SHEILAH KAST, host:
Spain’s socialist government once more finds itself at odds using the Roman Catholic Church. First, it had been within the legalization of same-sex marriages. It involved easing limitations on divorce and abortion. Next, it had been within the government’s authorization of stem cell research. The church is upset using the government’s decision to help keep religious education optional in public places schools. Jerome Socolovsky visited a college near Madrid where children find out about their belief.
(Soundbite of kids playing)
Unknown Child #1: (Spanish spoken)
JEROME SOCOLOVSKY reporting:
Stampeding children crisscross the playground from the Vicente Alexandra Grade School(ph). It is a public school like every other in The country, and after recess, it is time for religion class.
Ms. MARTHA PEREZ(ph) (Instructor): (Spanish spoken)
Unknown Child #2: (Spanish spoken)
Unknown Child #3: (Spanish spoken)
SOCOLOVSKY: The teacher, Martha Perez, is hired through the local Roman Catholic diocese, but she states that what she teaches is far from Roman Catholic dogma.
Ms. PEREZ: No, no, no, no, no, no. (Spanish spoken)
SOCOLOVSKY: `It’s religious education, not catechism. You educate religion exactly the same way you’d educate math or science, with belief, of course, because you are religious and you are Christian and also you attempt to transmit that towards the children,’ she states.
Legally, every public school in the united states is needed to educate Roman Catholicism, the belief in excess of 80 % of Spanish. When there are sufficient non-Catholic pupils, a category within their creed or perhaps an alternative in ethics should also be provided. However the courses are optional and also the church wants these to be mandatory. The bishops are furious the pm, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, canceled legislation that will did exactly that and replaced it with new legislation that will keep religion classes optional.
(Soundbite of crowd noise)
SOCOLOVSKY: In a recent interfaith event in Madrid, Father Mariano Parone(ph) belittled the brand new law. He stated Zapatero has run out of touch with its Spanish public opinion if he thinks belief shouldn’t have any devote public schools as with America.
Father MARIANO PARONE: It’s absolutely not the same as america. You don’t ordinarily have wine with lunch we all do. Therefore it is another point of view meaning of the tradition, and contains been a convention to possess a Christian or Catholic education in public places institutions for education.
SOCOLOVSKY: Surveys reveal that Spanish hang on to their Catholic identity despite their liberal thoughts about issues for example abortion and gay legal rights.
(Soundbite of crowd noise)
SOCOLOVSKY: When courses are at the Vicente Alexandra school, the children hurry out with the gate. One of the waiting grown-ups is really a grandmother inside a black fur coat. Ana-Maria Belmonta Blanco(ph) thinks it is good the religion class is optional. She recalls what school was like throughout the Franco dictatorship when she would be a child.
Ms. ANA-MARIA BELMONTA BLANCO: (Spanish spoken)
SOCOLOVSKY: `We began school with Mass and ended with fully Breaking of the bread and confession throughout your day,A she states, `but that isn’t right. In the end, just a little girl of eight years, what sins could she commit?’
When her granddaughters emerge from school, Ms. Belmonta beams with pride.
Ms. BELMONTA BLANCO: (Spanish spoken)
SOCOLOVSKY: `Look what beautiful granddaughters I’ve,A she states, `and they feel in God. See? You discover in the teacher, not, darlings?’ `The only factor left,’ she adds, `is they find good husbands later.’ For NPR News, I am Jerome Socolovsky in Madrid.
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