Advocates of homeschooling applauded a statement by the Vatican's representative to the United Nations in which he defended parents' right to homeschool their children. Archbishop Francis A. Chullikatt, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See, said in remarks to the international body, "Parents ... have the right and duty to choose schools inclusive of homeschooling, and they must possess the freedom to do so, which in turn, must be respected and facilitated by the State." He added, "For some time now, my delegation has noticed a disconcerting trend, namely, the desire on the part of some to downplay the role of parents in the upbringing of their children, as if to suggest somehow that it is not the role of parents, but that of the State."
Speaking at the Economic and Social Council at the UN on behalf of Pope Benedict, Archbishop Chullikatt "States are called to have respect for the freedom of parents to choose for their children schools, other than those established by the public authorities, to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions which equally applies to their right to make judgments on moral issues regarding their children."
Michael Farris, the founder the Home School Legal Defense Association, and president of parentalrights.org, expressed support for the Vatican statement. "This is an important and welcome announcement. We are pleased with the Vatican's recognition of the human rights principles involved in these issues." said Farris on May 9 in a statement. "Education plays a vital role in achieving these goals and parents' rights must be protected -- the Vatican's statement is an important addition to our work to protect parental rights."
Michael Donnelly, director of international relations at the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), says that the statement by the papal delegation comes at a crucial time for homeschooling families. "States such as Germany, Sweden, and Brazil have turned a blind eye to international documents that explicitly state parents have a prior right to determine the form of education their children receive. Families in these countries are facing increasing persecution in the form of fines and threats against child custody. Many families have fled countries as a result of this persecution and we are glad to have the Vatican's support of home education as a human right."