WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 22, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. bishops’ secretary for education says that Senator Edward Kennedy’s opposition to hurricane relief aid for private and religious schools “makes no sense.”
“Denying educational aid to victims of Katrina because they attended Catholic schools is like denying home repair assistance to anyone who is not in public housing,” said Dominican Sister Glenn Anne McPhee.
“Congress needs to reach out to help all afflicted by disaster, whatever their race, economic level, or school ties,” she said.
In a statement dated Wednesday and posted today at the bishops’ Web site, the woman religious said: “Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), ironically, stands as the premiere politician opposed to helping these young people. It is at best incredible that the senator who has built his government career on helping the disadvantaged can turn away from them in what may be their hour of greatest need.
“Who can be poorer than a young person who has lost his home, his school, his pet, his neighborhood and even, in some cases, members of his very family? Must such a young person be denied educational aid because the parents chose to enroll him or her in a Catholic or other nonpublic school?”
Sister McPhee continued: “Senator Kennedy said he is ‘extremely disappointed’ that in President Bush’s plan for hurricane relief, aid would go to students no matter where they attend school.
“He’s not half as disappointed as his fellow citizens who see his [Kennedy’s] attitude as discriminating against what amounts to 45 percent of the students in New Orleans, many of them African-American and underprivileged by anyone’s standards.”
The bishops’ secretary of education added: “Just as insupportable as Senator Kennedy’s position is that of Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY) who, similarly, seems to want to ignore the Catholic and other nonpublic schools which have opened their doors to evacuees.
“He has introduced a bill in Congress to help public schools defray the cost of accepting new students. He conveniently ignores the fact that Catholic schools in Texas and Louisiana also have opened wide their doors.”