2. Education


The system originated in New England; strictly speaking, in Massachusetts. As originally established in Massachusetts, it was simply a system of parochial schools. The parish and the town were coincident, and the schools of the several school districts into which the parish was divided were supported by a tax on the population and property of the town, levied according to the grand list or state assessment roll. The parish, at its annual town meeting, voted the amount of money it would raise for schools during the ensuing year, which was collected by the town collector and expended under the direction of a school committee chosen at the same meeting. Substantially the same system was adopted and followed in New Hampshire and Connecticut. In Vermont the towns were divided or divisible, under a general law, into school districts, and each school district decided for itself the amount of money it would raise for its school and the mode of raising it. It might raise it by tax levied on the property of the district, or as it was said, "on the grand list," or per capita on the scholars attending and according to the length of their attendance. In this latter method, which was generally followed, only those who used the schools were taxed to support them. This latter method was, in its essential features, adopted in all, or nearly all, the other states that had a common-school system established by law. In Rhode Island and most of the southern states the inhabitants were left to their own discretion to have schools or not as they saw proper, and those who wanted them found and supported them at their own expense. In none of the states, however, was there developed at first a system of free public schools supported either by a school fund or by a general tax on property levied by the state, though Massachusetts contained such a system in germ.

Gradually, from the proceeds of the public lands, from lots of land reserved in each township, especially in the new states, for common schools, and from various other sources, several of the states accumulated a school fund, the income of which, in some instances, sufficed, for the support of free public schools for all the children in the state. This gave a new impulse to the movement for free schools and universal education, or schools founded and supported for all the children of the state at the public expense in whole or in part, either from the income of the school fund or by a public tax. This is not yet carried out universally, but is that to which public sentiment in all the states is tending; and now that slavery is abolished and the necessity of educating the freedmen is deeply felt, there can be little doubt that it will soon become the policy of every state in the Union.

The schools were originally founded by a religious people for a religious end, not by seculars for a purely secular end. The people at so early a day had not advanced so far as they have now, and did not dream of divorcing secular education from religion. The schools were intended to give both religious and secular education in their natural union, and there was no thought of the feasibility of separating what God had joined together. The Bible was read as a class-book, the catechism was taught as a regular school exercise, and the pastor of the parish visited the schools and instructed them in religion as often as he saw proper. Indeed, he was, it might be said, ex officio the superintendent of the parish schools; and whether he was chosen as committeeman or not, his voice was all-potent in the management of the school, in the selection of studies, and in the appointment and dismissal of teachers. The superiority in a religious and moral point of view to the schools as now developed may be seen by contrasting the present moral and religious state of New England with what it was then.

The religion, as we Catholics hold, was defective and even false; but the principle on which the schools were founded was sound and worked well in the beginning, did no injustice to anyone, and violated no conscience; for Congregationalism was the established religion, and the people were all Congregationalists. Even where there was no established religion and different denominations obtained, conscience was respected; for the character of the school, as well as the religion taught in it, was determined by the inhabitants of the school district, and nobody was obliged to send his children to it, and those only who did send were taxed for its support. (Vol. 13, pp. 242-244.)


The Religious Difficulty


But in none of the states is there now an established religion, and in all there are a great variety of denominations, all invested with equal rights before the state. It is obvious, then, the Massachusetts system cannot in any of them be adopted or continued, and the other system of taxing only those who use the schools cannot be maintained, if the schools are to be supported from the income of public funds or by a public tax levied alike on the whole population of the district, town, municipality, or state. Here commences the difficulty- which has as yet received no practical solution and which the legislatures of the several states are now called upon to solve.

Hitherto the attempt has been made to meet the difficulty by excluding from the public schools what the state calls sectarianism- that is, whatever is distinctive of any particular denomination or peculiar to it- and allowing to be introduced only what is common to all, or, as it is called, "our common Christianity." This would, perhaps, meet the difficulty if the several denominations were only different varieties of Protestantism. The several Protestant denominations differ from one another only in details or particulars, which can easily be supplied at home in the family or in the Sunday-school. But this solution is impracticable where the division is not one between Protestant sects only, but between Catholics and Protestants. The difference between Catholics and Protestants is not a difference in details or particulars only, but a difference in principle. Catholicity must be taught as a whole, in its unity and its integrity, or it is not taught at all. It must everywhere be all or nothing. It is not a simple theory of truth or a collection of doctrines; it is an organism, a living body, living and operating from its own central life, and is necessarily one and indivisible, and cannot have anything in common with any other body. To exclude from the schools all that it distinctive or peculiar in Catholicity is simply to exclude Catholicity itself, and to make the schools either purely Protestant or purely secular, and therefore hostile to our religion, and such as we cannot in conscience support.

Yet this is the system adopted, and while the law enables non-Catholics to use the public schools with the approbation of their consciences, it excludes the children of Catholics unless their parents are willing to violate their Catholic conscience, to neglect their duty as fathers and mothers, and expose their children to the danger of losing their faith and with it the chance of salvation. We are not free to expose our children to so great a danger, and are bound in our conscience to do all in our power to guard them against it and to bring them up in the faith of the church, to be good and exemplary Catholics.

The exclusion of the Bible would not help the matter. This would only make the schools purely secular, which were worse than making them purely Protestant; for as it regards the state, society, morality, all the interests of this world, Protestantism we hold to be far better than no religion – unless you include under its name free-lovism, free-religion, woman’s-rightism, and the various other similar isms struggling to get themselves recognized and adopted, and to which the more respectable Protestants, we presume, are hardly less opposed than we are. If some Catholics in particular localities have supposed that the exclusion of the Protestant Bible from the public schools would remove the objection to them as schools for Catholic children, they have, in our opinion, fallen into a very grave mistake. The question lies deeper than reading or not reading the Bible in the schools, in one version or another. Of course, our church disapproves the Protestant version of the Bible as a faulty translation of a mutilated text; but its exclusion from the public schools would by no means remove our objections to them. We object to them not merely because they teach more or less of the Protestant religion, but also on the ground that we cannot freely and fully teach our religion and train up our children in them to be true and unwavering Catholics; and we deny the right of the state, the city, the town, or the school district to tax us for schools in which we are not free to do so.

We value education, and even universal education- which overlooks no class or child, however rich or however poor, however honored or however despised – as highly as any of our countrymen do or can; but we value no education that is divorced from religion and religious culture. Religion is the supreme law, the one thing to be lived for; and all in life, individual or social, civil or political, should be subordinated to it, and esteemed only as a means to the eternal end for which man was created and exists. Religious education is their chief thing, and we wish our children to be accustomed, from the first dawning of reason, so to regard it, and to regard whatever they learn or do as having a bearing on their religious character or their duty to God. … We hold that education, either of the intellect or of the heart, or of both combined, divorced from faith and religious discipline, is dangerous alike to the individual and to society. All education should be religious and intended to train the child for a religious end; not for this life only, but for eternal life; for this life is nothing if severed from that which is to come. …

Of course, we do not and cannot expect, in a state where Protestants have equal rights with Catholics before the state, to carry our religion into public schools designed equally for all. We have no right to do it. But Protestants have no more right to carry their religion into them than we have to carry ours; and carry theirs they do, when ours is excluded. Their rights are equal to ours, and ours equal to theirs; and neither does or can, in the eyes of the state, override the other. As the question is a matter of conscience and therefore of the rights of God, there can be no compromise, no splitting of differences or yielding of the one party to the other. Here comes up the precise difficulty. The state is bound equally to recognize and respect the conscience of Protestants and of Catholics, and has no right to restrain the conscience of either. There must, then, be a dead-lock, unless some method can be devised by which the public schools can be saved without lesion either to the Protestant or the Catholic. (Vol. 13, pp. 244-247.)


The Public-School System Not to be Abandoned


We, of course, deny the competency of the state to educate, to say what shall or shall not be taught in the public schools, as we deny its competency to say what shall or shall not be the religious belief and discipline of its citizens. We, of course, utterly repudiate the popular doctrine that so-called secular education is the function of the state. Yet while we might accept this second solution as an expedient, we do not approve it and cannot defend it as sound in principle. It would break up and utterly destroy the free public-school system, what is good as well as what is evil in it; and we wish to save the system by simply removing what it contains repugnant to the Catholic conscience – not to destroy it or lessen its influence. We are decidedly in favor of free public schools for all the children of the land, and we hold that all the property of the state should bear the burden of educating the children of the state – the two great and essential principles of the system, and which endear it to the hearts of the American people. Universal suffrage is a mischievous absurdity without universal education; and universal education is not practicable unless provided for at the public expense. While, then, we insist that the action of the state shall be subordinated to the law of conscience, we yet hold that it has an important part to perform and that it is its duty, in view of the common weal and of its own security as well as that of its citizens, to provide the means of a good common-school education for all its children, whatever their condition, rich or poor, Catholics or Protestants. It has taken the American people over two hundred years to arrive at this conclusion, and never by our advice shall they abandon it. (Vol. 13, p. 252.)


Separate Schools


We repeat it, what we want is not the destruction of the system, but simply its modification so far as necessary to protect the conscience of both Catholics and Protestants in its rightful freedom. The modification necessary to do this is much slighter than is supposed, and, instead of destroying or weakening the system, would really perfect it and render it alike acceptable to Protestants and to Catholics, and combine both in the efforts necessary to sustain it. It is simply to adopt the third solution that has been suggested, namely, that of dividing the schools between Catholics and Protestants and assigning to each the number proportioned to the number of children each has to educate. This would leave Catholics free to teach their religion and apply their discipline in the Catholic schools, and Protestants free to teach their religion and apply their discipline in the Protestant schools. The system, as a system of free schools at the public expense, with its fixtures and present machinery, would remain unimpaired; and a religious education, so necessary to society as well as to the soul, could be given freely and fully to all, without the slightest lesion to any one’s conscience or interference with the full and entire religious freedom which is guarantied by our constitution to every citizen. The Catholic will be restored to his rights and the Protestant will retain his.

This division was not called for in New England in the beginning, for then the people were all of one and the same religion; nor when only those who used the schools were taxed for their support. It was not needed even when there were only Protestants in the country. In demanding it now, we cast no censure on the original founders of our public schools. But now, when the system is so enlarged as to include free schools for all the children of the state at the public expense, and Catholics have become and are likely to remain a notable part of the population of the country, it becomes not only practicable, but absolutely necessary, if religious liberty or freedom of conscience for all citizens is to be maintained; and it were an act of injustice to Catholics, whose conscience chiefly demands the division, and a gross abuse of power, to withhold it. It may be an annoyance to Protestants that Catholics are here; but they are here, and here they will remain; and it is never the part of wisdom to resist the inevitable. Our population is divided between Catholics and Protestants, and the only sensible course is for each division to recognize and respect the equal rights of the other before the state. …

The more common objection urged is that if separate schools are conceded to Catholics they must not only be conceded to the Israelites, but also to each Protestant denomination. The Israelites, we grant, if they demand them. To each Protestant denomination, not at all, unless each denomination can put in an honest plea of conscience for such division. All Protestant denominations, without a single exception, unless it be the Episcopalians, unite in opposing the division we ask for and in defending the system as it is, which proves that they have no conscientious objections to the public schools as they are now constituted and conducted. The division to meet the demands of the Catholic conscience would necessitate no change at all in the schools not set apart for Catholic children; and the several denominations that are not conscientiously opposed to them after the division. We cannot suppose that any denomination of Protestants would consent to support a system of education that offends its own conscience for the sake of doing violence to the conscience of Catholics. Do not all American Protestants profess to be the sturdy champions of freedom of conscience and maintain that where conscience begins there the secular authority ends? If the present schools do violence to no Protestant conscience, as we presume from their defense of them they do not, no Protestant denomination can demand a division in its favor on the plea of conscience; and to no other plea is the state or the public under any obligation to listen. If, however, there be any denomination that can in good faith demand separate schools on the plea of conscience, we say at once let it have them, for such a plea, when honest, overrides every other consideration.

But we are asked, What shall be done with the large body of citizens who are neither Catholic nor Protestant? Such citizens, we reply, have no religion, and they who have no religion have no conscience that people who have religion are bound to respect. If they refuse to send their children either to the Hebrew schools or the Catholic schools, or, in fine, to the Protestant schools, let them found schools of their own at their own expense. The constitutions of the several states guarantee to each and every citizen the right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience; but this is not guaranteeing to any one the freedom of not worshipping God, to deny his existence, to reject his revelation, or to worship a false God. The liberty guarantied is the liberty of religion, not the liberty of infidelity. The infidel has, under our constitution and laws, the right of protection in his civil and political equality; but none to protection in his infidelity, since that is not a religion, but the denial of all religion. He cannot plead conscience in its behalf, for conscience presupposes religion; and where there is no religious faith, there is, of course, no conscience. It would be eminently absurd to ask the state to protect infidelity, or the denial of all religion; for religion, as we have said, is the only basis of the state, and for the state to protect infidelity would be to cut its own throat.

These are, we believe, all the plausible objections that can be urged against the division of the public schools we demand; for we do not count as such the pretence of some over-zealous Protestants that it is necessary to detach the children of Catholics from the Catholic Church in order that they may grow up thorough Americans; and as the public schools are very effectual in so detaching them and weakening their respect for the religion of their parents and their reverence for their clergy, they ought on all patriotic grounds to be maintained in full vigor as they are. We have heard this objection from over-zealous Evangelicals, and still more often from so-called liberal Christians and infidels; we have long been told that the church is anti-American and can never thrive in the United States, for she can never withstand the free and enlightened spirit of the country and the decatholicizing influence of our common schools; and we can hardly doubt that some thought of the kind is at the bottom of much of the opposition the proposed division of the public schools has encountered. But we cannot treat it as serious, for it is evidently incompatible with the freedom of conscience which the state is bound by its constitution to recognize and protect, for Catholics as well as for Protestants. The state has no right to make itself a proselyting institution for or against Protestantism, for or against Catholicity. It is its business to protect us in the free and full enjoyment of our religion, not to engage in the work of unmaking our children of their Catholicity. The case is one of conscience, and conscience is accountable to no civil tribunal. All secular authority and all secular considerations whatever must yield to conscience. In questions of conscience the law of God governs, not a plurality of votes. The state abuses its authority if it sustains the common schools as they are with a view of detaching our children from their Catholic faith and love. If Catholics cannot retain their Catholic faith and practice and still be true, loyal, and exemplary American citizens, it must be only because Americanism is incompatible with the rights of conscience, and that would be its condemnation, not the condemnation of Catholicity. No nationality can override conscience; for conscience is catholic, not national, and is accountable to God alone, who is above and over all nations, all principalities and powers, King of kings and Lord of lords. But the assumption in the objection is not true. It mistakes the opinion of the American people individually for the constitution of the American state. The American state is as much Catholic as it is Protestant, and really harmonizes far better with Catholicity than with Protestantism. We hold that instead of decatholicizing Catholic children, it is far more necessary, if we are to be governed by reasons of this sort, to unmake the children of Protestants of their Protestantism. We really believe that in order to train them up to be, in the fullest sense, true, loyal, and exemplary American citizens, such as can alone arrest the present downward tendency of the republic and realize the hopes of its heroic and noble-hearted founders, they must become good Catholics. …

We place our demand for separate schools on the ground of conscience, and therefore of right- the right of God as well as of man. Our conscience forbids us to support schools at the public expense from which our religion is excluded, and in which our children are taught either what we hold to be false or mutilated religion or no religion at all. Such schools are perilous to the souls of our children; and we dare avow, even in this age of secularism and infidelity, that we place the salvation of the souls of our children above every other consideration. This plea of conscience, which we urge from the depths of our souls and under a fearful sense of our accountability to our Maker, ought to suffice, especially in an appeal to a state bound by its own constitution to protect the rights of conscience for each and all of its citizens, whether Protestant or Catholic.

One thing must be evident from past experience, that our children can be brought up to be good and orderly citizens only as Catholics, and in schools under the supervision and control of their church, in which her faith is freely and fully taught, and her services, discipline, and influences are brought to bear in forming their characters, restraining them from evil and training them to virtue. We do not say that, even if trained in Catholic schools, all will turn out to be good and practical Catholics and virtuous members of society; for the church does not take away free-will nor eradicate all the evil propensities of the flesh; but it is certain that they cannot be made such in schools in which the religion of their parents is reviled as a besotted superstition and the very text-books of history and geography are made to protest against it, or in which they are accustomed to hear their priests spoken of without reverence, Protestant nations lauded as the only free and enlightened nations of the earth, Catholic nations sneered at as ignorant and enslaved, and the church denounced as a spiritual despotism, full of craft, and crusted all over with corruption both of faith and morals. Such schools may weaken their reverence for their parents, even detach them from their church, obscure, if not destroy, their faith, render them indifferent to religion, indocile to their parents, disobedient to the laws; but they cannot inspire them with the love of virtue, restrain their vicious or criminal propensities, or prevent them from associating with the dangerous classes of our large towns and cities, and furnishing subjects for the correctional police, our jails, penitentiaries, state prisons, and the gallows.

We are pointed to the vicious and criminal population of our cities, of which we furnish more than our due proportion, as a conclusive argument against the moral tendency of our religion, and a savage howl of indignation, that rings throughout the land, is set up against the legislature or the municipality that ventures to grant us the slightest aid in our struggles to protect our children from the dangers that beset them, though bearing no proportion to the aid granted to non-Catholics. Yet it is precisely to meet cases like ours that a public provision for education is needed and supposed to be made. Protestants make the great mistake of trying to cure the evil to which we refer by detaching our children from the church and bringing them up bad Protestants, or without any religion. The thousand-and-one associations and institutions formed by Protestant zeal and benevolence for the reformation or the bringing up of poor Catholic children, and some of which go so far as to kidnap little papist orphans or half-orphans, lock them up in their orphan asylums, where no priest can enter, change their names so that the relatives cannot trace them, send them to a distance and place them in Protestant families, where it is hoped they will forget their Catholic origin, all proceed from the same mistake, and all fail to arrest, or even to lessen, the growing evil. They necessarily provoke the opposition and resistance of the Catholic pastors and of all earnest Catholics who regard the loss of their faith as the greatest calamity that can befall Catholic children. So long as faith remains, however great the vice or the crime, there is something to build on, and room to hope for repentance, though late, for reformation and final salvation. Faith once gone, all is gone.

It is necessary to understand that the children of Catholics must be trained up in the Catholic faith, in the Catholic Church, to be good exemplary Catholics, or they will grow up bad citizens, the pests of society. Nothing can be done for them but through the approval and cooperation of the Catholic clergy and the Catholic community. The contrary rule, till quite recently, has been adopted, and public and private benevolence has sought to benefit our children by disregarding or seeking to uproot their Catholic faith and rejecting the cooperation of the Catholic clergy. The results are apparent to all not absolutely blinded by their misdirected zeal.

The public have not sufficiently considered that by the law excluding our religion from the public schools, the schools as established by law are Protestant schools, at least so far as they are not pagan or godless. We do not suppose the state ever intended to establish Protestantism as the exclusive religion of the schools; but such is the necessary result of excluding, no matter under what pretext, the teaching of our religion in them. Exclude Catholicity, and what is left? Nothing of Christianity but Protestantism, which is simply Christianity minus the Catholic Church, her faith, precepts, and sacraments. At present the state makes ample provision for the children of Protestants, infidels, or pagans, but excludes the children of Catholics unless we consent to let them be educated in Protestant schools and brought up Protestants, so far as the schools can bring them up.

Now we protest in the name of equal rights against this manifest injustice. There is no class of the community more in need of free public schools than Catholics, and none are more entitled to their benefit; for they constitute a large portion of the poorer and more destitute classes of the community. We can conceive nothing more unjust than for the state to provide schools for the Protestants, and even infidels, and refuse to do it for Catholics. To say that Catholics have as free access to the public schools as Protestants is bitter mockery. Protestants can send their children to them without exposing them to lose their Protestantism; but Catholics cannot send their children to them without exposing them to the loss of their Catholicity. The law protects their religion in the public schools by the simple fact of excluding ours. How, then, say these schools are as free to us as they are to them? Is conscience of no account?

We take it for granted that the intention of the state is that the public schools should be accessible alike to Catholics and Protestants, and on the same risks and conditions. We presume it has had no more intention of favoring Protestants at the expense of Catholics than Catholics at the expense of Protestants. But it can no longer fail to see that its intention is not and cannot be realized by providing schools which Protestants can use without risk to their Protestantism, and none which Catholics can use without risk to their Catholicity. As the case now stands, the law sustains Protestantism in the schools and excludes Catholicity. This is unjust to Catholics, and deprives us, in so far as Catholics, of all benefit to be derived from the public schools supported at the public expense. Were the law to admit Catholicity, it would necessarily exclude Protestantism, which would be equally unjust to Protestants. Since, then, Catholicity and Protestantism mutually exclude each other, and as the state is bound to treat both with equal respect, it is not possible for it to carry out its intention and do justice to both parties but by dividing the schools and setting apart for Catholics their portion of them, in which the education shall be determined and controlled by their church, though remaining public schools supported at the public expense, under the provisions of a general law as now.

This would be doing for its Catholic citizens only what it now does for its Protestant citizens only; in fact, only what is done in France, Austria, and Prussia. The division would enable us to bring all our children into the schools under the influence and management of our pastors, and to do whatever the church and a thoroughly religious education can do to train them up to be good Catholics, and therefore orderly and peaceful members of society and loyal and virtuous American citizens. It would also remove some restraint from the Protestant schools, and allow them more freedom in insisting on whatever is doctrinal and positive in their religion than they now exercise. The two classes of schools, though operating separately, would aid each other in stemming the tide of infidelity and immorality, now setting in with such fearful rapidity and apparently resistless force, threatening the very existence of our republic. The division would operate in favor of religion, both in a Catholic sense and in a Protestant sense, and therefore tend to purify and preserve American society. It would restore the schools to their original intention, and make them, what they should be, religious schools.

The enemy which the state, which Catholics, and which Protestants have alike to resist and vanquish by education is irreligion, pantheism, atheism, and immorality, disguised as secularism, or under the specious names of science, humanity, free-religion, and free-love, which not only strike at all Christian faith and Christian morals, but at the family, the state, and civilized society itself. The state has no right to regard this enemy with indifference, and on this point we accept the able argument used by the serious Protestant preachers and writers cited in the number of The Christian World before against the exclusion of the Bible and all recognition of religion from the public schools. The American state is not infidel or godless, and is bound always to recognize and actively aid religion as far as in its power. Having no spiritual or theological competency, it has no right to undertake to say what shall or shall not be the religion of its citizens; it must accept, protect, and aid the religion its citizens see proper to adopt, and without partiality for the religion of the majority any more than the religion of the minority; for in regard to religion the rights and powers of minorities and majorities are equal. The state is under the Christian law, and it is bound to protect and enforce Christian morals and its laws, whether assailed by Mormonism, spiritualism, free-lovism, pantheism, or atheism.

The modern world has strayed far from this doctrine, which in the early history of this country nobody questioned. The departure may be falsely called progress and boasted of as the result of "the march of intellect;" but it must be arrested, and men must be recalled to the truths they have left behind, if republican government is to be maintained and Christian society preserved. Protestants who see and deplore the departure from the old landmarks will see themselves unable to arrest the downward tendency without our aid, and little aid shall we be able to render them unless the church be free to use the public schools- that is, her portion of them- to bring up her children in her own faith and train them to be good Catholics. There is a recrudescence of paganism, a growth of subtle and disguised infidelity, which it will require all that both they and we can do to arrest. Fight, therefore, Protestants, no longer us, but the public enemy.* (Vol. 13, pp. 253-262.)


* We desire to call attention to another point which could not be discussed in the foregoing article, and to which we can at present only allude in the briefest manner. Large sums of money have been granted by legislatures to universities and colleges which are controlled by the clergy of different Protestant denominations, in which they teach their religious opinions without restraint, and which they make, as far as they can, training-schools for their theological seminaries. Now, if the outcry against any grant of public funds to schools in which the Catholic religion is taught is taken up and sustained by Protestants, it follows that they must advocate the total secularization of all institutions, without exception, which enjoy any state subsidies, and if they wish to keep control of religious instruction in any of the above-mentioned colleges, must refund to the state everything which they now possess by grant from the state and give up all claim to receive any further endowments. Catholics would never disendow or despoil these Protestant institutions, even if they had full power to do it; but if the party of infidelity ever gains, by the help of Protestants, full sway over our legislation, the latter may prepare themselves for a wholesale spoliation.


Education should be under Church Control


We want our children to be educated as thoroughly as they can be, but in relation to the great purpose of their existence, so as to be fitted to gain the end for which God creates them. For the great mass of the people, the education needed is not secular education, which simply sharpens the intellect and generates pride and presumption, but moral and religious education, which trains up children in the way they should go, which teaches them to be honest and loyal, modest and unpretending, docile and respectful to their superiors, open and ingenuous, obedient and submissive to rightful authority, parental or conjugal, civil or ecclesiastical; to know and keep the commandments of God and the precepts of the church; and to place the salvation of the soul before all else in life. This sort of education can be given only by the church or under her direction and control; and as there is for us Catholics only one church, there is and can be no proper education for us not given by or under the direction and control of the Catholic Church. (Vol. 13, pp. 291, 292.)

Evangelical and National Schools


The Evangelicals and their humanitarian allies, as all their organs show, are seriously alarmed at the growth of Catholicity in the United States. They supposed at first that the church could never take root in our Protestant soil, that she could not breathe the atmosphere of freedom and enlightenment, or thrive in a land of newspapers and free schools. They have been disappointed, and now see that they reckoned without their host, and that if they really mean to prevent the American people from gradually becoming Catholic, they must change fundamentally the American form of government, suppress the freedom of religion hitherto enjoyed by Catholics, and take the training of all children and youth into their own hands. If they leave education to the wishes and judgment of parents, Catholic parents will bring up their children Catholics; if they leave it to the states separately, Catholics in several of them are already a powerful minority, daily increasing in strength and numbers, and will soon be strong enough to force the state legislatures to give them their proportion of the public schools supported at the public expense.

All this is clear enough. What, then, is to be done? Mr. Wilson, who is not remarkable for his reticence, tells us, if not with perfect frankness, yet frankly enough for all practical purposes. It is to follow out the tendency which has been so strengthened of late and absorb the states in the Union, take away the independence of the state governments, and assume the control of education for the general government, already rendered practically the supreme national government; then, by appealing to the popular sentiment in favor of education and saying nothing of its quality, get congress, which the Evangelicals, through the party in power, already control, to establish a system of compulsory education in national schools – and the work is done; for these schools will necessarily fall into Evangelical hands. (Vol. 13, pp. 292, 293.)

The educational question ought not to present any serious difficulty, and would not of our Evangelicals and humanitarians did not wish to make education a means of preventing the growth of the church and unmaking the children of Catholics as Catholics; or if they seriously and in good faith would accept the religious equality before the state which the constitution and laws, both of the Union and the several states, as yet recognize and protect. No matter what we claim for the Catholic Church in the theological order, we claim for her in the civil order in this country only equality with the sects, and for Catholics only equal rights with citizens who are not Catholics. We demand the freedom of conscience and the liberty of our church, which is our conscience, enjoyed by Evangelicals. This much the country in its constitution and laws has promised us without breaking its faith pledged before the world. (Vol. 13, p. 295.)


The State has no Right to Educate


As American citizens, we object to the assumption of the control of education, or of any action in regard to it, by the general government; for it has no constitutional right to meddle with it, and so far as civil government has any authority in relation to it, it is, under our system of government, the authority of the states severally, not of the states united. We deny, of course, as Catholics, the right of the civil government to educate, for education is a function of the spiritual society, as much so as preaching and the administration of the sacraments; but we do not deny to the state the right to establish and maintain public schools. The state, if it chooses, may even endow religion or pay the ministers of religion a salary for their support; but its endowments of religion, when made, are made to God, are sacred and under the sole control and management of the spiritual authority, and the state has no further function in regard to them but to protect the spirituality in the free and full possession and enjoyment of them. If it chooses to pay the ministers of religion a salary, as has been done in France and Spain, though accepted by the Catholic clergy only as a small indemnification for the goods of the church seized by the revolutionary governments and appropriated to secular uses, it acquires thereby no rights over them or liberty to supervise their discharge of their spiritual functions. We do not deny the same or an equal right in regard to schools and school-teachers. It may found and endow schools and pay the teachers, but it cannot dictate or interfere with the education or discipline of the school. That would imply a union of church and state, or, rather, the subjection of the spiritual order to the secular, which the Catholic Church and the American system of government both alike repudiate.

It is said, however, that the state needs education for its own protection, and to promote the public good or the good of the community, both of which are legitimate ends of its institution. What the state needs in relation to its legitimate ends, or the ends for which it is instituted, it has the right to ordain and control. This is the argument by which all public education by the state is defended. But it involves an assumption which is not admissible. The state, having no religious or spiritual function, can give only secular education, and secular education is not enough for the state’s own protection or its promotion of the public good. Purely secular education, or education divorced from religion, endangers the safety of the state and the peace and security of the community, instead of protecting and insuring them. It is not in the power of the state to give the education it needs for its own sake or for the sake of secular society. The fact is, though statesmen, and especially politicians, are slow to learn it and still slow to acknowledge it, the state, or secular society, does not and cannot suffice for itself, and is unable to discharge its own proper functions without the cooperation and aid of the spiritual society. Purely secular education creates no civic virtues, and instead of fitting unfits the people for the prompt and faithful discharge of their civic duties, as we may see in young America, and indeed in the present active and ruling generation of the American people. (Vol. 13, pp. 295, 296.)


All Education should be Religious


All education, as all life, should be religious, and all education divorced from religion is an evil, not a good, and is sure in the long run to be ruinous to the secular order; but as a part of religious education, and included in it, secular education has its place, and even its necessity. Man is not all soul nor all body, but the union of soul and body; and therefore his education should include in their union, not separation- for the separation of soul and body is the death of the body- both spiritual education and secular. It is not that we oppose secular education when given in the religious education, and therefore referred to the ultimate end of man, but when it is given alone and for its own sake. We deny the competency of the state to educate even for its own order, its right to establish purely secular schools, from which all religion is excluded, as Mr. Webster ably contended in his argument in the Girard will case; but we do not deny, we assert rather, its right to establish public schools under the internal control and management of the spiritual society, and to exact that a certain amount of secular instruction be given along with the religious education that society gives. This last right it has in consideration of the secular funds for the support of the schools it furnishes, and as a condition on which it furnishes them. (Vol. 13, p. 298.)


Compulsory Education


We, of course, protest against any law compelling us to send out children to schools in which our religion cannot be freely taught, in which no religion is taught, or in which is taught in any shape or degree a religion which we hold to be false or perilous to souls. Such a law would violate the rights of parents and the freedom of conscience; but with denominational schools compulsory education would violate no one’s conscience and no parental right. Parents ought, if able, to have their children educated, and if they will not send their children to schools provided for them by the public, and in which their religion is respected and made the basis of the education given, we can see no valid reason why the law should not compel them. The state has the right, perhaps the duty, in aid of the spiritual society and for its own safety and the public good, to compel parents to educate their children when public schools of their own religion, under the charge of their own pastors, are provided for them at the public expense. Let the public schools be denominational, give us our proportion of them, so that no violence will be done to parental rights or to the Catholic conscience, and we shall be quite willing to have education made compulsory, and even if such schools are made national, though we should object as American citizens to them, we should as Catholics accept them. We hold state authority is the only constitutional authority under our system to establish schools and provide for them at the public expense; but we could manage to get along with national denominational schools as well as others could. We could educate in our share of the public schools our own children in our own way, and that is all we ask. We do not ask to educate the children of others, unless with the consent or at the request of parents and guardians. (Vol. 13, pp. 300, 301.)

The state, representing secular society, its rights and interests, has the right to require that all children should be educated, and to found schools, colleges, and universities, provide sufficient revenues for as full and as extensive as education as is desirable for social interests and the advancement of civilization; but it can itself neither educate nor determine what education may or may not be given in them. That, for Catholics, is the province of the church; for non-Catholics, who recognize no divinely-instituted teaching church, it is the province of parents, whose rights to the child are always paramount to those of the state or society. Such was the order that obtained throughout Christendom till almost our times. Indeed, it is very nearly the order that obtained even in pagan Rome. Hostile as the empire before its conversion was to Christianity, I do not find that it ever sought to educate the children of Catholics in paganism, to prevent Catholic parents from having their own schools and bringing up their children in their own religion. Julian the Apostate, indeed, closed the imperial schools to Christian teachers and professors, and forbade Christians to read and study the pagan classics and philosophy; but even he respected the rights of parents, and never encouraged, so far as we know, the kidnapping of Christian children and educating them in paganism. That is a refinement which belongs to modern secularism, and never could have obtained in pagan Rome; for society under pagan, as it ever has been under Christian Rome, was based on the sacredness and inviolability of the rights of the family or of parental authority. (Vol. 13, pp. 401, 402.)


The Evil of Secular Education


Now unhappily the system of education in vogue is based on the very principle that underlies all these modern revolutionary and social-reform movements, that is, the natural perfectibility of man or his progressiveness by his own natural forces or by natural means; that is, it is based on a falsehood, in plain English a lie, and Carlyle has well said, "the first of all Gospels is that no lie shall live." We do not think the age overrates the importance of education, for Solomon has said, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." The error is in not discriminating between a false and mischievous education and a true and salutary education. Education based on the principle that man is naturally perfectible, and which aims to cultivate the faculties of the soul in relation to the natural order alone, can never be beneficial either to the individual or to society. … The highest possible culture of our whole nature, intellectual, aesthetic, domestic, and social, does not advance us a single step in the way we should go or towards the true end or destiny of life. Man being perfectible or progressive only by aid of the supernatural grace of Christ, no education not based on the supernatural principle in which Christianity itself originates can aid us in our life-work, be a good and salutary education, or help us either individually, socially, or politically.

Here may be seen the reason why the Holy Father and the whole Catholic hierarchy reject the educational system now in vogue with non-Catholics, assert the insufficiency of merely secular education, and demand for Catholics a Catholic education. We do not credit all that is said against our public schools by individuals who are unacquainted with them, nor do we attribute to them or to their influence the growing immorality of American society. The evil is not especially in the schools, but in the paganism, or secularism, which pervades the American community, on which our public-school system is based, and which American children imbibe with their mother’s milk, and far more effectually from the domestic and social atmosphere in which they are reared than from the public schools themselves. But it is clear that we cannot in these schools give our children a Catholic education, or educate them in relation to the supernatural order or in relation to the true destiny of the soul. We cannot, in them, train up the child in the way he should go.

It is not so much what is taught or inculcated in the public schools that renders them objectionable to us Catholics as what is not and cannot be taught or inculcated in them. They are and must be either sectarian or secular schools, and in either case exclude the true principle of moral and religious life. The education they give or permit to be given is a false, because an unchristian education. He who is not for Christ is against him, and separation from him is death; for his is the only name given among men in which there is life for the soul, life for men or nations. An education that omits him as its central and informing principle, or fails to recognize him as its alpha and omega, its beginning and end, is simply an atheistic education, and can train up the young generation only as pure secularists, and to feel that they are free from all moral or social obligation, from all accountability to any power above themselves and from all law not imposed by their own will. The stream cannot rise higher than its fountain. An education founded in nature alone can give nothing above nature nor do anything to strengthen or perfect it; for nature without God or severed from God is simply nothing, and we know no philosophy by which nothing can make itself something. Such an education is repugnant to the principles and conditions of life, and can give nothing better than "death in life."

The only support for private or public virtue is religion, is in training the people in those principles which religion alone introduces and sustains; and the only religion is Christianity, the Christian religion, inseparable alike from Christ, the incarnate Word, and the Catholic Church. … Obviously, then, the church is the only competent educator, and only a thorough Catholic education has or can have any value for men or nations. …

Yet we must not hastily conclude that the simple establishment of schools placed under the supervision of Catholics will of itself suffice. The mere fact that a class of boys is taught by a Catholic instead of a Protestant will work no wonders if he teaches substantially the same things and in the same spirit. We have found no worse or more troublesome boys than some of those who attend our parochial schools. Education alone does not and will not suffice. Grace must accompany instruction, or instruction even in the faith will not suffice for virtue. It is little the lessons of the school-room can effect if they are counteracted in the home or the streets. Domestic discipline inspired by Catholic faith must go hand in hand with the school; and in no small number of Catholic families this domestic discipline is sadly wanting. Into the causes of this lamentable lack of domestic discipline we need not now inquire, but there can be no doubt that it is one of the great drawbacks on the efficiency of our Catholic schools. It has been a hard struggle for our Catholic people to pay out of their poverty their quota of the tax to support the public schools, and then to establish and sustain Catholic schools of their own, and we must not be surprised to find them in many respects very defective in their appointments.

But the gravest defects we discover, or think we discover, in our Catholic schools of all grades appear to us to be comprised in this one grand defect, that the education given in them is not thoroughly Catholic. Most of the text-books used in our colleges and parochial schools are far from being distinctively Catholic. The class readers which have fallen under our notice, with one or two exceptions, though containing pieces written by Catholics, are hardly better fitted for Catholics than Lindley Murray’s series of English readers, and far inferior in a literary point of view. They seem to be prepared, with a view of not containing anything offensive to Protestants, by liberal or namby-pamby Catholics, and with the hope of the publishers of getting them introduced into the public schools. We attended, some years since, an examination of the schools of the Christian Brothers in a foreign city, and we found the text-book in natural philosophy in which the pupils were examined absolutely irreconcilable, at least in our judgment, with Catholic principles. The properties of matter as taught to these Catholic children not only exclude the Catholic dogma of the Real Presence, but are such as a sound philosophy itself rejects.

Indeed, in our examination of the higher education given in Catholic schools, colleges, and universities, we have found, or thought we found, it far from being thoroughly Catholic. The Christian schools, colleges, and even the universities of medieval times, were modeled after, and we may say were based on, the imperial schools of pagan Rome. The branches studied were the same, and their traditions were preserved, as they are even yet in the classical colleges in the United States. For languages the Latin and Greek, and for the division of studies the trivium and quadrivium are retained. Christianity in Catholic colleges is superadded, but it does not transform the whole system of imperial education. Especially is this true of our higher schools since the fifteenth century, or the so-called Renaissance. The pagan classics, in Catholic colleges as in others, have since formed the basis of the education given. Christianity, when introduced at all, has been taught only in juxtaposition with heathenism, as an accessory, not as the principal – seldom, if ever, as the informing spirit of the education imparted. We do not ask that the Greek and Roman classics be excluded from all part in a liberal education, but we do object to their being made its principal part, or foundation. Now our Catholic young men graduate, even from our Catholic colleges, with a pagan substructure, merely varnished over or veneered with Catholicity, which a little contact with the world soon wears off.

The Holy See did not, when a few years since the question was raised in France, forbid the study of the pagan classics in Catholic schools, but it did require that care should be taken that the pupils or students should be well grounded or instructed in the Catholic religion. We have no sympathy with the present infidel movement to abolish the study of the Greek and Roman classics in non-Catholic colleges and to introduce the study of the physical sciences in their place. That would only aggravate the evil we complain of, instead of remedying it, and is part and parcel of that system of education which is intended to exclude God and Christ from the school and to make all education purely secular – of the earth earthy. The world is today further removed from Christian principles than it was in pagan Greece and Rome, and the study of the classics in non-Catholic schools can have only a Catholic tendency. The classics contain the highest religion that is to be found in non-Catholic society. Abolish them, and non-Catholic education would be thoroughly utilitarian, materialistic, and atheistical. Yet Catholics do not draw their religion from the classics, and do not need them as a medium of its instruction or mental culture. Their religion is independent of them, stands on its own bottom, and is infinitely superior to them; but it can only suffer when the pagan classics are, as in the old pagan imperial schools, made its basis and the main structure of education.

Now, we do not deny that in all our Catholic colleges religion is distinctly recognized and taught, and taught in all that is necessary for educated laymen in an age or country where heresies are unknown or the faithful are guarded against them by the civil authorities, but not in all that is needed in an age or country where the dominant public sentiment is intensely anti-Catholic, where all opinions are legally free, and where every thing is questioned and nothing is held to be settled, or where atheism is accounted a science and blasphemy a virtue. The graduates from our Catholic colleges come out into the world ill-prepared for the struggle that awaits them, and the majority of them either give up the contest or make a miserable compromise with the enemy. The weakest, the most milk-and-water, and least zealous and efficient Catholics one meets are precisely those who have graduated with high honors from our Catholic colleges. They are taught the principle dogmas of the church, but they are not taught the relation of these dogmas to one another, or shown the light they throw on each other when taken in their dialectic connection and as a whole. They are taught the practice of religion, but are not shown the dependence of the practice on the dogmas out of which it grows. (Vol. 13, pp. 447-454.)


Education of the People


But to return to our subject; we must remember that it is the smallest part of the education of children and youth that is given or acquired in the schoolroom or the college hall. Much more is acquired in the family, in the streets, in social intercourse, and from the general tone of thought and manners of the country. The children of Catholic parents breathe the atmosphere breathed by the children of non-Catholic parents, and after a little while become assimilated to them, even in their physical features. We cannot, let us do our best, educate the rising generation in schools and colleges much above the average standard of the adult generation. Education itself has no reforming or progressive power. Its office is conservative, and it serves chiefly to perpetuate, and to perpetuate the errors as well as the truths and virtues of the generation that educates. This law is as effective in a Catholic as in a non-Catholic community. In Catholic schools, as in non-Catholic schools, the children of Catholics, without other influences than education itself can exert, may fall below, but can hardly rise above the average faith and virtue of the Catholic community to which they belong.

Hence we cannot expect Catholic schools and colleges to correct the defects even in Catholic education. The great mass of men, educated or not, are men of routine. School-masters and professors follow the beaten track and educate as they have been educated, nor is it desirable that they should do otherwise or become innovators. The correction must come from an authority above the school or the college, and in subordination to which either must educate. But even authority, however clearly and distinctively it speaks, cannot correct the evil at once. The educators must be themselves educated up to the standard of the reform to be introduced, and as these comprise the parents and the whole Catholic people, the education of parents or the people must precede the introduction of any effective reforms in the schools and colleges. The pagan element, condemned in the syllabus and repudiated by the Council of the Vatican, must be eliminated from the intelligence and manners of the Catholic people before it can be eliminated from the schools.

This work of educating the people and of eliminating from their minds and manners the paganism which has long created in the intelligence and habits of Catholic populations a dualism which has resulted in the destruction of Christendom is the work of the bishops and clergy, aided in some feeble measure by the Catholic press, if really and thoroughly Catholic. The education of the young is also their charge, and should go on pari passu with the education of the people; but for ourselves, we hold the education of the people the more important of the two, for if not thoroughly grounded in the principles of Catholicity and thoroughly emancipated in their intelligence, habits, and manners from paganism, they will neutralize the best training childhood and youth can receive in the school or college. We asserted as much nearly forty years ago, and observation, reflection, and experience have tended only to confirm it. The new generation can be educated only by the old, which can only reproduce its own image and likeness. Hence nations that have not the church and have no supernaturally endowed body of instructors can never be progressive nations, and the nation that ceases to be progressive begins to decline, and if left to itself is sure to fall. (Vol. 13, pp. 458, 459.)


Catholics Taxed Unjustly



How the Danger may be Averted


It can hardly be averted by human means alone, but with a firm reliance in divine assistance, we think, if Catholics will but be true to themselves, it can be averted; and even the modifications of the public-school system as now worked, which we as Catholics demand, can be obtained. It is true, we are for the present in a comparatively small minority of the whole population of the country, but a small minority united and determined, and demanding only what is reasonable and just, who must sooner or later obtain success. The discouraging fact is that the Catholic minority are not united on this school question, and do not act as "one man." They take different views of what is needed; many among us are cold and indifferent to the subject and do not enter heartily into the movement for obtaining our rights. Some are engrossed in business, not a few are absorbed in politics, place the interests of their party above the interests of their religion, and dare not move lest they forfeit their chance for some petty office for themselves or for their friends. Catholics in this country have never been accustomed to act in concert as one body, and do not readily unite and concentrate their forces for a given object. They are one in faith and worship, but have never yet been one in striving to obtain their rights in relation to the public schools. In fact, there is on this subject no unity of purpose and no concert of action.

The first step to be taken is, of course, to effect the union of the entire body of Catholics throughout the country, and to induce them to waive their petty differences and local interests of the whole body. A great wrong is done us as Catholics and citizens, and we must unite – combine, if you will – and act with an eye single to its redness. If we do this and labor perseveringly with the earnestness and zeal the greatness of the end demands, we shall in time gain our rights, and induce the majority so to amend the public school system that all classes of citizens can cheerfully support it and share in its benefits. We demand only our rights; we have no wish to interfere with the rights of others or to destroy or to impair the efficiency of the public-school system properly worked. We accept cordially the essential principle of the system, that is, the support of public schools for all the children of the land at the public expense or by a tax levied equally upon all citizens. We only ask that we may have the portion of the fund which we contribute to use in the support of schools under our management, and in which we can teach our religion and make it the basis of the education we give our own children.

Now let us Catholics, all Catholics throughout the Union, unite as one man in demanding this amendment to the system, and listen to no compromise, and give our suffrages to no party and to no candidate for any office that refuses to do us justice, as was some time since recommended by the venerable Bishop of Cleveland in a pastoral address to his diocesans; and we feel sure the majority will ere long be forced to concede our demand. …

The great bulk of our Catholic educators are arranged on the side of the so-called Democratic party and they form so large a portion of that party that by simply withholding their votes from it, without giving them to the opposing party, they could throw it into a hopeless minority an utterly defeat the success on which it now confidently counts. This gives us an advantage which was not apparent to us in the early part of 1873, when we expressed our doubts of the propriety of carrying the school question to the polls. Catholics in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and some other states, if not strong enough to secure the success of the Democratic party, are yet strong enough to ensure its defeat if they choose to place the interest of their religion above their party interests and withhold from it their suffrages. They can thus force the party to espouse their cause and, if they accede to power, to grant us justice in regard to the public schools. Certain it is, as the parties now stand, the Democrats cannot accede to power as a national party without our votes, and it is our duty to let them know that our votes they cannot have unless they pledge themselves to use their power, if they obtain it, to repair the grievous wrong under which we now labor, and to maintain in the civil order the religious equality guaranteed by the constitution.

The great difficulty is no doubt right here, in getting our Democratic Catholics to withhold their votes from the party unless it agrees, if able, to do them justice on the school question. Hic labor, hoc opus est, for Catholics have long been accustomed in their political action to follow the maxim, "My religion has nothing to do with my politics," and, without consciously or intentionally placing their politics above their religion, to proceed as if the interests of party were paramount to the interests of their church. But, after all, this results from want of reflection rather than from any deliberate preference of the temporal to the eternal. When the question is once brought home to his understanding and seen to be a question of conscience, no loyal Catholic will hesitate a moment to subordinate his politics to his religion, or refuse his support to any party that refuses to recognize and vindicate the religious equality of Catholics in the public schools, by giving them their share of them and of the public funds which support them. In the religious aspect of the case, eternal interests are at stake, the welfare of immortal souls and of unborn generations is at stake; and we Catholics know that the stability, the virtue, the morality, and the intelligence of the republic and the preservation of civil and religious liberty are at stake; for these depend on the religious, the Catholic, education of our children. Since Catholics are the salt of the earth, the church is the divine preservative force in every nation where she exists: no greater calamity could possibly befall our republic than her banishment from its territory. How, then, can any Catholic for a moment weigh the ephemeral triumph of a party in the balance against the interests of Catholic education? He is a sorry Catholic, with just enough to be damned as a Catholic, and not as a heretic or an infidel, who will do it.

The great question for us Catholics, and the great question even for our country, is the school question; and the preservation of our children to the church, with their thorough Catholic education, is not less for the interests of the state than it is for the interest of religion. No state can stand without religion, and religion cannot be preserved in any state without the thorough religious training of each new generation as it appears on the stage. The Catholic Church alone is able to give a really religious education and to train children up in the way they should go. This is one of her chief functions. The sects in reality have no religion and can give no religious education, as the public schools amply prove. It is not the influence of Catholics that has made these schools practically godless. It is the influence of the unbelieving portion of the American people; of those who reject all positive doctrines and Christianity itself as a positive religion, or anything more than a vague generality or an indefinable abstraction. If we are debarred from establishing Catholic schools and from giving our children a Catholic education, no religious education will be given to any portion of American children and youth; and debarred we shall be from establishing Catholic schools at our own expense, besides paying a heavy tax for the support of non-Catholic and godless schools, and compelled to send our children to the public schools, if we do not unite and make a vigorous and well-directed effort to prevent it.

This is a perfectly legitimate exercise of the elective franchise, for politics should always be made subservient to religion and morality. We combine and act politically, not to deprive others of their rights or to acquire any control over them, but simply to obtain our own constitutional freedom, of which we are unjustly deprived by the political action of the non-Catholic majority. We have no wish to prescribe the education non-Catholics must give their children nor to make a law for their government. If they are satisfied with the public schools as at present managed, why, let them have them and make the most of them; all we propose by political action is, if possible, to prevent in future from taxing us to support them or compelling us to send our own children to them. We are only proposing to secure for ourselves the liberty they claim for themselves – to educate our children in our own way without being taxed to pay for the education of their children. We do not seek to tax them to educate our children – we ask not one cent of them: we only ask the privilege, now denied us, of appropriating our own money, what we ourselves contribute, to schools under our own management, in which we can freely train up our own children in our own way. What demand can be more reasonable or just? (Vol. 13, pp. 520-524.)



The real motive for sustaining the system is the belief that by it they may extirpate Catholic faith and worship from the land. It were fatuity, not charity, to think otherwise. Finding that we are withdrawing our children from the public schools and establishing at our own expense schools of our own, they see clearly that they must fail in their calculations unless they go further and forbid us to establish Catholic schools and compel us to send our children to the public schools. This is the immediate danger. Can it be averted?

The majority, as Chief Justice Dunne shows, impose upon us a triple tax. They tax us to provide for the education of the children of non-Catholics, in which we cannot share with a good conscience, and them compel us to erect school-houses, found and support schools at our own expense, often out of our poverty, for the education of our own children, and then tax these same school-houses and fixtures, while the public school-houses and fixtures are exempt from taxation. Can there be a more monstrous injustice? It needs only one step in addition, and that threatens to be soon taken, namely, to forbid us to have schools of our own and to make attendance on the public schools compulsory. New York and New Jersey, and perhaps some other states, have already enacted laws making education compulsory, and it would be only carrying out the same policy to make it compulsory on us to send our children to the state, or the public, schools. (Vol. 13, p. 519.)