The Canadian Supreme Court has imposed relativism through the education of children disregarding parental rights. Ironically, it was the insistence upon the practice of ecumenism by certain Canadian Catholic churchmen that forwarded this liberal agenda. This judicial act contradicts the natural law which dictates that parents have the right and responsibility to educate their children, not the state.
A unanimous ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada on Friday, February 17, 2012, has taken upon itself to impose upon all children in Quebec, even without parental consent and in direct opposition to its refusal, a course of religious instruction that denies the objective truth of any religion. It concerns the Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) program, implemented in the province of Quebec as of September 2008, which presents side by side all the world’s religions. With unheard of dictatorial power, the province’s Ministry of Education imposed this program on all children in grades 1–11, including those in private schools and home-schooled children.
This program was legally contested by a Catholic family in Quebec, aided by the Coalition for Freedom in Education. Having lost the case in the Quebec courts, they appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which agreed to hear the case in July 2011, delivering its ruling on February 17, 2012, rejecting the family’s request for exemption from the ERC program. The unanimous decision was written by Justice Marie Deschamps, on behalf of herself and six other judges, arguing that the course does not infringe on a particular set of religious beliefs because it remains neutral to religion (LifeSiteNews.com, February 17).
She furthermore had this to say:
Exposing children to a comprehensive presentation of various religions without forcing the children to join them does not constitute an indoctrination of students that would infringe the freedom of religion of [the parents]... State neutrality is assured when the state neither favours nor hinders any particular religious belief, that is, when it show respect for all postures towards religion, including that of having no religious beliefs whatsoever." (LifeSiteNews.com of February 20).
Major progressivist steps
This is a major step in the progressive elimination of religion from society, and in the development of an always more radical and more anti-Catholic secularism. There are two main problems with this decision, both in the purely natural order:
- It strips parents of all rights in the religious education of their own children. By imposing this program on every child, the government and the court have stolen from parents their responsibility and their right in the natural law to take care of the education of their children. This is a position no less perverse than that of the communist dictatorships of the past hundred years, and entirely destroys the natural fabric of society, making of the child a possession of the state rather than the responsibility of parents.
- The content of the program is anything but neutral, and certainly does constitute an indoctrination. The indoctrination is precisely that all the religions are equal, that no one is right or wrong, and that truth and falsehood are unattainable in matter of religion, which is rather a question of personal preference or arbitrary choice. These principles destroy most particularly the Catholic Faith, but secondarily all religion, the only ones profiting being those who have “no religious beliefs whatsoever”, in favour of whom this program was designed.
Burden of proof shifted
The family’s lawyer, Jean-Yves Cote, pointed out that the courts have changed the burden of proof.
- Whereas formerly it was necessary to show that a program went against the parents’ sincerely held faith, now it is necessary to show that a child’s participation in a course would impede their ability to raise him in their Catholic Faith, or as the court put it, they must provide evidence that it has “interfered with their ability to pass their faith on to their children”. (ibid.)
- He further points out that what is totally new about this approach is that it requires an objective proof or evidence that the freedom of religion of the plaintiff is infringed.
- From the Catholic perspective, there can be no doubt that such a relativist program harming the Faith of the children.
- However, it is impossible to prove this to a court that does not admit any argument based upon religion. Consequently, by refusing the parents’ objection of conscience as an argument in itself, the court removes from the parents any possible basis for requesting exemption from this ignominious law.
- It truly imposes the relativism of this course and makes it obligatory for all children, and both parents’ rights and the freedom to practice the Catholic Faith are consequently utterly denied.
Ecumenism to blame
How did the formerly so-Catholic province of Quebec descend to such a level as to wrest away from parents the right to give their children a Catholic education? LifeSiteNews gives a hint to this when it quotes the original ruling of Quebec Superior Court Justice Jean-Guy Dubois, based largely on the testimony of a priest-theologian from Laval University, Fr. Gilles Routhier, who emphasized the Catholic Church’s respect for people of other faiths, and a statement from the Quebec Bishops’ Assembly that exemptions from the course would not be warranted a priori, that is without actual evidence of harm.
Thus Justice Dubois wrote:
The court does not see how a Catholic child who attends the ERC course could be violated in his conscience and his religion. Even the leaders of the Catholic Church admit the validity of an objective presentation of other religions."
Ecumenism breeds indifferentism
Consequently, there can be no doubt that this decision is the direct effect of the post-conciliar practice of Ecumenism, and of the indifferentism that it breeds, and that if the bishops and the Catholic Church in Quebec had resisted strongly, it would never have been implemented in the first place. It would seem that the only objection that the modernists can make is if after 15–20 years they finally discover the actual evidence of harm, namely that their children have all lost the Faith. This is precisely what happened after Vatican II, and they still do not understand the relation of cause to effect.
There is, however, some reaction from the hierarchy—although too little and too late.
Neutral presentation generates relativism
The Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education did write a letter, used as evidence in the trial, stating that
if religious education is limited to a presentation of the different religions, in a comparative and ‘neutral’ way, it creates confusion or generates religious relativism or indifferentism...The rights of parents are violated, if their children are forced to attend lessons or instructions which are not in agreement with their religious beliefs."
Cardinal Ouellet, former Archbishop of Quebec, even described this ERC program as “the dictatorship of relativism applied beginning in elementary school”. (Ib.) This dictatorship has gone so far that the Ministry of Education has sued Loyola High School, a Jesuit boys’ school in Montreal, because it dared to incorporate the obligatory ERC course into the context of the Catholic Faith, that is because it dared to affirm the truth of its faith while at the same time teaching about other faiths. The legal battle in this case is ongoing, but the attack on the Catholic Faith is frightening.
As always, it is the weakness of the faithful and of the shepherds that it is the devil’s tool to bring about the destruction of souls, the loss of Faith, and the overturning of any semblance of recognition of God’s rights over families and society.