Schools defying Church teachings may lose Catholic status

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MANILA, August 17, 2012— The Catholic hierarchy may strip a school of its affiliation with the church if they go against its teachings particularly on life issues, a ranking archbishop said.

Archbishop Jose Palma, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, said this is possible if a Catholic school and other institutions violated ethical and religious directives of the church.

“If we are a Catholic school, we should not teach anything contrary to the official teaching of the church,” Palma said.

Amid the debate on a controversial artificial contraception measure, he admitted that there is a clash of beliefs between the church and teachers of some Catholic schools.

However, the Cebu archbishop said they are trying to solve the problem through a dialogue.

“In some places, we first talk to them because some teachers may have some misunderstanding of what they think of freedom of conscience or academic freedom,” said Palma.

“In some of the universities, we say that if you want to teach that idea, do not do it in a Catholic school because we are confusing the students… do it in other universities,” he said.

The CBCP head stressed that the motive why parents send their children to Catholic schools are for reasons of faith formation.

“They are hoping that their children will learn the Catholic teaching and also the Catholic formation,’ he said.

“It will be a contradiction if we will bombard them with ideas which are against the official teachings of the Catholic faith,” added Palma.

Around 160 professors of the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) have openly expressed their support for the passage of the reproductive health (RH) bill opposed by the Church.

The professors first released this statement in 2008, and reiterated their stand recently as the House entered into the period of amendments on the RH measure.

They also stated that they are not speaking for the entire Ateneo institution and only expressing their personal position.

The ADMU, however, as a Jesuit and Catholic university, clarified that it still stands with the CBCP and the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus.

Only last month, the Vatican has withdrawn the Catholic identity of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, because some of its policies are “not compatible with the discipline and morals of the church.”

The Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium has also come into question in recent years as the Vatican probed the embryonic stem-cell research conducted at Leuven and its sister institution, Louvain. [RL/CBCPNews]




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