Portugal Bishops See Dire Effects in Funding Cuts

Say Parents Have Right to Choose Where Children Are Educated

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 FATIMA, Portugal, JAN. 18, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The bishops of Portugal are criticizing cuts in government funding that have reduced by 30% support for private education. 

Last Tuesday the Permanent Council of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference (PEC) reflected in Fatima on the latest government decisions in the field of private education in Portugal. 

According to a report from the Fatima Shrine press office, Father Manuel Morujao, PEC spokesman, stressed the “great concern” of the Portuguese bishops. 

According to the priest, the new norms cut funds by 10% for public education and by 30% for private. 

He said these cuts affect nearly 100 private schools, “with thousands of pupils, which involve thousands of parents and also thousands of teachers and employees. Hence, it is a public service of private education.” 

In the words of Father Morujao, the bishops believe that what is in question is democracy itself. 

“It is a duty of the state to foster this liberty that parents must have to be able to choose education and, in consequence, the school they desire for their children, whether it is linked to this or that ideology, religious confession, or is agnostic or atheist,” he said. The spokesman emphasized that the bishops aim “to promote parents’ freedom of choice.” 

Furthermore, the priest observed, private education costs the state less than public education. 

The Portuguese bishops, he said, want “the government entities to open their hearts and minds in face of the reality of dozens and dozens of schools that must close, causing problems and social instability.”

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ZENIT Staff

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