Sunday, March 22, 2009

Eastern bishops lament school treatment of children

A meeting of Australia's Eastern Rite bishops has complained to Latin Church bishops and to the National Catholic Education Commission over the religious education and treatment of Eastern Rite Catholic children in Australian Catholic schools.

Catholica reports that Bishop Peter Stasiuk on behalf of the Eastern Catholic Bishops contacted ACBC President Archbishop Philip Wilson to have the matter placed on the agenda of the full meeting of the ACBC in May.

Archbishop Wilson has also undertaken to have the matter forwarded to the National Catholic Education Commission, Catholica says.

The Eastern Rite bishops endorsed a paper they had commissioned on the issue by Fr Olexander Kenez and Fr Brian Kelty.

"The cold reality is harsh," the paper says. "Many things continue to happen which do harm to the Christian upbringing of Eastern Catholic children and adolescents.

"Latin Catholic clergy frequently refuse communion to young children who are entitled to receive holy communion from the time of their reception of the mysteries of initiation which includes first Eucharistic communion.

"The lamentable ignorance of some Catholic school teachers is demonstrated by the not infrequent claims that Catholic schools are designed and meant for the education of Latin Catholics exclusively; all others must simply accept the regular religious practices offered in a one size fits all approach," the paper says.