Holy See at UN Laments Lessened Parental Role in Raising Kids

Calls on States to Respect Parents' Choices

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By Junno Arocho

NEW YORK, MAY 2, 2012 (Zenit.org).- A delegation of the Holy See's permanent observer mission to the United Nations, led by Cardinal Francis Assisi Chullikat, addressed the United Nations Commission on Population and Development. 

Speaking last week at the 45th Session of the U.N. commission, the Holy See delegation asserted the importance of families in the formation of adolescents and youth. 

"The family is the original nucleus of society, the primordial foundation of social ties and the locus where the relations of tomorrow -- nuptial, parental, filial, fraternal -- are cultivated,” the delegation affirmed. The statement recalled that the family, founded on the union between a man and a woman, “accomplishes its mission of being a living cell of society in which human life is welcomed and protected from its beginning until its natural end.”

Citing the importance of the education of children, the delegation lamented a "disconcerting trend" whereby the role of parents is downplayed. 

“The State has an essential responsibility to assure the provision of educational services, and the right to educate is a fundamental responsibility of parents, religious institutions and local communities. ... Public institutions, especially at the local level, organizations of civil society and also the private sector, can offer their unique and respective contributions to the attainment of universal access to education,” the delegation stated. 

Respect

Within the educational process, the Holy See delegation reminded members that states should ultimately respect the choices made by parents and avoid attempts at ideological indoctrination. 

“As affirmed in international law, States are called to have respect for the freedom of parents to choose for their children schools, other than those established by the public authorities, to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions which equally applies to their right to make judgments on moral issues regarding their children”.

The U.N. Commission on Population and Development, which was established in 1946 as one of 10 commissions established by the Economic and Social Council, advises the U.N. on matters dealing with population issues and trends and related development policies and programs.

The Holy See delegation, although highlighting the progress that the commission has made in reducing the number of children without access to primary education, stated that much more needed to be done to fulfill the commitment for all boys and girls to gain access to primary education by 2015. As of 2008, 67.5 million children remain out of school, and if the current trajectory continues, the goal of universal primary education cannot be met. 

The delegation urged the the U.N. commission to move more toward an authentic rights-based approach to development that focuses on the human person, the nature of family, the role of parents, and respect for religious, ethical and cultural backgrounds at the center of all development concerns.

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-34700?l=english