Sunday, February 25, 2007

Persecution Watch: Parental Rights Under Assault in Massachusetts

This is extremely disturbing. Vatican II teaches us that, in raising children, the responsibility of parents is primary: "Since parents have given life to their children, they have a very grave duty to educate them, and so are to be recognized as their primary and principal educators" (GE, No. 3). And Pope John Paul II, explaining the conciliar teaching more fully in Familiaris consortio No. 36, says that: "The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life; it is original and primary with regard to the educational role of others, on account of the uniqueness of the loving relationship between parents and children; and it is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others."

Canon Law is also very clear on this matter. Canon 793, 1., states that: "Parents as well as those who take their place are obliged and enjoy the right to educate their offspring; Catholic parents also have the duty and the right to select those means and institutions through which they can provide more suitably for the Catholic education of the children according to local circumstances" and Canon 1136 says that: "Parents have the most serious duty and the primary right to do all in their power to see to the physical, social, cultural, moral and religious upbringing of their children."

This inalienable right of parents has been recognized by the United States Supreme Court. In 1922, the State of Oregon attempted to enact legislation that would have forced all children to attend the public schools within that state. But the Supreme Court overturned that decision and established that "The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations."


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