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GODLESS EDUCATION





THE other defect, respecting education as found in the public schools
of the land, is that it leaves the soul out of all consideration and
relegates the idea of God to a background of silent contempt. On this
subject we can do no better than quote wisdom from the Fathers of the
Third Plenary Council of Baltimore.

"Few, if any, will deny that a sound civilization must depend upon
sound popular education." But education, in order to be sound and to
produce "beneficial results, must develop what is best in man, and make
him not only clever, but good. A one-sided education will develop a
one-sided life; and such a life will surely topple over, and so will
every social system that is built up of such lives. True civilization
requires that not only the physical and intellectual, but also the
moral and religious, well-being of the people should be improved, and
at least with equal care.

"It cannot be desirable or advantageous that religion should be
excluded from the school. On the contrary, it ought to be there one of
the chief agencies for moulding the young life to all that is true and
virtuous, and holy. To shut religion out of the school, and keep it for
home and the Church, is, logically, to train up a generation that will
consider religion good for home and the Church, but not for the
practical business of real life. A life is not dwarfed, but ennobled,
by being lived in the presence of God.

"The avowed enemies of Christianity in some European countries are
banishing religion from the schools (they have done it since) in order
to eliminate it gradually from among the people. In this they are
logical. Take away religion from the school, and you take it away from
the people. Take it away from the people, and morality will soon
follow; morality gone, even their physical condition will ere long
degenerate into corruption which breeds decrepitude, while their
intellectual attainments would only serve as a light to guide them to
deeper depths of vice and ruin. A civilization without religion would
be a civilization of 'the struggle for existence, and the survival of
the fittest,' in which cunning and strength would become the
substitutes for principle, virtue, conscience and duty."

One of the things the Catholic Church fears least in this country is
Protestantism. She considers it harmless, moribund, in the throes of
disintegration. It never has, cannot and never will thrive long where
it has to depend on something other than wealth and political power. It
has unchurched millions, is still unchurching at a tremendous rate, and
will end by unchurching itself. The godless school has done its work
for Protestantism, and done it well. Its dearest enemy could not wish
for better results.

Popular education comes more and more to mean popularized irreligion.
The future struggles of the Church will be with Agnosticism and
Infidelity--the product of the godless public school. And without
pretending to be prophets or sons of prophets, we Catholics can foresee
the day when godless education, after making bad Christians, will make
bad citizens. And because no civilization worthy of the name has ever
subsisted, or can subsist, without religion, the maintenance of this
system of popular and free government will devolve on the product of
Christian education, and its perpetuity will depend upon the
generations turned out of the religious school.

The most substantial protest the Catholic Church offers against godless
education is the system of her parochial schools; and this alone is
sufficient to give an idea of the importance of this question. From
headquarters comes the order to erect Catholic schools in every parish
in this land as soon as the thing can be done. This means a tremendous
amount of work, and a tremendous expense. It means a competition on
educational grounds with the greatest, richest and most powerful nation
in the world. The game must be worth the candle; there must be some
proportion between the end and the means.

The Catholic Church has the wisdom of ages to learn from; and when she
embarks on an enterprise of this kind, even her bitterest enemies can
afford to take it for granted that there is something behind it. And
there is. There is her very life, which depends on the fidelity of her
children. And her children are lost to her and to God unless she
fosters religion in her young. Let parents share this solicitude of the
Church for the little ones, and beware of the dangers of the godless
school.





Next: CATHOLIC SCHOOLS

Previous: EDUCATIONAL EXTRAVAGANCE



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