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|Pontifical council for the family|
Family and human rights
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67. The Declaration also recognizes the right to private property not only as individuals but also in association with others.58 It recognizes the right to religious freedom, including the right of believers to associate with others in worship and education.59 Lastly, the Declaration emphasizes the fact that parents have the right to choose and guide their children's education.60
68. In this regard, it is good to recall that the family's educational mission has its normal complement in the educational institutions. Parents "share their educational mission with other individuals or institutions, such as the Church and the State. But the mission of education must always be carried out in accordance with a proper application of the principle of subsidiarity".61 It should not be forgotten that "all other participants in the process of education are only able to carry out their responsibilities in the name of the parents, with their consent and, to a certain degree, with their authorization".62
69. Naturally, as many psycho-pedagogical studies indicate, a child's early years are decisive in the subsequent formation of its personality. Therefore, the fact that parents can entrust their children to educational institutions of their choice is not only of interest to the children but also to society.
70. Nonetheless, as the example of many countries indicates, including countries that are considered "developed", an effective means of destroying the family consists in depriving it of its educational function under the false pretext of giving all children equal opportunities. In this case, the "rights of children" are invoked against the rights of the family. The State often invades areas proper to the family in the name of democracy which ought to respect the principle of subsidiarity. We find ourselves before an omnipresent and arbitrary political power. The State or other institutions appropriate the right to speak on behalf of the children and remove them from the context of the family. As so many unfortunate past and present experiences reveal, the ideal for a dictatorship would be to have children without families. All attempts to substitute the family have failed.
58) Cf. Ibid., art. 17, 1.
59) Cf. Ibid., art. 26, 3.
60) Cf. Ibid., art. 26, 3.
61) Gratissimam Sane, 16.
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