The Church Schools Association, the Secretariat for Catholic Education and the Council of Major Religious Superiors, together with representatives of parent organisations whose children attend Church schools, expressed their serious reservations on the Draft Equality Law (Bill 96) currently under discussion in Parliament. The draft, which should have had the aim of promoting respect towards diversity, is in actual fact undermining freedom of religious belief with dire consequences on the expression of a Catholic ethos inherent in Church schools. This violates of the right of parents to choose a school with a specific ethos for their children.
Should this draft law not be amended, Catholic educators can be asked to promote values which go against their conscience.
Due to these shortcomings, the Church Schools Association, the Secretariat for Catholic Education and the Council of Major Religious Superiors, together with representatives of parent organisations whose children attend Church schools proposed specific amendments in the draft law, particularly the introduction of a fundamental clause which provides for conscientious objection, together with other amendments that protect the right of parents to choose a Catholic education for their children. Whilst Church schools remain committed to promote equal dignity and respect for all persons irrespective of their diversity, all members of Parliament are being asked to truly endorse and protect values of diversity and human dignity, together with freedom of religious belief as long as this falls within the parameters of human rights.