Pope Stresses Parents' Right to Choose Catholic Schools

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 19, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II appealed for the right of parents to offer their children a Catholic school formation.

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The Pope made his appeal today when observing «Catholic School Day,» organized by the Diocese of Rome. To mark the event, several thousand teachers and pupils gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray the midday Angelus with their Bishop.

Addressing the participants from the window of his study, John Paul II called the day «a propitious occasion to reflect on the original formative proposal, inspired by the Gospel, and on the integral vision of the human person that a Catholic school offers children.»

The objective of Catholic schools is to help students «to address in a positive way the important questions of life,» the Pontiff said. He expressed the hope «that every family will have the concrete possibility to choose this type of school for its children.»

The Pope has said previously that the exercise of this right implies that the state must give financial support to these schools, since some families wouldn’t be able to afford them otherwise.

The Holy Father thanked those who work in Catholic schools and acknowledged «the quality of the service they offer, and the tenacity and spirit of sacrifice with which they face the difficulties.»

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