Loyola High School

Loyola High School

June 21, 2010 15:00 ET

Ethics and Religious Culture Course: Neither a Victory nor a Defeat

Loyola High School reacts to the decision of the Superior Court of Quebec

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - June 21, 2010) - The direction of the Loyola High School has reacted today to the decision rendered on June 18th by the Superior Court of Québec in the case involving the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport du Québec (MELS), regarding the Ethics and Religious Culture Course.

"We are pleased by the judgment rendered by the Court but would caution against seeing it as a Loyola victory or a government defeat. As a member of the academic community in Montréal since 1896, Loyola is proud to work daily alongside the government in promoting excellence for the students of Quebec" mentions Father Rob Brennan, S.J., President of Loyola High School.

Background and facts

Loyola petitioned the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sport under a regulatory provision which allows a private educational institution to be exempted from a ministerial program provided that it teaches an equivalent program.

With its request, Loyola presented the program it wished to offer, a program with the same two objectives as the Ethics and Religious Culture program — namely recognition of others and the pursuit of the common good — as well as content involving the study of the world's major religious traditions and of ethical questions in a manner presenting the full range of views on those issues. Loyola's program differed from the ministerial program in that it remained imbued with Jesuit pedagogical principles, which the "professional posture" required by the ministerial program would have forced it to abandon.

Loyola's request was denied on the ground that its program was not equivalent to the ministerial program because it was confessional in character. Confronted with a refusal that it considered to be unjustified, Loyola decided to take action and contest the decision before the Superior Court of Québec. "We want to acknowledge the support of Jacques S. Darche and Mark Phillips of the law firm Borden Ladner Gervais L.L.P. who have supported us all through this long process on pro bono basis" adds Father Brennan.

On June 18, 2010, the Superior Court rendered its judgment and concluded that the decision to refuse our request was invalid because it assumed that a confessional program could not achieve the goals proposed by the ministry program.

As it was clearly stated by philosopher Georges Leroux, advocate of the ministerial program, who testified as the government's expert at trial, there is no reason to think that Loyola's Jesuit pedagogy cannot accomplish the goals of recognition of others and the pursuit of the common good.

Therefore, the Superior Court acknowledged that while it is in the government's purview to mandate a program that deals with this subject matter, it is not its place to exclude all other forms of achieving the same goals.

"We have always acknowledged the government's central role in seeking the common good and have desired to work with it in order to find constructive ways for confessional groups to work alongside all men and women of goodwill to build a better society for all. We have always understood our role in this matter as contributing to a public discussion on the role of confessional institutions in an increasingly secular society" comments Paul Donovan, Principal of Loyola High School.

Loyola High School is an English private school founded and managed by Jesuits which traces its origins to 1848. Located in Montréal, it is home to 750 boys from Secondary 1 to 5. Its mission is the formation of mature, responsible Christian adults, in accordance with the tradition of the Catholic Church and the Society of Jesus.

Source: Loyola High School www.loyola.ca

Contact Information

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