The Catholic Bishops’ Conference on Friday rebuked the education ministry for removing the word “God” from its vision statement.
A vision statement is “not an empty platitude. It guides the articulation of policy. It guides action plans,” said conference president Archbishop Socrates Villegas.
âWe maintain that the training of God-fearing pupils and students is a vision that cannot be abandoned,â said the prelate.
He added that the ministry’s vision, mission and values ââstatement “is a living document that aims to reinvigorate … society as a whole.”
“It’s meant to permeate and affect the way we behave and the way we find solutions to complex problems. It’s meant to be part of public discourse and personal transformation.”
The Education Ministry decided to remove the phrase “training functionally literate and God-fearing Filipinos” from its vision statement after atheists and the Filipino free thinkers group complained that the phrase was “too bigoted. For a government institution.
In a letter last year, Filipino free thinkers said the use of the phrase “loving God” violated the “principle of secularism”.
The words “enshrine theism as the preferred belief system and imply that those who do not subscribe to the belief in a deity are second-class citizens at best with flawed or incomplete values,” the group said.
He added that the Philippine constitutional separation of church and state was “inviolable.”
The Ministry of Education then rewrote its vision statement as follows: âWe dream of Filipinos who passionately love their country and whose values ââand skills enable them to realize their full potential and make a meaningful contribution to the building up of their country. of the nation. “
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In a statement released last week, the ministry said its vision, mission and core values ââ”constitute one document and must be read in their entirety to fully understand their meaning.”
Villegas, however, said that a child’s right to recognize, love and hope in God “cannot harm anyone else, believer or not”.
He said respect for pluralism “does not force civil society to strike the name of God out of public life as the majority of Filipinos continue to recognize the sovereignty of God and trust in divine providence.”
The prelate called on Catholic teachers not to tire of teaching “that God is the beginning and the end of all things, that he is the Father who wants all to have life, and that they have it in fullness â.
He reminded the teachers of the dignity of their vocation as âevangelizers in the world and its concernsâ.