When he was campaigning for the presidency, Juan Domingo Perón had had a lot of help from the Roman Catholic clergy. Some 500 priests stumped the hinterland; Santiago Luis Cardinal Copello issued a Perón-slanted pastoral letter. Last week, Perón paid off.

Over the voices of the Radical Opposition, the Peronista majority in the Chamber of Deputies voted to legalize compulsory Catholic religious instruction in Argentina's primary and secondary public schools. Compulsory religious instruction had been specifically barred by law in 1886. It was instituted by presidential decree in 1943.

During the five...

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