Excerpts from The Judges of Faith: Christian vs. Godless Schools
-Fr. Thomas J. Jenkins, 1882
On Christian vs. Secular Education:
To be truly Catholic one's faith must be as exclusive as his charity is universal. Where the former runs no risk of its life the latter is boundless. Catholics then must so love their own salvation that they shall be stubborn in their resistance to whatever imperils it ; and must love their neighbors' souls so truly that they dare incur temporary resentment for attempting to withdraw their brothers from the brink of social abysses. Though we are reputed intolerant, we love our respective countries and fellow-citizens both well and wisely in our treatment of the question of education, which concerns the present and the future of nations. While protecting ourselves from the effects on our children of merely secular education, we shall surely not harm others nor abridge one tittle of their rights.
We are not alone in our belief in the axiom put forth in the Pastoral of our Third Plenary Council: 'A one-sided education [i.e. secular] will develop a one-sided life, and such a life will surely topple over ; and so will every social system built up of such lives...'
Certain periods of the world's best education are periods of the world's worst morals and worst government...
No practical Christian ever becomes unfaithful. So creedless, neutral schools, breed creedless children; indifference to God and virtue is the surest precursor to infidelity in practice, and this, to that blindness called intellectual infidelity.
Education and the Republic:
But our republic must stand on virtue, and "eternal vigilance is liberty's price." We have gnawing at our vitals, the insidious system of miseducation that has made the ruin and upheavals caused by the Internationals possible. It is a very sapping of the foundations of law and order, having their reason of being in the supreme dominion of God over the minds and hearts of men, by creating in our Public Schools a world of human beings disinherited of their faith, strong in intellect and passions, weak in heart, open to the persuasive vagaries of every mountebank in religion or no-religion, prone to self-idolatry and world-renowned for license of word and deed.
The Church: Mother & Once a Teacher of Nations
Four hundred years ago Europe was one great schoolhouse under the tutelage of a grand Teacher and Mother, who, having brought forth all nations from the darkness of barbarism, had gathered them about her knee to teach them the arts of peace and the sweets of a Christian home. Far advanced were many of her pupil nations, and she had sent them forth from her nurseries instructed with Christian wisdom, able to frame their own laws and found their own commonwealths under her more distant, but still necessary, superintendence.
Near the finishing of her task in the older nations, she stretched out her creative hand to the setting of the sun, and behold, new worlds sprang forth at her touch, and new nations climbed her lap to receive heavenly nourishment from her lips and breast.
All was peace — such peace as may be in this life of trial. She governed her children and counseled her royal pupils at the head of nations, where she had often placed them or sanctioned their power, until by slow degrees she could set them free from the trammels of tutelage, and take her ever multiplying children, coming to her from the ends of the earth, under her care and teaching.
Concluding comments from Sky View:
The following prelates of the Catholic Church in America in the late 19th century gave the above mentioned book their imprimatur.
• Cardinal James Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore.
• Rt. Rev. John J. Hogan, Bishop of Kansas City and St. Joseph.
• Rt. Rev, Martin Marty, Vic. Ap. of Dakota Terr.
• Rt. Rev. Francis Janssens, Bishop of Natchez
• Rt. Rev. Thomas L, Grace, Bishop of St. Paul
• Rt. Rev. M. J. O'Farrell, Bishop of Trenton.
• Rt. Rev. Monsignor Thomas S. Preston of New York
Can we not see what they saw so clearly? Why isn’t today’s Church addressing the secular threat of State-run education? Not only has education itself suffered considerable decline in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, but it has taken a toll on the mission of the Catholic Church to claim cultures for Christ! As the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore taught in 1884, "A one-sided education will develop a one-sided life, and such a life will surely topple over; and so will every social system built up of such lives..." Hopefully the New Evangelization will connect the dots between America's secular and compulsory education with its citizens seeming inability to elect politicians who take our nation's challenges seriously.