Dundee, Scotland, May 29, 2019 / 11:40 am (CNA).- The Bishop of Dunkeld has met with local government officials to discuss the council area's decision to strip voting rights from religious representatives on education committees.
“The outcome of the meeting was both cordial and fruitful,” Bishop Stephen Robson said May 28, according to The Courier, a Dundee daily. “Both parties are moving forwards to engage in a meaningful collaboration, working to strengthen our mutual partnership in support of Catholic education.”
Earlier this month, Perth and Kinross Council became Scotland's first council area to withdraw religious representatives' voting rights on education committees. The Scottish government had decided that while religious representatives must be appointed to council areas' education committees, they do not have to be afforded voting rights on those committees.
The Humanist Society Scotland has urged that the rest of Scotland's 32 council areas also deny religious representatives a vote on education committees.
Perth and Kinross has four Catholic schools, and the Scottish Catholic Education Service “said the Church now has a diminished say” on their future, The Courier reported.
Catholic schools in Scotland are part of the state system, and are not owned by the Church. The Church does have rights over the content of religious and moral education at its schools.
Barbara Coupar, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, said, “our representatives do not vote on matters that will not impact on Catholic schools. We believe there was a disproportionate response from the council on this issue and there were better alternatives to resolve the issue. The Church representative on the education committee has an invaluable role in articulating the official response of the Catholic Church on these matters.”
After meeting with Bishop Robson, Perth and Kinross council leader Murray Lyle said that “senior elected members and council officials met with representatives of the local Diocese of the Scottish Catholic Church, and would endorse the view expressed by Bishop Stephen. We look forward to continuing to work closely with our colleagues in the Catholic Church.”
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