Ontario Catholic schools cannot require students to attend Mass, court rules [CC]

Catholic schools in Ontario cannot require students to attend Mass, the Ontario Superior Court has ruled.Catholic high schools in Ontario are at times required to accept non-Catholic …


How much of a benefit is a student going to get out of Mass if he’s only going because he is required anyway?

But yes, I could see this since in Canada, the parochial schools are paid for by the tax payer, it’s a different story than in the US where parochial schools are strictly private.

The student may be getting more benefit than we think. I wouldn’t discount how much God can do with very little.

I think you make an interesting point about tax-payer funding for Catholic schools. The way I see it, if the government is going to go through the trouble of funding a Catholic school system, then they should expect Catholicism to be an integral part of that system. If public money can’t be associated with religion, then why bother to fund a Catholic school board. Integrate it with the public system (or make it a private school) and call it a day. I don’t think anyone is winning (certainly not Catholics) with the current state of affairs.

I teach for a Catholic board here in Ontario and yes, the current situation is not ideal to say the least…the general public has been trying to merge the public and Catholic boards into one forever and a day, saying that it will cut down in expenses…however, the same number of students will still exist and regardless of whether they attend a public or Catholic school, the same number of teachers will be required…the only duplication would be at the management level, and even then, you can’t have one curriculum consultant or one superintendent be responsible for double the staff and work load…as for high school students being exempt from religious education classes and mass/liturgical celebrations, I personally don’t agree with it, but it was the only way the Catholic boards could get funding at the secondary level back in the day (elementary schools were funded earlier in the game)…I teach at the elementary level, grade 2 in fact, and I love being able to teach and participate in the lives of my students when they receive their First Reconciliation and First Eucharist…at our level, it used to be that the child had to be baptized Catholic, now it’s been changed to just one of the parents, and this too is having an effect in that the majority of my students have either never or very seldom set foot in a church…trust me, this is a topic that comes up every election and with this being a contract year for teachers across the province (both public and Catholic), I am sure it will be getting tons of media attention again…pray for us that we keep our funding and that teachers like myself, can continue to be stewards of our Faith…

Not to discount that good work that people like you are doing, but wouldn’t it be better if the Catholic system severed all ties with the government? The government has already told Catholic schools what Church teachings they can and cannot teach (specifically Church teaching on homosexuality in the territories an attempt by Ontario to stop Catholic schools from teaching on abortion). Removing government funding seems like it is the only way ensure that Catholic schools stay Catholic. Most of the schools we have now seem barely worthy of the title. I chose to go to a public highshcool instead of Catholic one and I doubt my faith formation suffered,

Well that is too bad, but I suppose if a person does not share the Catholic belief they should be free to “not attend.” Personally I hate to see Canada start acting like the USA. It is not going to help the nation out at all.

My mom was from Canada, and went to Mass even though she was not a Catholic. She learned a great deal, including Latin, and found the experience enlightening. Now we seem to have a world full of people who think the only way to live and avoid things they don’t believe in is to crawl in a whole and learn nothing at all.

It makes sense. We are supposed to have “free will” so a student should not be “forced” to go if they don’t feel it, should they?
Also… aren’t many students at Catholic schools not Catholic? It would be odd to require a student who is an Atheist or Jewish or Buddhist etc to go to Catholic mass.


When I was a child, I went to a French Catholic school in Manitoba. We had nuns teaching, religion classes etc. My parents paid no tuition and we did not wear uniforms. It provided a superior education compared to the local secular public schools. The very few non-Catholic students were exempt from religious studies.

Here in BC, we have publicly funded traditional schools, French immersion schools and fine arts schools. I think the Manitoba situation worked well, as any parent who was seriously adverse to Catholicism wouldn’t have sent their children there anyway.

I’m not sure that compelling Mass attendance is appropriate although, I would question the parent complaining on why they didn’t just send their child elsewhere. It doesn’t seem altogether fair to want a superior education for your child and then dictate the terms of their involvement in the curriculum.

Where I live, we have an awesome Catholic school that is attended by non-Catholics as well. It has consistently scored extremely high in provincial rankings. All the students attend Mass (for occasions such as Ash Wednesday, etc.) The non-Catholic students simply present themselves in the Communion line with arms crossed for a blessing instead. Problem solved, to me. And please don’t derail my post by commenting on the receiving a blessing at Communion issue. :o :slight_smile: I’m just mentioning how it is dealt with at my parish.

You know, my mother could only go through the 8th grade as a girl, and her Canadian education was so superior to that of the USA, even then, that she had studied as much as the average university student in the States. All of my cousins who live in Canada have a better education than we received here in the States as well, and only one went to University to become an Architectural Engineer. It amazes me how substandard the educational levels are here in the States when compared to many countries.

As for the Catholic Schools, my mother thought they were great. In addition to learning French she got to study Latin and the Catholic Faith. Due to her heritage she also learned Russian, German and Dutch. My father later discovered that my mom could learn to speak almost any language in a matter of minutes when exposed to those who spoke them, such as Spanish, Chinese, Greek. She would simply sit for a while, listen to the conversations going on, and then start talking with whoever was in the room with her. It was amazing to see.

It’s more odd that an atheist, Jew, or Buddhist is going into a Catholic school knowing what takes place and then coming out of it offended. Don’t want the teology/religious aspect of Catholic schools? Feel free to go to a public school.

I wonder if you’d share this same stance if they went after Hasidic/Jewish schools, Muslim, Buddhist, etc.

You are aware what the passing grade in some parts in Canada is, right?


50! Half-wrong, half-right and that’s considered acceptable in Canada.

As to the U.S. being subpar when it comes to testing and grades, you may want to consider what Neil deGrasse Tyson has to say on the matter.

Well, now I never heard of half right, half wrong. As for my cousins, of whom live in every Canadian Province, this was not the case. If they tested out of a grade level they had to continue to get very high marks to remain in the grade they passed on to. Most where finished with school by the age of 16, with the equivalent of a USA College Degree or better.

The USA has been steadily declining in the areas of math and science over the last 30 years. We don’t have the best standard of education by global comparison at all. A friend of mine who has to send workers to France on a routine basis warns the families that the children will be set back 4-5 years in school when there. This is so they can continue at their US level in the French schools.

I have young 2nd cousins in school now (USA) and I simply can’t believe how little they are teaching them for their age. It is horrible. When I was in Kindergarten 49 years ago we were learning to read, add and subtract, working on fractions, studied history. Now it seems all they do is play. We have kids leaving HS without being able to read at a third grade level or even balance a check book. It is called social passing and it is ruining this countries future.

Your cousins are not indicative of all of Canada’s students.

One thing that gets overlooked is how differently the bar is set by each country. What cuts the mustard in one country wouldn’t be up to par in another. A failing student here would be passing elsewhere. Canada is not the only country where a 50 would be recognized as passing. Some parts in Germany also do it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s also true in France.

Again, may want to look into what Neil has to say about the overall “test standards” in the world and how they compare with the real world.

While technically correct, you can do nothing with a 50% other than pass. AND a pass meaning half wrong/half right is only true for things like math. In english/history and such it’s all based off of how well you met the expectations. 50 means you didn’t meet expectations, but you snuck by; 65 means you met expectations of the course, barely. Half wrong, half right is certainly not considered ‘acceptable’ unless there is some real reason the student didn’t achieve a higher grade.

Then there’s the fact that, in high school, they put questions onto math and science exams that somewhat relate to the coursework but that the students haven’t been made familiar with. At least in Ontario, students aren’t expected to be able to get 100% on a test because some of the questions asked are beyond the scope of the course, intentionally.

You also wont get into university or college with a string of grades in the 50’s and 60’s… and you won’t get into a good one without grades in the 80’s (or higher, depending on your program and the school). You also won’t earn your degree if your average is less than 60%, even if you pass all your courses.

Catholics are being hoodwinked into accepting the situation of “double taxation” as a fair price for not having government hooks into catholic schools. Don’t settle for this second hand citizen nonsense! It amounts to paying jizya to the secularists in our own country.

All it takes to avoid this sort of nonsense is to avoid DIRECT funding of catholic schools and instead set up a system in which catholic school parents who elect to relieve the public school district of the financial burden of educating their children are entitled to a direct school district re-imbursement up to 20% of what the PUBLIC district spends per student (defined as total district expenditures divided by number of enrolled students). I’d even be fine with such a credit being subject to the student either scoring above average in standardized tests or, failing that, the student meeting remedial progress goals established by a public school district specialist in the matter (thus avoiding the case of rotten parents pocketing money and NOT educating their kids at all.

It seems to me that such an approach disconnects government from the schools altogether and merely meets the ORIGINAL purpose of public education funding: that the education of children is the shared financial burden of society, not ONLY the burden of the parents in question. It also creates a win-win scenario. public schools will see their enrollments reduced, but will be left with MORE money per student to spend than they have now.

Huh, you say? Look at the specifics. A typical school district these days in a metro area might have 10,000 kids residing in district boundaries. Today, about 4-5% of them are in private schools. That district probably spends at least $12,000 per student in total (and “only” about $9k per normal student since special ed is enormously expensive). So total current district expenses are 9,500 kids * $12,000 = $114 million per year.

Now implement my policy and watch the private school enrollments jump to 8%. Public school expenses now change significantly. Private schools rarely can accommodate special ed students, so the change is probably $114million - (300*$9,000) + (800*$2,400) = $113,220. See? I just saved the taxpayers almost $800,000! Alternately, the public school district can now spend an extra $306 per student per year. Maybe that’s enough to restore a cut art or music class?

Ah, you say, but once you do this MORE private schools will open and suck more public education funding away. OK, let’s look at that. After a few years, private school enrollment grows to 15% of the total residents in the district and one public school is closed and sold to a private school. Here’s the math now: $114M - (1,000*$9,000) + (1,500*$2,400) = $108.6M in total expenditures. The district now has $12,988 per student to spend per year. Now they can restore art, music AND buy each student an ipad mini.

Who loses in this plan? Nobody except control-hungry bureaucrats and teacher’s unions. It restores much more educational control to parents and increases the educational opportunity and potential for ALL students. What’s not to love?

In Australia the government funds both public and private schools. Gradually more and more people are choosing private schooling.

The private sector now educate about 30% of pupils and the Catholic sector is by far the largest covering about 25% of Australian school students.

The question for me is why is the government sector secular? I think we have stumbled into the undefendable position that secular is somehow neutral.

At least in Australia the Catholic system gets a fair go and parents have the choice of voting with their feet (or their children’s feet).

Here’s a question:

Would it be any different if someone refused diversity/sensitivity training at work? :hmm:

That’s “free will” too.

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