Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra
Gónzález de Valle, José M.. ""Libertad de enseñanza en materia religiosa y su plasmación legal"". Persona y Derecho, 6 (1979) : 427-447.
Freedom of education regarding q:ligious matters is not achieved simply by making
provisions in study plans for the possibility of taking up an optional course dedicated
to the study of this or that particular religion. A neutral type of religious
formation, in which greater or Iesser doses of Catholicism, Protestantism or Atheism
are to be mingled together, is simply not feasibIe.
Religious liberty rests upon freedom of education as a prerequisite. This freedom
exists when any citizen -or, in the case of a person who is unable to fend for
himself,his parents or guardians-- is given a variety of options in educational matters
which enable him to choose that educational center which best suits bis necessities
or purposes. Religious liberty in education is onIy one more element -although perhaps
the most relevant one- contained within the notion of freedom ef education.
Most legal texts of the highest order -constitutional charters of many States and
numerous international agreements- usually name the right to freedom of education
along with other fundamental rights, a special mention usually being given to religious
Iiberty in education. However, it must be borne in mind that in numerous occasions
of basic rights legal texts in many aspects are merely declarations of principIes, and
in practice these principies may indeed neverbe fully applied.
There are two main factors which make freedom of education possible in an
effective manner: a) freedom garanted in the creation of educational centers which
are allowed the possibility of organizing themselves in accordance to particular lines
not imposed from without and which are to be respected by the Law, and b) equality
with regard to the financlng of all educational centers, public or prívate.
The topic of the «confessionality» of education refers to the doctrinal content
of non-religious subject maters. This content is to be found in a large number of
subjects, particulary in the branch of Humanities. The systematic study of the doctrinal
content of a particular religion is another matter altogether which bears no relation
to what is to be understood by the terro confessionality of education.
This conceptdoes not contradict the principIe of religious liberty. On the contrary,
the guarantee of this liberty is to be found in the existence of pluralism in
schooIing which permits one to freely choose whatever type of education best
corresponds to his own convictions in religious matters.