Archbishop Cerro, the Primate of Spain, accuses the Spanish government of acting totalitarian. In the picture, Minister of Education Isabel Celaà.
The Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of Spain, Msgr. Francisco Cerro Chaves, accuses the Spanish left-wing government of "totalitarian" action - a statement that makes people sit up and take notice in the midst of the Corona crisis.
The primate criticized the latest educational reform, the so-called Celaà law, named after the Basque socialist Isabel Celaà. Celaà since 2018 Education Minister and spokesperson of the Popular Front government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (PSOE) that from which Socialist Worker's Partty (SOE), the radical left party Podemos, the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) and the left-wing United Left (IU) is composed.
The educational reform resolved by this parliamentary majority at the end of 2020 provides for the cancellation of funding for private schools and the abolition of religious education. The first measure is to strangle the private schools, which are mainly Catholic-sponsored, and to remove them in favor of a state monopoly. A monopoly that, according to leftist ideas, should in any case be designed without religion and remote from the Church in the educational canon. The second measure is aimed directly against the Catholic Church. Both measures aim to weaken the influence of the Church and ban it from public life in Spain.
It is late, but the resistance to the law is begginning to rise. This includes the scathing criticism by the Spanish primate Archbishop Cerro. He accused the government of "calling themselves democrats and calling for freedom", but in reality acting "totalitarian".
What the government is presenting as a step towards a “modern education system” is in reality neither modern nor new, but rather “very old”, said the Archbishop. All of the pedagogical approaches contained therein come from the day before yesterday and have strong ideological connotations, said Msgr. Cerro. They have been "repeated for decades" by the Spanish left.
Since the early 19th century it has been a "constant" that almost every Spanish government has changed the education law. But not every reform was a win. The current governing parties would “stubbornly” insist on repeating the same mistakes in education “over and over again”, the Archbishop said.
"Ideological interests take precedence over the real purpose of education."
The primate takes particular offense at "many articles and interventions" by the government, which more or less openly deny or attack the right of parents to have their children raised according to their own moral and religious convictions. This is a serious and blatant attack on parental rights.
The primate therefore demanded a right for parents to be able to choose between state and private schools with a denominational background. This does not call for the private schools to be stiffled, but for their equality in order to ensure a real choice. After all, the money for the education budget comes from the taxes of all citizens. An education that does not meet the expectations of the parents cannot claim to fulfill its educational mandate.
Minister Celaà had announced that religion would no longer be a subject of instruction and that the subject where it was still taught would no longer appear in the certificate. The government has disregarded the society's desire to respect parental rights, the Archbishop said.
"This right is concretized in the right to choose a school and in the right to choose religious instruction."
In conclusion, the archbishop named with reference to Pope Benedict XVI. the fundamental problem on which the current education discussion is based:
“The great basic problem of today's education has its roots in the current anthropological crisis. We live in a deep anthropological crisis that manifests itself in an educational crisis. The deeper and more precise the understanding of people, the better educational measures can be developed. "