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Tutorial Help in Parochial Schools

July 28, 1985

If one is familiar with Catholic canon law, as Msgr. Mihan should be, then it does not require a "leap of imagination" to conclude that public-supported tutoring in parochial schools advances a religion.

Canon Laws 1215 through 1217 place moral obligation on Catholic parents to send their children to schools controlled by the Catholic Church or, failing that, to schools in which nothing against Catholic doctrine is taught.

The Catholic school system exists to preserve and advance the Catholic faith.

If remedial instruction is needed by Catholic children and Catholic schools are unable to provide it, Catholic parents have the option of enrolling them in public schools when it is offered. But this will expose the children to influences that may weaken their adherence to the faith.

For this reason, Catholic educators have established programs of tutoring by public school teachers, paid for by general taxation.

This permits the needy children to remain within the Catholic schools and to remain free from secular influences.

The program is therefore intended to aid in the preservation and advancement of a particular religion and is therefore clearly unconstitutional.

KENNETH H. BONNELL

Los Angeles

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