The Welsh Government are looking to expand the scope of traditional RE to include ‘Religion Value and Ethics’, removing the academic rigour of the subject and reducing it to an over-simplistic comparison exercise which fails to understand the fundamentals of faith and religion. Archbishop George Stack reflects:
The Welsh Government wants to take away the rights of parents to withdraw their children from both Religious Education (RE) and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). They also want to dumb-down the subject of RE and force schools to teach children about worldviews instead.
The Church teaches that family is much more than just a unit in the culture or economy. Parents are the primary educators of their children and our schools aid them in that task. While parents may choose various modes of education for their children it remains the parents’ duty above anyone else’s to teach their children. This necessarily means remaining informed and involved in the education children are receiving and supplementing or moderating when the need arises. The proposals by the Welsh Government remove this fundamental basic right of parents.
Concern must also be taken when looking at the Religious Education provision for our children. For families who do not currently have the option of sending their children to a Catholic school, they must be allowed to retain the right to withdraw their child from RE in their own school. Also the proposed introduction of worldviews as a central focus for RE provision moves the subject away from a theological discipline into a more sociological model i.e. removing God who is at the centre of everything and replacing Him with secular ideology.
Archbishop George is asking parishioners to urgently contact their Assembly Members and demand that the State does not usurp parents’ rights to decide how to teach these sensitive topics to their children. To contact your AMS please visit the Catholic Education Service website.