It is tragic that a legal right granted to Catholic schools to protect Irish Catholics from prejudice in Protestant British Ontario in 1867 is today being wielded as an instrument of discrimination.
A Protestant majority is no longer being served by the publicly funded school system.
It’s odd that Roman Catholics, the largest religious group in the world and the least in need of protection, have been elevated to a position of privilege above all others, by having their own publicly funded education system.
The Catholic school system has the absolute legal right to discriminate against non- Catholics in admissions to elementary schools and in employment at all levels.
If we were starting from scratch, would we create this publicly funded system today – one group of schools for a specific denomination of one religion, and one group of schools for everybody else? I think not.
When a Catholic family chooses to send their children to a Catholic school, it may appear to be a religious choice. According to Father James T. Mulligan in “Catholic Education: Ensuring a Future”. Ottawa: Novalis, 2005, 70 to 75 per cent of the families using publicly funded Catholic schools are considered “unchurched.” Most families using separate schools are making a secular choice based on such factors as test scores, programs and location.
Religion is rarely a factor.
The unnecessary and wasteful duplication in bureaucracy, services and facilities worsens the perpetual funding crises facing our schools.
Ontario can no longer afford to fund a religious school system where three-quarters of the families using the system don’t even attend church.
The Catholic schools are probably as “wonderful” as they say. Why can’t my children access them? The UN has twice ruled Canada to be violation of various Human Rights instruments by virtue of the discriminatory nature of Ontario’s separate school system. This is shameful and unjustifiable religious discrimination.
I’m not saying that Catholic schools should be eliminated. I’m saying that the publicly funded aspect of them should be eliminated. If their faith-based schools are indeed as central and important to the Catholic community as we are led to believe, there should be no hesitation on the part of the parents to pay thousands of dollars a year to send their children to private Catholic schools, while still paying their taxes to support the public system, as many Jewish, Muslim and Baptist parents are doing under the current system.
“. . . with respect to the fundamental rights of the person, every type of discrimination, whether social or cultural, whether based on sex, race, colour, social condition, language or religion, is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God’s intent.”
– Pope Paul VI, (pastoral constitution on the Church in the Modern World, December, 1965).
…this post forwarded by J.Mac after an April 25, 2007 letter to The Owen Sound Sun Times by Peter Jones (of Brantford)