Religion at school, “there is a need for secularism”

After the comment of the lawyer llaria Valenzi, the analysis of Silvana Ronco, for years engaged in and outside the Protestant churches for the secularity of the school and for religious pluralism

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Rome (NEV), January 2nd, 2021 – The call for the competition reserved for teachers of the Catholic religion in Italian schools should arrive at the beginning of 2021. The decision, as we have explained in this article, is the outcome of a recent agreement between the Ministry of Education and the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) . We took the opportunity to deepen the theme, always much discussed, of the hour of the Catholic religion together with Silvana Ronco, Methodist, mother of four children, former president of the Association 31 Ottobre (Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy – FCEI) and member of the FCEI Council, for years committed to pluralism and secularism in the Italian school.

Silvana Ronco explained that the school problem must be tackled as a whole. At present there is a great need of support in the face of the enormous new problems linked in particular to distance learning. As the lawyer Valenzi already said to the Nev Agency, the decision of the Ministry marks at least a priority on the part of the institution when only the teachers of an optional subject are stabilized. Access to teaching for Catholic religion teachers has been the expression of a privilege for years: this path, which is clearly fully legitimate (based on the Concordat, ed), is discriminatory, since teachers’ religious conduct is a prerequisite and is verified by the bishop. Would it be possible in this conditions that, for example, an LGBTQI person be a religion teacher? Secularism, which is not anti-clericalism, should be behind and within the choices of the Ministry of Education, in particular and especially today, in the face of the new needs related to the pandemic. To relaunch a debate on the “market” of knowledge, is needed now more than ever. “We are certainly not in a progressive phase – concluded Rocco – for this reason it is necessary for Protestants to become even more defender of everyone’s rights, even of those minorities who often have no voice. Indeed I am launching an appeal to reconstitute a table, a space for discussion, it is a debate and a theme that must be at the heart of Protestants: if not us, who else?”.