Give religious reps a vote on education committees, Scottish bishop urges

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.”

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.