French government interference

The French government is about to impose on private schools ('ECOLES HORS CONTRAT') a new set of terms and conditions for employment of staff. The main issues concerning us here are:
1. The right of staff to express their own opinions on religious and moral matters etc, a right which they may well already have had, but which we were never obliged to include in contracts; and 2. A scale of remuneration which obliges us to pay high salaries, commensurate with qualifications and experience, even if we cannot afford them and the teachers don't want them.

Let us look at a hard case. I am hypothetically faced with a teacher of history, religion or biology who denies the existence of God and the creation. Both facts, I know with unshakeable certainty, are truths known by natural reason. As such, these facts are an intrinsic part of all three of those disciplines. I suspect that on the teaching of religion we would find a way around the problems. But for history and biology, the State would no doubt propose that the existence of God were a question of completely private religious conviction. But my reason (as well as my acceptance of the teachings of Vatican I on this very subject) would lead me to take an exactly contrary position: the Creation by God, and the existence of God are truths that may be arrived at by reason alone. Moreover, it seems to me that no teacher of any subject may deny reason and yet fairly expect to remain a teacher. I hope I will never have to deal with such a situation.

When I told one of our teachers that the new state-dictated contracts included a 'freedom of religious expression' clause, the response came: "Great, then we can express our Catholic faith without fear, then ..." It is going to be interesting to see how this particular right is going to sit with the same State's pathological obsession with stamping out 'derives sectaires' (or 'extremism', for short) in schools and elsewhere.

Perhaps the teachers at Chavagnes could express their new legally-enshrined freedom of religious expression with a collective pronouncement of the Oath of Fidelity to the living Magisterium of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Now there's an idea ...


Popular Posts