The United States’ refusal to offer subsidies to private religious education puts the country in the same league with repressive Communist nations, a Vatican official said recently.
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, blasted U.S. education policy during a speech at Catholic University of America in Washington. Miller said Europeans are “absolutely amazed” by the lack of private school funding in America and said that policy puts the country “in the company of Mexico, North Korea, China and Cuba.”
Miller, a native of Canada, said Catholic schools make “enormous contributions to society” and called government funding of them “so fundamental to the life of the church that this struggle cannot be given up,” reported Catholic News Service and the far-right Catholic paper The Wanderer.
Miller followed his demand for public funding with remarks highlighting the sectarian nature of Catholic education. He said Catholic schools should be marked by “a profound Christian anthropology” and asserted that in a Catholic school the church’s theology should be “what anchors the system.”
Added Miller, “Catholicism should permeate not just the class period of catechism or religious education, or the school’s pastoral activities, but the entire curriculum.”
Miller went on to discuss the situation in Ontario, where he was raised. Ironi\xadcally, he noted that Catholic schools there were gradually pressured by government officials to stop imposing religious qualifications on teachers after they started receiving state aid.
“The result was disastrous,” Miller said. “With the influx of non-Catholic teachers, many schools ended up by seriously compromising their Catholic identity.”
Critics say Miller apparently does not understand that the United States declines to fund religious schools out of concern for church-state separation, not out of hostility to religion, as is the case in the North Korea, Cuba and China.