As it stands, the ecumenical council’s revised draft on Christian education does not go as far as present Church law in demanding that Catholic parents send their children to Catholic schools.
Commenting on the new draft distributed in the council for a vote, Msgr. Mark J. Hurley, vice chancellor of the San Francisco archdiocese, told newsmen at the U.S. bishops’ press panel that it was possible to hold new discussions on the draft because it has been extensively revised since last year’s council debate. He cautioned, however, that such a move, if it comes, should not be interpreted as a “plot involving progressives against conservatives.”
The decision on what to do about the new material has been a serious one among the bishops, he said; even the voting procedure has been changed since the vote was first announced Oct. 1. At that time, Archbishop Pericle Felici, the council’s secretary general, said the text would be divided into five sections for voting purposes. Since then, Msgr. Hurley said, it has been decided to further narrow down the material in each section to be voted on by having 14 votes, thus making it easier for the bishops to eliminate specific sections they don’t like without having to vote against a large section of the document.
Comparing the text debated last year with the present revision, Msgr. Hurley said the suggestion for a post-conciliar commission on educational matters has been retained. The present text goes further than the old one, however, in trying to counteract any overemphasis on the role of parents in their children’s education by stating clearly that the teacher is not only a delegate of the home or state or Church, but also a representative of society as a whole in the task of perpetuating culture, he said. The interlocking role of all these influences on the child’s education is stressed.
New wording in the section dealing with state aid to education, he said, represents a compromise. Although not as clearly worded as Francis Cardinal Spellman of New York had asked last year, the text does favor assistance in the name of distributive justice so that the freedom of parents is safeguarded in the choice of education for their children. Continue reading