23 JANUARY 1892, Page 2

The Bill on religious education which is to be introduced

into the Prussian Parliament, has been published, and is seen to go very far. The parents of any child, if they hold a religions belief, may insist that the child shall be taught it in the school by a professor of that belief. If thirty parents belonging to any religious body demand a separate school, it may be built for them at the discretion of the authorities ; but if sixty, it must be built. Children not belonging to any religious body may be forced to attend religions instruction, if not exempted by the President of the province ; and if so exempted, must be privately educated in the parents' peculiar tenets. In schools belonging to a religious confession, the teachers must all belong to that confession ; and the clergy obtain the right not only to be present, but to examine the children, and to admonish the teachers if they find their religions instruction in any way unsatisfactory. In Catholic schools, the priest shall be regarded as the authorised religious superintendent. We have said enough on this law—which in England would be regarded as retrograde—elsewhere, but may observe here that it has obviously two objects. One is to conciliate the Catholic Church, which gains all it has ever asked ; and the other is to prohibit directly sceptical teaching. The sceptics do not belong to any confession, and in the teeth of official disfavour and the mothers' resistance, will have the greatest difficulty in so organising themselves as to secure separate schools. They probably will not make the attempt, but will rely, as thousands of parents in Catholic countries do, upon the tuition of the world after the boys leave school. The Bill will be stoutly resisted by the Liberals, probably on the ground of the heavy expense it may involve.