educators of their children. Parents may choose to delegate part of their role of educator to schools, but no institution or government can usurp this most important and precious parental right.

  17. UNITED NATIONS
    THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
    Article 26. (3)

    Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

    It's a universally recognized fundamental right for all children, their parents have a PRIOR RIGHT on their education.

    • Easily circumvented. The Province of Quebec will simply assign children to the sorts of parents it likes.

  18. Bruno thanks for the reference… it is an attack on right of parents

    Michel

  19. In order for the increasing immigration coming into Quebec (and we need it for lack of children), all children should have a common course in how to get along together ("vivre ensemble") and know each other's religion, without that we may very well soon know the riots France has lived through. Collective peace takes precedence over parent's rights, the State has the right to enforce this course on all children.

    • Non sense, being catholic is the best way to achieve the ‘vivre ensemble' you are talking about. The atheism perception imposes more and more freedom restrictions and has no respect on fundamental rights given to parents to see their children learn the faith themselves grown-up with. The transmission of tradition and faith in school has just been cut off from Quebec parents. The ‘vivre ensemble' constrain to only one way to see religion, the way atheism do…

    • To assume, which you seem to be doing, that the riots in France were based solely on race and religion, is to ignore other factors contributing to what was, and is a much more complicated problem.
      You say that Québec "may" face such problems in the future and thus possibly have its peace threatened.You are using fear of a possibility, not a probability, to justify the programme which the government is attempting to force down our throats.
      Also, you have not tendered any argument to prove that "collective peace takes precedence over parent's rights."

    • There is no peace and never can be, without Justice.
      Is this initiative of the Quebec gov't just?
      M. Morse

  20. I am a grand father and I beleive in keeping the religious tradition in Quebec, namely teaching the christian heritage with tolerance, right to not attend, complemented by a course on morals; but the attitude of the present minister and its Government reminds me of what the russians did with the advent of communism in 1917. It took sorrows and pains and 75 years for returning to the christian values.

    • I agree. One could also point out that both the Communists and the Nazis recognized the importance of allocating the educational rights of parents to the state. What better way to control what one's citizens think?

      • Oooh yeah, and Christians (esp. Catholics) have been sooo keen on personal religious choice, eh? Bring on the historical analogies, Kathleen! Let's have 'em!

        • I don't need historical analogies to defend the right of parents as first educators of their children, whatever their religious beliefs or non-beliefs.

        • Jack,

          Are you saying the Quebec State should be the new Catholic Church with its new compulsory Ethics and religious culture course during 11 years of school. No way to escape its missionary endeavour. Do you also know of the new Spiritual animation and community involvement services in all school? PC and New-Ageish all the way. That's the new religion. Did you know that if the State is kicking out Christian faith its still wants to promote a vague and undefined spirituality?

          "A school shall, in particular, facilitate the spiritual development of students so as to promote self-fulfilment."
          Article 36 of the Education act (added in 2000 if I remember properly)

          http://www2.publicationsduquebec.gouv.qc.ca/dynam… 1754238 http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/1754238/ polldaddy]

        • Jack,

          Are you saying the Quebec State should be the new Catholic Church with its new compulsory Ethics and religious culture course during 11 years of school?

          No way to escape its missionary endeavour, the new universal belief system. (For those little versed in Greek, "catholikos" means universal).

          Do you also know of the new "Spiritual Animation and Community Involvement Services" paid by the taxpayer and officiating in all schools? Thoroughly PC and New-Ageish all the way. That's the new religion. Did you know that if the State is kicking out Christian faith its still wants to promote a vague and undefined spirituality?

          "A school shall, in particular, facilitate the spiritual development of students so as to promote self-fulfilment."
          Article 36 of the Education act (added in 2000 if I remember properly)

          <a href="http://www2.publicationsduquebec.gouv.qc.ca/dynam…” target=”_blank”>http://www2.publicationsduquebec.gouv.qc.ca/dynam… 1754238 <a href="http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/1754238/” target=”_blank”>http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/1754238/ polldaddy]

        • Jack,

          Are you saying the Quebec State should be the new Catholic Church with its new compulsory Ethics and Religious Culture course during 11 years of school?

          No way to escape its missionary endeavour, the new universal belief system. (For those little versed in Greek, "catholikos" means universal).

          Do you also know of the new "Spiritual Animation and Community Involvement Services" paid by the taxpayer and officiating in all schools? Thoroughly PC and New-Ageish all the way. That's the new religion. Did you know that if the State is kicking out Christian faith its still wants to promote a vague and undefined spirituality?

          "A school shall, in particular, facilitate the spiritual development of students so as to promote self-fulfilment."
          Article 36 of the Education act (added in 2000 if I remember properly)

          <a href="http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/1754238/” target=”_blank”>http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/1754238/ polldaddy]

        • Jack,

          Are you saying the Quebec State should be the new Catholic Church with its new compulsory Ethics and Religious Culture course during 11 years of school?

          No way to escape its missionary endeavour, the new universal belief system. (For those little versed in Greek, "catholikos" means universal).

          Do you also know of the new "Spiritual Animation and Community Involvement Services" paid by the taxpayer and officiating in all schools? Thoroughly PC and New-Ageish all the way. That's the new religion. Did you know that if the State is kicking out Christian faith its still wants to promote a vague and undefined spirituality?

          "A school shall, in particular, facilitate the spiritual development of students so as to promote self-fulfilment."
          Article 36 of the Education act (added in 2000 if I remember properly)

          <a href="http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/1754238/” target=”_blank”>http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/1754238/ polldaddy]

        • Jack,

          Are you saying the Quebec State should be the new Catholic Church with its new compulsory Ethics and Religious Culture course during 11 years of school?

          No way to escape its missionary endeavour, the new universal belief system. (For those little versed in Greek, "catholikos" means universal).

          Do you also know of the new "Spiritual Animation and Community Involvement Services" paid by the taxpayer and officiating in all schools? Thoroughly PC and New-Ageish all the way. That's the new religion. Did you know that if the State is kicking out Christian faith its still wants to promote a vague and undefined spirituality?

          "A school shall, in particular, facilitate the spiritual development of students so as to promote self-fulfilment."
          Article 36 of the Education act (added in 2000 if I remember properly)

          <a href="http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/1754238/” target=”_blank”>http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/1754238/ polldaddy]

        • Jack,

          Are you saying the Quebec State should be the new Catholic Church with its new compulsory Ethics and Religious Culture course during 11 years of school?

          No way to escape its missionary endeavour, the new universal belief system. (For those little versed in Greek, "catholikos" means universal).

          Do you also know of the new "Spiritual Animation and Community Involvement Services" paid by the taxpayer and officiating in all schools? Thoroughly PC and New-Ageish all the way. That's the new religion. Did you know that if the State is kicking out Christian faith its still wants to promote a vague and undefined spirituality?

          "A school shall, in particular, facilitate the spiritual development of students so as to promote self-fulfilment."
          Article 36 of the Education act (added in 2000 if I remember properly)

          [polldaddy 1754351 http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/1754351/ polldaddy]

          • I'm not in favour of the State having a policy on spirituality any more than you are, I just think it's a bit rich to complain about it from a specifically Christian perspective. As you note, the Church has always described itself as καθολική, so what's the motive for complaint? Jealousy?

  21. Quebec is a sad place. I'm no big fan of the Jesuits but their logic is dead on here and I think they have a case.

    Quebecers aren't reproducing themselves and they're on they'r well on their way to a demographic dead end. They'll probably still blame "les maudits anglais" even though their collective suicide is of their own making. Sad that's it's happening and pathetic that they don't seem to get it.

  22. The Jesuits used to be a proud part of Quebec's history and culture. Now they are viewed as a relic of a bygone era.

    • I wonder how many actual Jesuits are on faculty at Loyola. I taught briefly at a Jesuit college in Massachusetts, once the main Jesuit college in New England, and there were only a five or six still teaching. It's very sad, because they were / are such a great order and have done so much for civilisation. Though I'm not a Catholic, I look at the decline of these institutions in the West and feel such rage at the stupidity of the papacy for failing to modernise and make, for example, the profession of Jesuit attractive to contemporary youth. In Montreal I knew a dozen young francophone guys who would have made outstanding Jesuits — U of M is perpetually teeming with them — and who would have loved to belong to a disciplined, intellectual order that is also such an important part of Quebec's heritage; but if the papacy clings to obsolete bits of canon law much longer then, sadly, such institutions are doomed.

      • Jack you're much better when you're on a topic you actually know something about.

        The Jesuits, like many religious orders of the time, started running amok in the aftermath of the Vatican II reforms and have barely recovered. Their disloyalty to the Church magisterium and the Pope and their crude adoption of cheap left-wing politics through their following of loony "liberation theology" weakened them to no end. Fortunately other relgious orders have picked up the slack.

        • Is this a topic I know something about or not? I can't tell from your comment. I know a little about Jesuits, having worked alongside them for a year.

          The Jesuits have always been opposed to the Pope, amigo. That's why they kept getting expelled from ultramontane monarchies in the 18th century. Last I looked the Vatican was not the only institution in the Church; and in fact one of the attractions of Catholicism is its multiple different factions — sorry, "approaches to faith."

          What I was saying about it being a shame about the Jesuits not attracting new priests was not specific to their order, however. They are hardly in decline because people don't like their politics; if anything, their interest in modernity should have helped them. Anyway, "fortunately other religious orders have picked up the slack" is one of your sadder mistakes. As you know, there's a desperate shortage of priests on all counts, owing almost entirely to the Church's non-doctrinal (i.e. whimsical) insistence on celibacy. It's just particularly sad, to me, in the case of the Jesuits because they were so vital to Quebec's intellectual life for so long.

          • "The Jesuits have always been opposed to the Pope, amigo."

            Yikes! Their founder, Ignace de Loyola, explicitly had as one of his founding principles, fidelity to the pope.

            "Last I looked the Vatican was not the only institution in the Church…"

            Although it distresses the modern mind so, the Church is bulit on hirearchical lines. The Church's founder, Jesus, chose apostles, and one amongst them, Peter, to lead them. The bishops are the modern day descendants of the apostles, and the Pope in Rome is Peter's equivalent. So despite the media's fascination with dissidents like Hans Kung, Catholics worthy of the name pay heed to the bishop's and particularly the bishop of Rome' s direction and guidance on matters of faith.

            As for lack of priestly vocations, it isn't so much a lack of sex for prospective priests that's the problem, it's rather a lack of faith. Things are pretty grim in the Western democracies faithwise, less so in the Third World. Where the faith is strong, there are vocations, where the faith is weak, there are a dearth of them.

          • I'm perfectly well aware that the Church is hierarchical, I'm just saying that the hierarchy isn't everything and anyway it has many branches; and sometimes the lines of authority are a bit blurry. Of course the Pope has ultimate authority on interpreting doctrine etc., that's why I'm blaming him for the fact that the Church is dying in the West (or being reduced to an absolute minimum number of believers). My point being that there wouldn't be such a lack of faith in the West if the Church hadn't gone out of its way to embrace irrationality, not least on such important questions as celibacy for the priesthood. When you start suspecting that your beloved Church is being run by a bunch of creepy whackjobs, you drift away from your faith.

          • I'm perfectly well aware that the Church is hierarchical, I'm just saying that the hierarchy isn't everything and anyway it has many branches; and sometimes the lines of authority are a bit blurry. Of course the Pope has ultimate authority on interpreting doctrine etc., that's why I'm blaming him for the fact that the Church is dying in the West (or being reduced to an absolute minimum number of believers). My point being that there wouldn't be such a lack of faith in the West if the Church hadn't gone out of its way to embrace irrationality, not least on such important questions as celibacy for the priesthood. When you start suspecting that your beloved Church is being run by a bunch of creepy whackjobs, you start to drift away from your faith. Unless you're a fanatic, I suppose, in which case you might prefer that it be run by creepy whackjobs.

          • "… if the Church hadn't gone out of its way to embrace irrationality"???

            Hell, that's what its founded upon.

          • "… if the Church hadn't gone out of its way to embrace irrationality"???

            Hell, that's what its found upon.

          • "… if the Church hadn't gone out of its way to embrace irrationality"???

            Hell, that's what it's founded upon.

          • Maybe you're right, but in the 4th century it was impregnated with Greek philosophy and thoroughly rationalised. The problem is that the rational aspect is being deliberately played down by the Church itself and most of the laity were quite ignorant of it to begin with. One hardly ever sees any actual theology these days that isn't ad hoc, i.e. motivated by some a priori agenda like contraception.

          • Greek philosophy won't help much to rationalise things. Plato reads like a psychopath.

      • These days, newly ordained Canadian priests (very scarce indeed) tend to become Basilians if they are interested in teaching. An old friend (we went to the same Catholic high school) was recently ordained in the Basilian order, and he has taught for years at St. Mike's in T.O..

      • It is precisely the modernisation of canon laws that has emptied the Church. Traditional communities are reviving now from the laxism and relativism that ravaged the Church since the 1960's; and the monastaries and seminaries that are filling quickly with truly outstanding candidates, are the ones that espouse the most generous gift of self through applied love of God; which is sacred and disciplined. If you are hinting that young men do not consecrate themselves to religious life because of celibacy; then you have never spoken to a truly holy priest; nor to a fully convinced candidate to the priesthood. People who give to God are always rewarded hundredfold; the priesthood is a life full of magnificent love.

  23. Socialist Quebec takes one more step in the wrong direction. But it's not surprising that people who believe they can tell you what you put on your signs, also believe they can tell you what your kids learn in school, whether you like it or not.

  24. When my kid came home from school in grade one asking, "Are we Jewish mummy?" I figured out how well public schools teach religion. I think that religion should be taught — learn the Catholic literature, etc. Then an optional 'Other Religions' course — Learn the Jewish literature, learn the Hindu literature. If a school has a religious focus, then it should be understood that all the other subjects, science, humanities, civic studies, even math –are going to pass through a critical filter of Catholism (in this case). That's the deal! That's our Freedom in Canada. I hope they win this case.

  25. Catholicism died a quick death in Quebec during la révolution tranquille. Many would add "and deservedly so," not without merit. And there is a "spiritual void" left. Parents must have the role of spiritual guidance counselors for their children, but I think we can agree that parents have shown a wee bit of reluctance as the anti-Catholic recoil continues. And this watered-down lowest common denominator Religious Trivial Pursuit 101, as well-intentioned as most bureaucratic nonsense begins, runs the risk of exposing in young children the anything-goes philosophy of spiritual development.

    And yet.

    The Ministère de l'éducation provides per-pupil funding to public school boards AND to private schools. There is actually quite a generous subsidy to the private education of children whose parents took that burden off the hands of the state. It is thus not surprising that l'état feels entitled to meddle in the affairs of these schools. How I wish it would be in standardized evaluations of the three R's, but, whatever…

    • Madeyoulook you said :

      "The Ministère de l'éducation provides per-pupil funding to public school boards AND to private schools."

      Provides to some private schools, not all. And funding is not an issue here : whether a private school receives or not some money through the State (taken from the parent's pocket who pay twice since the "generous" subsidy covers at most 60% of tuition) , the course of Ethics and religious culture is imposed on all the children attending that school.

      Such is the meaning of liberty in Quebec : the State must be able train all its future citizens (this is actually what the Minister of Education stated in their written closing arguments).

    • The three Rs in Canada's Public Schools:

      Recitation, Regurgitation, and Rote.

      • The three news Rs are also imposed in Quebec so-called "private" schools since the curriculum is basically the same (a few extra courses can be presented), the teaching methodology (skill-based rather than fact-based) is the same and the exams are the same…

        The State has a Monopoly of Education rather than a Ministry of Education.

          • People are starting their own schools; and recently, ArchBishop Ouellet has started one, too. Other parents are homeschooling. Parents must stop blaming BigBrother and get off their butts and do their duty; and many things will be "fixed"… In the seventies; my mother supplemented our school system education with courses at home, and she supplied educational activities for us as a family and with other families. We were seven kids and my dad worked away most of the time; and my mother also had to work parttime to supplement our family income… People need to turn off the tv and start living! If parents educated their children well; we would have better politicians to vote for!!!

          • 1) "People are starting their own schools; and recently, ArchBishop Ouellet has started one, too"

            It will still have to teach the Government sanctioned courses including Ethics and Religious Culture. (If you need pointers to that effect I can supply)

            2) "Other parents are homeschooling."

            Yes, there is some practical freedom there (at great cost), but none in principle. Maitre Boucher, the Government counsel at the Loyola court case, said that homeschoolers must still teach this course (although this is difficult to enforce, some homeschoolers have to show the ethics work done during the year when they present their so-called portfolio to their schoolboard).

            The only official exemptions : Inuits and Crees in the Kativik schoolboard.

            http://pouruneecolelibre.blogspot.com/2009/05/cit

            3) "Parents must stop blaming BigBrother and get off their butts"

            Parents must go on blaming Big Brother and get off their butts.

          • First Nations have suffered so much it's normal that they should not be exposed to the Repentance & Guilt-centric curriculum.

  26. Interestingly enough, it is the children and teens who need most to start thinking objectively about religion that will be hardest to reach with this aspect of the cirriculum.

  27. Many parents in Québec have been homeschooling their children. This is a huge sacrifice of time, effort and money; but the parents can choose the curriculum and the teaching methods. there are not many French-language based courses; but the government of France has elaborated one for its diplomatic corps, and anyone can apply for it. You can also get the tutoring and the correcting, if you want. At first; all this might seem to be beyond the means of ordinary families; but in my case, parents and friends helped with the bills; and we used homeschooling, cooperative schooling, private (really, really, private) schools, and international schools, to educate our children. I am now a grandmother, and still paying back for the wonderful education of our four children; but I pay back with GRATITUDE and joy; our children are great adults; intelligent leaders; hard workers and good people. Only two have chosen to practice the Catholic Faith; but all four have strong principles of decency; which their friends, employers, and colleagues appreciate. We could never have done this alone; but nobody has to go it alone. YOU ARE LOVED. Deo Gratias.

    • Actually, even home-schooled kids are technically obliged to follow the provincial curriculum, including this new program! It may not be easy to enforce but it is still the law.

  28. Excuse my bad english. How do you like your soup, salad, meat, dessert and wine in the same plate? That's exactly what "our" government wants the schools teach to the children. This government is driving our lifes more and more when deciding what OUR kids will beleive in! Deo Gratias, we still have choice to comment, but for how long…

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