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Paganism and Education

Brownson's Quartely Review April 1852

Art. IV.  Le Ver Rongeur des Societes Modcrnes ou le Paganisme dans l'Education. Par L'Abbe J. Gaume. Bruxelles :  Goemaere.    1851.    12mo.    pp. 230.

The Abbe Gaume Vicar-General of Nevers is one of the more estimable of the present Catholic authors in France lie is not indeed remarkably brilliant or very profound; but he is earnest and in all his writings aims at practical results of the highest importance. We cannot but applaud the motive of the publication before us the end sought to bo gained however far we may or may not agree with the author as to the cause of the evil he so clearly points out or as to the speciiic means of removing it.

There can be  no question that the worm which is devouring  the very  heart of modern  society is  paganism. The tendency to heathenism is in our fallen nature itself and there is no age of the world in which it does not more or less manifest its strength.    As long as man exists on the  earth he will in greater or less degree manifest this tendency and the Christian will have in himself and in society to continue the old war against paganism.    That in modern Europe the tendency has during the last four centuries been unusually strong and that there has been in many countries a decided reaction in  favor of the pagan world against which the early Christian martyrs so heroically struggled and   did  such  brave   battle we have on more occasions than one attempted to prove and it is evident to every intelligent student of history.    Heathenism is everywhere rife and modern generations grow up with heathen  notions  of life accustomed  to judge  men   and events by a heathen standard.    Professed Christian countries  have lapsed into carnal Judaism another name for heathenism and look  only for a temporal  prince in the Messiah and worldly advantage or prosperity from religion.    The Church is tried not by its spiritual eilecis but by its  assumed   bearing on the temporal  civilization of nations.    Even the people of Catholic countries are more or less influenced in their judgments  by pagan maxims. They place for instance a much higher value on the active than the contemplative religious orders and   extol those who devote themselves to active beneficence and the relief of bodily wants far above those who devote themselves to prayer.    The heroic devotion  of the old monks and  anchorites of the desert is termed by many a sublime folly. Ascetic is a word in bad odor and if used will hardly be understood in a good sense.    Faith in  the reality of the unseen world is weak and all thought and labor devoted to that world or not attended by practical visible results for this temporal life are looked upon with suspicion and very extensively as thrown away.    So far gone is the age especially among Protestants where we see its real character that its very spiritualism is material.    We listened some time since to an oration  before a literary society by Mr. Horace Greeley.    He began by denouncing the materialism and utilitarianism of the age in good set terms and with some truth and power and ended'by proposing a greater attention to physical education or the education of the body as the only practicable remedy !

That the uneasiness the insubordination the revolutions and the terrible social as well as spiritual evils which afflict modern society grow out of the prevalence of paganism or carnal Judaism no well-informed Christian can doubt and that it is the one and only enemy to our virtue and to our peace whether individual or social is just as certain. That it is necessary to see this to understand well the fact of the prevalence of paganism in modern society and the means of banishing it or of emancipating the young generation from its thraldom the Abbe Gaume feels deeply and sees most clearly and so far we sympathize entirely with what he writes. The cause of this paganism in modern society he ascribes to the use of heathen works as class-books in our higher schools and the remedy he contends is to abolish those works and to substitute text-books written by Christian authors in their place.

" We have been" he says " much occupied of late years with freedom of education. This freedom has been energetically and pcrsevcringly demanded both as a necessity and as a right. All honor to those who have so nobly consecrated their talent and their courage to this important question ! But there is something still more important than freedom of education namely that edu cation be Christian. Freedom is the means not the end and if we make not education Christian freedom of education will serve only to multiply the poisoned sources whence our youth may drink in death. To render education Christian is the work now to be done at whatever cost. In other words we must substitute Christian for pagan education. We must reconnect the chain of Catholic instruction manifestly fatally and sacrilegiously broken throughout all Europe in the fifteenth century. We must place once more by the cradle of the infant generations the pure fountain of truth instead of the poisonous pool of error of spirituality instead of sensuality of order instead of disorder of life instead of death. We must inform once more science literature art and manners with the Catholic principle if we would cure the foul diseases which novy consume them or free them from the severe bondage under which they groan. We must save society if it can yet be saved or at least prevent all flesh from perishing in the frightful deluge' which threatens us. We must in this way second the manifest designs of Providence whether in tempering as steel the hearts of those who are to sustain the shock of the conflict to which we are rapidly hastening or in preserving to religion a small number of faithful to become the seed of the kingdom of justice and peace.

" Here is the great revolution to be effected a gigantic revolution before wbich the individual is as nothing. It will be resisted in more quarters than one ; it will stir up tho fiercest opposition ; but it is possible to be effected far more so at present than at any former period."  pp. 4 5.
All this is very well and shows that the author's views of the main question are sound and important. We will let him state his problem in his own way.

" In order to render the truth of my proposition palpable I will waive all abstract reasonings all metaphysical theories and content myself with a few striking facts.

" 1. With the exception of some acts of disobedience inevitable even in children well born and bred throughout all the Middle Ages Europe was full of respect and submission for the Church. Christian in her faith in her laws her institutions her sciences her arts her language society tranquilly developed those beautiful and strong proportions which made her every day more like Christ the divine type of all perfection.

" 2. At the close of the fifteenth century the sovereign power of Catholicity was enfeebled. The former union of religion and society was broken. The paternal voice of the Roman Pontiffs hitherto so venerated became suspected ; the majesty of their power faded into a shadow ; the filial submission of kings and people was diminished ; a fatal desire of independence sprung up in the heart of society ;  every thing announced a rupture.

" 3. Hardly had the sixteenth century commenced when from the cell of a German monk a voice was raised the powerful organ of the evil thoughts which ferment in the soul which exclaimed " O ye nations separate from the Catholic Church fly from Babylon ; break the bands of your long childhood ; ye are strong and enlightened enough henceforth to guide yourselves.' This voice was heard with a favor which astonishes even at this day. In a large part of Europe society accused its mother of superstition and barbarism abjured her doctrines despised her greatest men burned every thing that bore the marks of her sacred hand and overthrew or mutilated as monuments of ignorance slavery and idolatry the temples and edifices where preceding ages had sheltered their faith and immortalized their learning and genius.

" 4. This incredible rupture with the Catholic world was not a passing vertigo ; it still continues. Neither sufferings nor humiliations nor disappointments nor catastrophies and calamities have been able to bring back the prodigal to the maternal bosom. So far from it his aversion to the Church is only continually augmenting ; it has changed into hatred hatred always living and acting ; so that after three centuries Europe seems able to do only three things  but to do them with the perfection of despair  to despoil enchain and persecute the Church. To-day having reached the paroxysm of passion the old daughter of Catholicity has no other rallying-cry than those horrible words repeated by every tongue from the Adriatic to the ocean and from the Mediterranean to the Baltic: Christianity oppresses us; we will not that it reign over us ; take it away; its very sight is intolerable.

" 5. During all the time of this aberration the Church has remained unchanged. Before as after it she is one and the same ; equally good wise and devoted. Before the sufferings of society she has remained neither idle nor silent. Never perhaps has her maternal tenderness displayed more universal solicitude more indefatigable zeal. From her ever-fruitful womb there issued in the fifteenth century thirty-five religious orders or congregations ; in the sixteenth fifty-two ; in the seventeenth ninety. All these great bodies acting as one man rendered her action unceasing on the family and society from the north to the south of Europe. From St. Vincent of Ferrer to St. Vincent of Paul innumerable saints astonished the world by their heroic virtues and showed to the most blind that the Church of Rome had not ceased to be the incorruptible Spouse of the Saint of saints the Mother of all men truly great ;  Alma parens alma virum.

" On their part her admirable doctors from Bellarmin to Bossuet have proved that she is ever the source of light and of wisdom. Continued in all the majesty of its force by the Popes and Councils Catholic instruction has long since reduced to powder both the Protestant principle and the vain reasons which served as a pretext for the rupture with the Church as well as those they invented for continuing it. Neither demonstrations nor admonitions nor benefits nor supplications nor tears nor efforts of any kind have been able to touch European society or to renew the ancient alliance of the daughter with the mother.

" From these facts which no one will dare deny it evidently results that for the last four centuries there has been a new element in Europe an element more or an element less than in the Middle Ages and this element forms a wall of separation between Christianity and society.

" What is this element ?    Where is it ? "  pp. 7 - 9.

This is the problem. The author contends that the new element in society is paganism in education the element less is Christianity abstracted from education. He assumes that the difference which obviously exists between modern society and society in the Middle Ages is due and due alone to the difference between the system of education adopted and pursued then and that adopted and pursued during the last four hundred years. Education he contends makes the man determines not only his intellectual but his moral character and that education too which is accomplished in the individual during the period between infancy and youth or adolescence. " The life of man" he says " is divided into two periods perfectly distinct that of receiving and that of transmitting. The first period includes the time of education that is to say of development or of instruction ; the second the rest of life till death. Not having being in and of himself man receives all in the intellectual and moral order no less than in the physical order. After having received he transmits and he can transmit only what he has received. In transmitting what he has received he creates family and society after his own image. The truth or falsehood the good or evil the order or disorder realized in the external facts of family or society are only the reflex and product of the truth or falsehood the good or evil the order or disorder which reigns in the interior of his soul." (pp. 1011.) That is the child is purely passive and ductile as wax in the hands of the instructor and receives the form whatever it may be that the instructor gives him. The original nature and disposition of the child it seems count for nothing and never interpose any obstacles which defeat the intention of the instructor !
The opinions and manners of parents the author maintains form those of their children and the opinions and manners of the uneducated classes are formed by the opinions and manners of the educated classes. The opinions and manners of the educated classes are formed by their literary education. This education is principally determined by the books which are placed in the hands of the young during the seven or eight years which unite childhood to adolescence or youth. It is so because these years decide the character for life because these books are the daily food of the young who must study them with care learn them by heart and thoroughly master them both as to their form and substance and because this assiduous study is accompanied with explanations and commentaries designed to make the students comprehend the sense of these books admire their style their thoughts and beauties of every sort  to exalt the deeds the words and the institutions of the men and nations whose history they relate in a word to present the authors of these works as the unrivalled kings of talent and genius. Hence all comes from education (p. 11.) Having assumed this the author proceeds to give us at length his solution of the problem.    We let him speak again for himself:__
" For a long time a founder in Florence exercised his art with wonderful success. The secret of his glory was in preparing the mould into which he melted in turn gold silver and bronze. One day the municipality of Florence sent him an order for the statue of one of the great men of the republic and the Archbishop for a bass-relief for one of the chapels of the celebrated Duomo. The glory of his country and the love of his religion gave the artist new ardor; under this double inspiration his genius conceived a master-piece. Unfortunately he had only the mould for a horse. It makes little difference' thought he to himself 'I will combine the metals so well as to repair this inconvenience.' In fact the gold and silver scientifically mixed are poured together into the mould. They are expecting a hero with ancient forms : the artist breaks the mould and takes from it  a horse !

"Quanto sbaglio ! ' said he ; ' but I perceive my mistake. I have not used my metals in proper proportions.' He* immediately sets to work again forms a new combination and makes another mould similar to the former. This time the artist works for the Archbishop who was awaiting his bass-relief. The mould being opened he found  a horse like the first. ' This is unpardonable ' cried the artist striking his forehead. ' How did I forget that gold and silver are not the proper metals for a founder? His riht metal is bronze. With that error is no longer possible. 1 am used to it and it is used to me. We are old fnends.' And he prepared his bronze with jealous care repaired his mould which he took heed not to change and studied deeply all the conditions of the problem. When he had resolved them he kindled his furnace poured the metal into the mould which gave a superb bronze horse. Then the unfortunate artist fell into despair; he blamed every thing except himself for his misfortune and died without being able to understand that to change the form we must charge the mould.                                                                                      

" Nations of Europe you are  the Florentine  founder.    Since the fifteenth century you have cast your children in a pagan mould and you are  astonished  that they do  not  come  out Christians ! Listen to your history.
" During the whole of the Middle Ages education was exclusively Christian. Pagan works were never placed as classics in the hands of the young. They were read only at an age when the mind the heart the imagination in a word the soul cast in the mould of Christianity had received an absolute form ; when in consequence paganism could no longer do any thing more than impress on the child a secondary form without at all influencing the foundation of his moral being. Christianity was then with regard to education what the substantial meats which appease the hunger of the guests are in our feasts and paganism was only as the knicknacks of our desserts.

" What was the consequence ? That which always results from education; that is to say the young generations nourished from the cradle with Christianity penetrated with Christianity brought up in the knowledge in the love in the admiration of Christianity and rendered enthusiastic of its glories and of its works transmitted to society what they had received. And society was Christian Christian to the core. And this Christian society made Europe wonderful for its greatness strength and heroic virtue and covered it over with monuments whose inimitable beauties form but the least part of their glory.

" Towards the end of the fifteenth century you broke the Christian mould and substituted the pagan and cast in it the young generation. The consequence has been what it must necessarily be. Nourished with paganism educated in admiration of paganism they began to show themselves pagans and to transmit to society what they had received. If at the first casting they were not entirely pagan attribute it to the action of Christianity which still dominant in the family and society prevented a sudden and complete transformation.

" Yet such was the influence of this first trial that all the chiefs of the great revolt of the sixteenth century were among the most ardent disciples of classic paganism; they gloried in having been cast in the pagan mould. Every day they plunged into it anew inviting all the world to imitate them and making of their new form a weapon against the Church whose language science and arts they began to accuse of barbarism. The danger became more and more serious ; religion and society evidently lost ground. Educators again set themselves to work and tried to form a new generation which being thoroughly Christian should counterbalance the disastrous action of that which was just ceasing to be or already had ceased to be Christianity. The great Catholic reaction of the sixteenth century commenced. Called to assist in it doctors the most experienced the religious orders the most learned redoubled their activity. The ablest of these great bodies the immortal Society of Jesus seemed to be created expressly to come to the aid of the Church and society in the work of education. It devoted itself to it without reserve although it adopted like its companions in arms the pagan mould. Public opinion rendered this necessary as no other form of beauty was then recognized.

" In fact as all the world knows the sixteenth century was the golden age of the renaissance; it was par excellence the age of the worship of classic antiquity in literature and poetry the age when pagan artists Hellenists and humanists abounded throughout Europe  whose echoes ceased not to repeat their dithyrambics in honor of the Greeks and Romans. The colleges of the Society covered all Europe. Youths without number above all those belonging to the higher classes pressed around the chairs of the illustrious religious. The science virtue devotedness and paternity of the masters the orthodoxy of their doctrine the variety and display of the religious ceremonies performed in their houses seemed to combine to revive and perpetuate in society at large and in the higher classes especially the vigorous faith of the Middle Ages. The Benedictines Oratorians and others in great number rivalled the Jesuits in science and zeal whilst the universities rich in professors distinguished no less for their virtue than learning cooperated in the universal restoration crowning by their learned lessons the apparently so well commenced edifice of Catholic instruction.
"But what has been the final result of this action so general and so well combined ? The same with that of the Florentine founder. They cast the generations in the pagan mould and they obtained pagan generations. According to the great Iavy which presides over human life these generations did not delay to transmit what they had received and paganism inundated Europe. 'Alas! history sad history says it instead of being reanimated the Christian spirit was more and more enfeebled especially in the literary classes among whom through the zeal of so many excellent masters it ought to have revived with new vigor. All the world knows that at the end of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth the men who had most largely participated in public instruction were the least Christian both in manners and in belief.

" That these bitter fruits with the exception perhaps of a small number of the less poisonous have been produced by the pagan tree replanted in the bosom of Europe and cultivated with so much care for the nourishment of youth an observation of another sort fully confirms. On the one hand the women in whose education the pagan element either does not enter at all or only to a feeble extent have constantly shown themselves more Christian than the men ; on the other the lower classes preserved from the same scourge remained loyal to the old faith and have ended by becoming hostile to religion only under the influence of the classes brought up in the school of the Greeks and Romans.

" Founder of Florence ! neither your art nor your intention can change the nature of things. As long as you cast your metals in the mould of a horse you will have a horse. Nations of Europe ! as long as you cast youth in the mould of paganism you will have pagan generations. Neither your laws or education however liberal they may be nor the talent of your professors nor your intentions will ever change any thing. To think the contrary is an error. This error you have committed and every day for more than three centuries. This is the worm that gnaws your heart. This is the solution of the problem. By the fearful consequences with which it now threatens the European world the error which we have just described has become so evident that men the least suspected of partiality have not been able to avoid noticing it. Under pain of an inevitable and perhaps even fatal catastrophe they conjure society to change its system.

" Let it suffice to cite the words so full of good sense of a member of the National Assembly on the occasion of the late law on instruction.

" ' Since the commencement of this debate' says he ' the University and Clergy have thrown back accusations on each other. You pervert them with your philosophic rationalism say the Clergy. You brutalize them with your religious dogmatism replies the University. Conciliators come up and say Religion and philosophy are sisters. We have fused together free inquiry and authority. University and Clergy you have had the monopoly each in your turn ; divide it and let this end.

" ; We have heard the venerable Bishop of Langres thus address the University : " It was you that produced the Socialist generation of 1848 !

" And M. Cremieux hastened to retort " It was you that brought up the revolutionary generation of 1791! " If there is any truth in these allegations what must we conclude from them ? That the two mothods of education have both been fatal not in that which constitutes the difference between them but in that which is common to them both. Yes it is my conviction that there is in the two methods a common point which is the abuse of classical studies and it is thence that they have perverted the judgment and morality of the country. They differ in this that one makes the religious element the other the philosophical to predominate ; but these elements far from having caused this evil with which they have been reproached have on the' contrary attenuated it. We owe it to them that we are not so barbarous as the barbarians constantly proposed by Latinism for our imitation.

" 'Permit me a supposition which though somewhat forced will explain my thought. I will suppose then that there exists somewhere among the antipodes a nation which hating and despising labor has placed all its means of existence in slavery and the successive pillage of all their neighbors. This nation has created for itself a political system a morality a religion a public opinion conformable to the brutal principle it adopts and which preserve and develop it.    France having given the Clergy the monopoly of education they see nothing better to do than to send all the French youth to this people to live its life to he inspired with its senli-ments to be transported with its enthusiasms and to breathe its ideas as air only they take care that each scholar shall depart fortiiied with a little volume called the Gospel These generations thus brought up return to their country a revolution breaks out and I leave you to imagine what part they will play.
Seeing this the state takes the monopoly of education from the Clergy and gives it to the University. The University faithful to tradition sends also the youth to the antipodes among that pillaging and slave-holding nation after providing them with a little book called Philosophy. Five or six generations thus brought up have scarcely returned to their native soil when another revolution breaks out. Formed in the same school as their predecessors they show themselves their worthy rivals. Then comes a war between the monopolizers. It is your book that has done all the evil say the Clergy.    It is yours retorts the University.

" ' No gentlemen your books count for nothing in all this. That which does the evil is the strange idea conceived and executed by you both of sending the French youth destined to labor to peace and to liberty to impregnate and saturate themselves with the sentiments and opinions of a nation of brigands and slaves. 1 affirm it the subversive doctrines to which have been given the name of Socialism or Communism are the fruit of our classical education whether distributed by the Clergy or the University. I add that the baccalaureate will impose by force classical education even on those schools which pretend to be free and which they say ought to hold from the law.' "  pp. 15-20.

The question opened by the author is a grave question and is at the present moment exciting no little controversy among Catholics in France. Respectable names are found on both sides. The Abbe Gaurno appears to be sustained by Cardinal Gousset whose name has deservedly great weight and also by Count Mo n tale i liberty dear to every Catholic for his chivalric defence of Catholic principles and his steady devotion to Catholic interests but who perhaps is a little too enthusiastic in his admiration of the Middle Ages. We are ourselves incompetent to mingle in the debate. Prior to our conversion and during the first two or three years after we entertained to their full extent the views defended by the Abbe Gaume. Maturer reflection and something of that intimate acquaintance with the tendencies of our fallen nature which is obtained only by the effort to live the Catholic life have led us to regard those views as somewhat exaggerated and to the conviction that the disuse in our schools of the Greek and Roman classics as text-books would of itself have comparatively little effect in banishing paganism from society.

We do not question the faith or the piety of our author but we cannot bring ourselves as a Catholic to believe that a system of education has been adopted and pursued for four hundred years by the most illustrious religions orders and congregations the most able and learned doctors and the greatest and most heroic saints under the supervision of the Church and at least with her tacit approval which is directly fitted to paganize society. It seems to us that we could hardly say so without impeaching either the vigilance or the infallibility of the Church herself. Education is a part and an important part of the mission of the Church and to suppose that she has fallen into a grave mistake on the subject or has utterly failed in her judgment of what is essentially a Christian education or what is essentially repugnant to it is in our judgment more than we can do compatibly with our Catholic faith. To do so would be only to follow in the track of Savonarola who has not yet been cleared of error and proved to have been a good Catholic. Of course we do not mean that it is a matter of faith that heathen text-books should be used in our schools or that educators are not free to disuse them or that it is not lawful to maintain that it would be well or indeed that it is even necessary to discontinue their use ; but we do doubt our right to contend that their use has been incompatible with Christian education and has been the cause of the paganism in modern society. The Abbe Gaume is free to maintain that it would be well and that under exisling circumstances it is necessary to banish the ancient Greek and Latin classics from our schools; but not in our judgment that the paganism of modern society has resulted from their use and that in suffering them to be used the Church has acted as unwisely as the artist who wishing to cast a hero poured his molten metal into the mould of a horse.

We do not believe moreover with the Abbe Gaume that education is all-powerful and that the child is as ductile as wax in the hands of the educator. Never is the child purely passive ready to receive any form you may choose to give it.    This is the error of Robert Owen and of the Socialists and Communists generally. It is the doctrine of all those who are at war with society as it is and who ascribe the depravities of individual character to the depravities of the social state in which character is formed. No child is purely passive in the formation of its character. The soul is essentially active and it acts in receiving as well as in transmitting. Do your best you cannot cast all children in the same mould and turn them out good Christians. Some children in spite of the most adverse influences nay it would sometimes seem in consequence of adverse influences grow up firm loyal devout Christians whose life is most edifying to study. Others brought up in the most careful manner piously educated and kept for years in ignorance of evil wilt down before the first temptation and end in being thorough reprobates. Education is the ordinary means under Divine Providence of forming Christian character but it is not infallible and often fails utterly of its end even when no objection can be brought against the quality of the education furnished or against those who furnish it. The same regimen will not produce the same effects in all. Even the blessed Apostles were an odor of life to some and an odor of death to others. In the same family in the same school you find some turn out all you could wish and others turning out the reverse. Always must you make allowance for innate differences of disposition and for the free will of children.

There is in the author's doctrine on education a latent l'elagianism and an assumption of the innate goodness or perfectibility of human nature. Education as he treats it is merely a human means of forming character and he unconsciously no doubt reasons on the supposition that human nature has the capability by development and cultivation of being elevated to the Christian order. There is in this a forgetfulness of the corruption of our nature by the Fall and of the necessity of grace to enable us to overcome them. Christianity in all its parts lies in the supernatural order and neither Christian belief nor Christian character is possible by any conceivable culture which is merely human. We are not born Christians but infidels and heathen. Nor are we born with the seeds or germs of Christianity in our soul either as to faith or as to  character  and   they  are implanted in us only  by regeneration. The seeds or germs with which we are born are the seeds or germs of paganism and the more full and thorough the cultivation of our nature the more complete and thorough pagans do we become. Hence it is that no education no training however wise or judicious orthodox or pious can infallibly insure Christian faith and character; for as long as we remain in the flesh we have within us the seeds or germs of heathenism ready at all tunes to spring up and which can be prevented from development only by the grace of Christ.

The author it seems to us mistakes the effect for the cause.      The  Middle Ages he tells us were  thoroughly Christian and were so because education was  Christian. Would it not be truer to say that education was then Christian because society itself was Christian ?  If education was then Christian whence came if the character of a generation is determined  by it the generation which in the fifteenth  century broke the Christian mould and  introduced the pagan ?    The generation which broke with the Middle Ages and  sought to revive Greece and Rome must have been formed under a Christian  system of education and therefore according to the author could transmit only the Christian family and society.     How then did it become so paganized as to substitute the pagan mould for the Christian?    Certainly the generation that changed the mould had already become paganized and paganized if the author is to be believed under a system of thoroughly Christian education.    How if by education  you can always determine the character of the rising generation and through it of society did that generation become so paganized ?    That generation had not been cast in the pagan mould yet it  had  become pagan.     How with this fact staring him in the face can the author assert the infallibility of education ? or that if the mould was changed the change was not the effect but the cause of the paganism  of modern society?    It strikes us therefore that it would be far more true to say that there is paganism in education because society itself is pagan than 'that society is pagan because there is paganism in education.
Finally so long as paganism prevails in society the mere exclusion of pagan class-books can hardly be expected to banish paganism even from education. The education which forms character is given far less in schools and colleges than in the family and in society and far less by the text-books studied than by the personal character of school-mates and of teachers and professors. The pagan books usually read in Catholic colleges have very little influence- on the young and the evil influence they are likely to produce is after the student has left college rather than before and therefore at an age when according to the author the character is already decisively formed. We can see no great harm a good-conditioned boy at the age when they are usually studied in Catholic colleges is likely to receive from Caesar's Commentaries Ovid's Metamorphoses abating a few dirty passages Virgil's iEneid Cicero's Orations and Sallust's Histories or from Xenophon's Oyroprcdia and Anabasis Homer's Iliad and with a few exceptions the Greek tragedies read as they are not for their principles or doctrines but for their language and the beauty of their form. If the tone of society of the college and of the professors be thoroughly Catholic the pupils will imbibe very few false notions from these books. The injury that is done by classical literature we think is done chiefly at a later age when read for its principles or for the instruction and amusement of learned leisure or at least where the tone and tendency of the family and society are pagan. It is very possible that the classics have am'id prevailing heathenism some slight influence in exaggerating the evil but in general our age is so much more heathen than ancient Greece and Rome that the study of them not unfrequently has even a corrective tendency. Moreover we know that some of the most pious doctors and greatest saints of the Church have been educated in Latin and Greek through the medium of these books. The author tells us that the sixteenth century was the golden age of the classics and we would ask him what age has been more distinguished for the number and greatness of its canonized saints"? The seventeenth century again was a century of powerful reaction against Protestantism and it too in France and Spain especially was eminently distinguished by piety zeal and sanctity. Yet it was precisely in these two centuries that the system of education the author condemns was in its greatest vigor and the most generally adopted. If we come down to the eighteenth century we find society fall oil' in its classical studies almost as much as in its faith and piety. Experience is far from warranting the sweeping censures of the excellent Abbe Gaume.

It is true that the nations of Europe in the last century found themselves pretty generally acting on heathen maxims and applauding the heathen spirit.    You say the generation which prepared and effected the old  French revolution  was educated in schools exclusively under the control of the clergy.    Be it so.   So was the generation that prepared   and   effected  the   rupture   of  society  with   the Church in the fifteenth and early part of the sixteenth century; and the fact that the modern system did not prevent men from becoming infidels and incendiaries is no more an argument against it than the fact that the former system did not prevent them from becoming heretics and revolutionists is an argument against that system which you approve and would revive.     You are obliged to confess that the system of education adopted in the Middle Ages did not save society from the  Protestant rebellion every whit as violent and as wicked as the Jacobinical revolution at the close of the last century ; but you do not regard that fact as a condemnation of it.    You  seek  the  causes  of its  failure in something else than its supposed defects as a system.   Why not  be equally liberal  and just to  the  modern  system? Why make the Jesuits more responsible for the paganism of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries than the mediaeval educators for the paganism of the fifteenth  and sixteenth centuries?    The argument Post hoc ergo propter hoc is not always valid and we see no reason for conntino-it more valid in the eighteenth century than in the fifteenth!

Scandals must come heresies must come the love of many at times will wax cold and large masses will detach themselves from the Church. It has been so from the beginning and will be so to the end. It is bad logic to attribute such things when they come to the wrong system or mistaken policy pursued by the Church and by no means wise forthwith to demand an entire change of system. No foresight no prudence no policy however wise or judicious could have prevented them. The fault is not in those who labor to prevent them and remain faithful to the Church but in those who break away and rush headlong into the mad career of heresy infidelity and immorality. The Jesuits and other religious orders in the first half of the eighteenth century labored assiduously in the education of youth and yet many came out of their schools infidels real gentiles.     There is no denying it but the fault cannot be charged to the system they pursued for they had previously pursued the same system for a hundred and lifty or two hundred years without any such results.

We are not as well pleased with the remarks of M. Bastiat cited by the Abbe Gauine as we should like to be. They strike us as being neither logical nor true. He represents the state as taking the control of education from the clergy and giving it to the university because education in the hands of the clergy had prepared actors for the revolution of 1793. This is historically incorrect. It was done solely because the influence of the clergy was adverse to that revolution and because the state wished to have its children educated for this world and not for heaven. The parity he seeks to establish between the clergy and the university does not exist and to maintain it is unjust to the clergy. Neither they nor their system prepared Europe for revolution and it was evidently so prepared in spite of both. We are not edified by the Catholic priest who cites with approbation an author who places the iniidel University of France on a par with the French Clergy and represents both as equally contributing to paganize society. The world to a great extent has relapsed into paganism in spite of the clergy who have always strenuously resisted it and it is not in these times when we have to struggle as for life and death to prevent paganism from entirely swallowing up Christian civilization that we can afford to bring accusations against them and hold them responsible for the evils which threaten to overwhelm us. It was they who aided by the prayers of the faithful under God first rescued the world from paganism and it is only they aided by the prayers of the faithful who can a second time rescue us. I jet us not be so mad then as to cut off the right hand on which we must lean for guidance and support.
All these theorizings as to the causes of past calamities and all these specifics for the cure of prevailing evils are always to be received with suspicion. They all proceed on the assumption that these calamities might have been prevented and that these evils may be removed by human foresight wisdom and strength ; and hence it is that their authors soon forget the supernatural agency of Heaven become proud in their own conceit impatient of instruction and like Savonarola like the ill-fated Lamennais like
the brilliant Abbate Gioberti end in losing their faith and their virtue and in calling down the anathemas of the Church and of all good men. Providence has given us our work he has placed instruments in our hands and bid us use them but to give or to withhold success he has reserved to himself. To succeed or not to succeed does not depend on his ministers. When they succeed the glory-belongs to him and when they fail it is not for us to blame them. If they are faithful in the work he gives them to do they will receive their reward in heaven ; and the ill success of their labors if ill success attend them must be explained by his plans inscrutable to us and into which we are not to pry.

What were the proximate causes of the pagan reaction of the fifteenth century or of the new outbreak of heathenism in the eighteenth we do not know. We have no theory to explain the presence of either at the precise time it appeared or to tell why either might not have just as well appeared a century earlier or a century later. All we know is that there was in the fifteenth century a powerful pagan reaction which gave birth to the Protestant movement and revolt and that there is now in society a widely prevalent heathenism affecting Catholic countries in some degree as well as Protestant countries and to which is to be ascribed our modern Jacobinical revolutions and socialistic movements. At either epoch the real origin and cause of the heathenism are to be sought not in this or that erroneous policy in this or that system of social organization or in this or that system of instruction and education but in our fallen and corrupt nature. Every man in his fallen state is naturally a heathen and the paganism which at any time or in any country obtains is nothing more nor less than the natural expression of what every one of us without grace is in himself. Jly whatever causes faith is weakened and men are led to neglect the means of grace heathenism is promoted. What these particular causes are and why they operate at one time more than at another in one country more than in another is just as difficult for us to explain as why of two friends ha vino-equal opportunity one shall be converted and the other shall remain an infidel; why of two women grinding at the mill one shall be taken and the other left.  We know that it is so but why it is so we do not know.

The Middle Ages were not as completely Christian as many modern romanticists dream but their errors and defects were not in general errors and defects of faith.    They transgressed the law of God through pride or passion but they did not erect transgression into a principle and like modern times invent theories to justify it.    Consequently you had in general only to touch the conscience to bring the sinner to the confessional.    Education could then be Christian for society was Christian  as to faith in all as to practice in many and especially in those intrusted with the instruction of the young.   This Christian education no doubt tended to preserve Christianity in the family and in society and to check the manifestation of the heathen tendencies of our nature.    But the education was Christian because society was Christian and only in a weaker sense was society   Christian  because education was  Christian. After the rupture society which  in fact never was and never will be thoroughly Christian but only relatively so became heathen in its principles and theories and education though it remained  Christian in  school  became to some extent pagan out of school and unable to resist the pagan  tendencies of human nature  itself and  the pagan influences  of society.     It is far less what is studied in school that makes  our youth  grow up pagans than the influences of pagan society out of school.    Yet these influences acting on the schools may have made them less Christian  than they were  in  the   Middle Ages and  they again  may  have  reacted   on  society and   augmented its heathenism.    But except where the state has restricted or denied the liberty of education and banished as in France for the last sixty  years religion  from the schools we do not believe this  has been to any great  extent the case in Catholic   countries  though   it   undoubtedly  has   been  in Protestant countries.    However heathenism is now prevalent in society and it is not by education alone nor chiefly that we can expel it for the simple reason that so long as society remains heathen whatever your schools you cannot withdraw your children from heathen influences.

We are undoubtedly to make constant and deadly war on the heathenism of the age. In prosecuting this war it may be found necessary to place the same interdict on the literary remains of pagan antiquity that the Church always places upon the literary productions of contemporary heretics because  the  prevalence  of paganism may have made them in some sense the works of contemporaries. Whether this will  be so or not we do not know and happily it is not for us to decide  since we  are not in holy  orders and the   care  of  all the   churches  does  not devolve on reviewers.    This is a matter for the decision of those whom the Holy Ghost has placed over us.    Some whose opinions we are bound to respect and do respect appear to  think it is necessary to  exclude  the  classics from the studies of the young.     Others equally deserving our respect think it is not and till the proper authority decides we have no opinion on the subject.    All we venture to say is that in our judgment the banishing of the Greek and Roman text-books usually studied by our youth will of itself do little towards checking the evil complained of.    It will cut off only a feeble rill while it leaves  the main torrent to pour in the poisonous floods of heathenism. We have as we never cease to repeat no faith in specifics no confidence in the man who proposes to cure all ills with a " Morrison's pill."    All the evils of society however wide they may spread out their branches spring from one and the same root and  are really destroyed only as you cut off that root itself and deprive them of the sap by which they live.     This root is our own corrupt nature and nothing is really remedial or any thing more than a mere palliative which instead of curing is pretty sure to aggravate the disease that does not heal this nature itself or enable us to keep its evil affections in subjection to the law of God.    Instruction alone will not do this for few of us do as well as we know and a man may know perfectly well his duty and entirely neglect it.     Nothing will do it but God's grace and our sole instruments are the means of grace.    In other words we must not rely on ourselves or hope by human means by any humanly devised schemes however promising they  may appear to our wisdom to roll back the tide of heathenism and restore society to Christian life.   It is not for us to attempt to raise the dead to rekindle the vital spark that is extinct.    We must rely on God and feel that the work is his and his alone.    By pious submission and devout and continued prayer to him to have mercy on mankind we may cooperate with him in its performance and rest assured that in his own way and time it will be done.

Some of the objections we  have  suggested  the  Abbe Gaume   has   himself noticed   and   attempted   to ans .ver though we must say not to our satisfaction.    We   beg our readers however not to misunderstand us.    Into  the real  question as to the propriety or the necessity under existing  circumstances  of  banishing  the  pagan   classics from  our schools we have not entered because we consider that as a question for the ecclesiastical authorities to settle  not for us.     "We have only wished to  enter our feeble protest against the assumption that their use in our schools has been the cause of modern paganism and that the  Church   has  erred or been  culpably neglectful of her duty in suffering them to be used.    Nor have we wished to depreciate education which no man  prizes higher than we do ; our wish   has  been to guard our readers against ascribing to it a virtue it does not possess against ascribing all the good in society to good and all the evil to bad education.    Education  can  do  much and should be encouraged ; good education should never be neglected ; but it is never able of itself to overcome nature or to preserve society from all aberrations.    The mere cultivation of nature is always an evil rather than a good for good is not a natural  product is not developed from nature but is the fruit of supernatural grace and discipline.    Our reliance for the reformation of society is not therefore on education alone but on it and all the  other means of forming character which God   has provided and  especially on  his own gracious pleasure.    In a word we have full faith only in prayer and the sacraments as the instruments of salvation whether for the individual or society ; for there is nothing of which we are better assured than that the salvation of either is of God not of man and as we often say that God will prosper no means the glory of which  does not redound to himself.   We must never forget that the Church is God's Church not man's and that it is only through the Church his Immaculate Spouse whom he loves and for whom he shed his blood that he does or will regenerate and bless either the individual or society.    Human means the might of the powerful and the wisdom of the wise he brings to naught save as inspired by his grace and subordinated to his praise.