Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
March 24, 2003
WCR Letters to the Editor
Schools require co-operation
The March 10 WCR ran a letter to the editor under the headline, "Who runs Alberta Catholic schools?" The letter, signed by John Zyp of Edmonton, went on to answer the question with the statement that "trustees have the final decision."
It is clear to the trustees responsible for the operation of Catholic schools in the Red Deer area that the traditional group of home, school and parish share the responsibility. Catholic schools are operated for the benefit of the greater Catholic community.
Canon law governs the acts of trustees as well as the acts of bishops. Canon 800 requires "Christ's faithful to do everything possible to establish and promote Catholic schools." Canon 802 requires a bishop to ensure that Catholic schools are established. Canon 804 requires trustees and bishops to work together to ensure that their operation is to a reasonable standard.
While Catholic schools have traditionally educated 20 to 25 per cent of the students in Alberta, 50 per cent of the growth in student numbers in the last 10 years has gone to Catholic schools. Obviously, parents increasingly want Catholic education for their children.
Alberta's bishops have a long tradition of strong support for Catholic education. The simple fact that, at the time of the creation of Alberta, our forefathers enshrined government-supported Catholic schools is a testament to the work of our bishops.
Our present bishops continue that tradition through their involvement in the Alberta Catholic School Trustees' Association, by political involvement and through their encouragement of priests' roles in our classrooms.
Recently, Alberta's bishops and Catholic school trustees have collaborated to develop a position on sharing school buildings within which all boards the bishops can work. It is a position that reflects the responsibility of boards to make reasoned decisions for their communities and also respects the role of bishops to meet their canonical responsibilities to shepherd their flocks.
To suggest that a Catholic school board could build or operate a Catholic school without the support of the local bishop is absurd.
To suggest that a bishop might withhold support for any education-related initiative without good reason is equally absurd. And to suggest that there is something wrong with requiring school boards and bishops to develop consensus for new initiatives is irresponsible.
Bishops and school boards need to mutually respect each other's roles. Our success depends on our joint commitment to support Catholic education and openness to dialogue on our mutual mission to serve children.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.