Skip to comments.Pope Pius XI blasts "monopoly schooling" and "sex-education" (1929)
Posted on 11/02/2001 4:47:45 AM PST by Aquinasfan
DIVINI ILLIUS MAGISTRI (On Christian Education)
Pope Pius XI"
...6. The reason is that men, created by God to His image and likeness and destined for Him Who is infinite perfection realize today more than ever amid the most exuberant material progress, the insufficiency of earthly goods to produce true happiness either for the individual or for the nations. And hence they feel more keenly in themselves the impulse towards a perfection that is higher, which impulse is implanted in their rational nature by the Creator Himself. This perfection they seek to acquire by means of education. But many of them with, it would seem, too great insistence on the etymological meaning of the word, pretend to draw education out of human nature itself and evolve it by its own unaided powers. Such easily fall into error, because, instead of fixing their gaze on God, first principle and last end of the whole universe, they fall back upon themselves, becoming attached exclusively to passing things of earth; and thus their restlessness will never cease till they direct their attention and their efforts to God, the goal of all perfection, according to the profound saying of Saint Augustine: "Thou didst create us, O Lord, for Thyself, and our heart is restless till it rest in Thee."
...11. Education is essentially a social and not a mere individual activity. Now there are three necessary societies, distinct from one another and yet harmoniously combined by God, into which man is born: two, namely the family and civil society, belong to the natural order; the third, the Church, to the supernatural order.
12. In the first place comes the family, instituted directly by God for its peculiar purpose, the generation and formation of offspring; for this reason it has priority of nature and therefore of rights over civil society. Nevertheless, the family is an imperfect society, since it has not in itself all the means for its own complete development; whereas civil society is a perfect society, having in itself all the means for its peculiar end, which is the temporal well-being of the community; and so, in this respect, that is, in view of the common good, it has pre-eminence over the family, which finds its own suitable temporal perfection precisely in civil society.
31. The Angelic Doctor with his wonted clearness of thought and precision of style, says: "The father according to the flesh has in a particular way a share in that principle which in a manner universal is found in God.... The father is the principle of generation, of education and discipline and of everything that bears upon the perfecting of human life."
32. The family therefore holds directly from the Creator the mission and hence the right to educate the offspring, a right inalienable because inseparably joined to the strict obligation, a right anterior to any right whatever of civil society and of the State, and therefore inviolable on the part of any power on earth.
33. That this right is inviolable St. Thomas proves as follows: The child is naturally something of the father . . . so by natural right the child, before reaching the use of reason, is under the father's care. Hence it would be contrary to natural justice if the child, before the use of reason, were removed from the care of its parents, or if any disposition were made concerning him against the will of the parents. And as this duty on the part of the parents continues up to the time when the child is in a position to provide for itself, this same inviolable parental right of education also endures. "Nature intends not merely the generation of the offspring, but also its development and advance to the perfection of man considered as man, that is, to the state of virtue" says the same St. Thomas.
...44. Accordingly in the matter of education, it is the right, or to speak more correctly, it is the duty of the State to protect in its legislation, the prior rights, already described, of the family as regards the Christian education of its offspring, and consequently also to respect the supernatural rights of the Church in this same realm of Christian education.
...48. However it is clear that in all these ways of promoting education and instruction, both public and private, the State should respect the inherent rights of the Church and of the family concerning Christian education, and moreover have regard for distributive justice. Accordingly, unjust and unlawful is any monopoly, educational or scholastic, which, physically or morally, forces families to make use of government schools, contrary to the dictates of their Christian conscience, or contrary even to their legitimate preferences.
...60. Hence every form of pedagogic naturalism which in any way excludes or weakens supernatural Christian formation in the teaching of youth, is false. Every method of education founded, wholly or in part, on the denial or forgetfulness of original sin and of grace, and relying on the sole powers of human nature, is unsound.
...62...So today we see, strange sight indeed, educators and philosophers who spend their lives in searching for a universal moral code of education, as if there existed no decalogue, no gospel law, no law even of nature stamped by God on the heart of man, promulgated by right reason, and codified in positive revelation by God Himself in the ten commandments...
63. Such men are miserably deluded in their claim to emancipate, as they say, the child, while in reality they are making him the slave of his own blind pride and of his disorderly affections, which, as a logical consequence of this false system, come to be justified as legitimate demands of a so-called autonomous nature.
...65. Another very grave danger is that naturalism which nowadays invades the field of education in that most delicate matter of purity of morals. Far too common is the error of those who with dangerous assurance and under an ugly term propagate a so-called sex-education, falsely imagining they can forearm youths against the dangers of sensuality by means purely natural, such as a foolhardy initiation and precautionary instruction for all indiscriminately, even in public; and, worse still, by exposing them at an early age to the occasions, in order to accustom them, so it is argued, and as it were to harden them against such dangers.
...71. The first natural and necessary element in this environment, as regards education, is the family, and this precisely because so ordained by the Creator Himself. Accordingly that education, as a rule, will be more effective and lasting which is received in a well-ordered and well-disciplined Christian family; and more efficacious in proportion to the clear and constant good example set, first by the parents, and then by the other members of the household.
72. It is not our intention to treat formally the question of domestic education, nor even to touch upon its principal points. The subject is too vast. Besides there are not lacking special treatises on this topic by authors, both ancient and modern, well known for their solid Catholic doctrine. One which seems deserving of special mention is the golden treatise already referred to, of Antoniano, On the Christian Education of Youth, which St. Charles Borromeo ordered to be read in public to parents assembled in their churches.
...73...The declining influence of domestic environment is further weakened by another tendency, prevalent almost everywhere today, which, under one pretext or another, for economic reasons, or for reasons of industry, trade or politics, causes children to be more and more frequently sent away from home even in their tenderest years. And there is a country where the children are actually being torn from the bosom of the family, to be formed (or, to speak more accurately, to be deformed and depraved) in godless schools and associations, to irreligion and hatred, according to the theories of advanced socialism; and thus is renewed in a real and more terrible manner the slaughter of the Innocents.
78. ..."The school," he writes, "if not a temple, is a den." And again: "When literary, social, domestic and religious education do not go hand in hand, man is unhappy and helpless."
79. From this it follows that the so-called "neutral" or "lay" school, from which religion is excluded, is contrary to the fundamental principles of education. Such a school moreover cannot exist in practice; it is bound to become irreligious.
81. And let no one say that in a nation where there are different religious beliefs, it is impossible to provide for public instruction otherwise than by neutral or mixed schools. In such a case it becomes the duty of the State, indeed it is the easier and more reasonable method of procedure, to leave free scope to the initiative of the Church and the family, while giving them such assistance as justice demands
...90. More than ever nowadays an extended and careful vigilance is necessary, inasmuch as the dangers of moral and religious shipwreck are greater for inexperienced youth. Especially is this true of impious and immoral books, often diabolically circulated at low prices; of the cinema, which multiplies every kind of exhibition; and now also of the radio, which facilitates every kind of communications. These most powerful means of publicity, which can be of great utility for instruction and education when directed by sound principles, are only too often used as an incentive to evil passions and greed for gain. St. Augustine deplored the passion for the shows of the circus which possessed even some Christians of his time, and he dramatically narrates the infatuation for them, fortunately only temporary, of his disciple and friend Alipius. How often today must parents and educators bewail the corruption of youth brought about by the modern theater and the vile book!
I have selected portions that I thought would be of greatest interest to all Freepers, but the entire encyclical is worthwhile. It's a gem.
It kind of surprised me as to how little things have changed. The problems have only changed by degree.
The pope's allusion to the Soviet school system of 1929 could pretty much describe American government schools today.
A universal and compulsory system of instruction has for its first and main effect uniformity. It produces to a pattern. It fills the millions of a nation (at the age when the mind is being fixed) with one set of ideas to the exclusion of others. No mere limited freedom of choice in textbooks and teachers can prevent this effect, when the whole system is subject to State regulation, supervision, examination and test. Indeed, it can be verified by experience that there is sometimes even more diversity of result in a centralized system of education than in one where local authorities and various religious bodies have power of selecting books and instructors. Thus in France it is a frequent complaint, on the part of those with a passion for national unity, that the elementary school does not provide it, while in England, where the system is theoretically far less rigid, no one can or does complain of stray differences in its results, for there are little or no differences apparent. It is not the particular form of the system, it is its universal character which is of this effect. On reflection we see that it must be so. A body of national teachers will come into being and will be informed with a corporate spirit. They will be trained all in much the same fashion to the same fixed "standards" and with the same ends in view. They will teach under the shadow of a vast bureaucracy and to ends set them by an army of inspectors, examiners and departmental officials.Belloc goes into detail about the injustice of forcing families to subject their children to state education. Also, check out The Dewey Legend in American Education
You have, therefore, here one essential condition of the "Modern Mind"; its lack of diversity; its mechanical deadness. This, when it is achieved, reacts in turn upon the elementary school, and each, the agent and the object, the school and the scholar, increases the sterility of the other. Uniformity acquired by the second makes easier the action of the first, and both conform to a common fixedness.
Indirectly but more strongly still this mechanical uniformity tends to exclusion of ideas. That which is not taught at all to a child, or is taught as something subsidiary, falls out of his consciousness or is diminished therein. For the most part what is not emphasized is not believed to exist. Often, from its unfamiliarity, that which is a stranger to education in childhood, is thought incredible by the grown man.
-Hilaire Belloc, Survivals and New Arrivals
When I read this I feel physically ill. You know why? Not just because it's true, but because many people I know and love dearly are still laboring under the "false consciousness" imparted to them in their years in government detention centers, and they show no signs of awakening.
I will check out your link.
Some other great education reads are:
The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
Dumbing us Down by John Taylor Gatto
NEA: Trojan Horse in Education by Sam Blumenfeld
Blumenfeld in particular describes in detail how government schools were designed to bring about the effect described by Belloc above.
David C. Osborne
"Thou didst create us, O Lord, for Thyself, ...
And not for the State.
The libertartian position is that state has no role in education, since the purpose of the state is protection of individual rights and not pursuit of public good. Parents and adult students are capable do decide for themselves what education to get in pursuit of their private good. The libertarian slogan is "separation of school and state", consistent with that philosophy.
These are two older threads on the evil of public education.
Wouldn't the act of abstaining from an active role in the education of children be considered a "public good" by libertarians? Or at least a "good"?
Should the State prescribe minimal guidelines for education? If not, then how could the State secure the "individual rights" of the child who is deprived of an education (or worse)?
The radical feminist connection with state socialism is demonstrated in two ways:(1) the use of state power to extinguish the natural right of the father, and (2) giving the state priority over the family and warding the father's place of honor in the family to the state while guarding the absolute rights of the mother, with regard to reproduction, but also subordinating her right to guide the education of any children she may choose to bear to the authority of the state.
Yes, and generally, as the libertarian government protects the private good, many a public good would ba a side effect of that. We can generalize from this that the libertarian worldview, despite the peculiarities of its analytical method, does not produce anything radically different from the classic view on what good government is.
Should the State prescribe minimal guidelines for education?
The test is whether, if given a time machine, the grown up child could reasonably sue his parents for not educating him. For example, if a child hasn't been taught to read and write, the parent, absent some improbable excuse, would be judged to have neglected the child and deprived him of an opportunity that otherwise would have been clearly his. On the other hand, if a child hasn't been given piano lessons, the lawsuit would fail because it is not clear that having received the lessons the child would have made a Horowitz.
So here's the rub: the government may see public good in producing star pianists. If you think it is far fetched, recall the Soviet Union with its Olympic athletes and ballet dancers. Thus a government would be tempted to go beyond the simple test of individual harm and impose educational standards that would not have been reasonable for a grown up child to retrospectively demand. Should that happen, the rights of the parents would be violated by the government, with secondary loss accruing to the child.
We conclude that the government may impose minimalist educational standards; but allowing the government to do so would be bad public policy, given the government's appetite for growth beyond its legitimate perimeter.
They requested use of their parish gym. Religious/non profit groups do not have to pay to use the parish facilities. This church informed the Catholic homeschoolers they would have to pay to use facilities. When they replied that they were a loose knit Catholic group, this was the reply:
Fr. contacted me and asked me to meet with him to discuss some issues related to the homeschool group's request to be sponsored by the church. I told him that I could not speak for the group but would be willing to contact you all to discuss any issues.
Our request was discussed at the staff meeting and several questions were raised which Father would like us to answer so that he "can present [our] case." I have listed the questions below.
The Questions (without editorial comment on my part):
1. What do you propose to do for the parish?
2. Who will finance you?
3. Who is in charge (person, committee)?
4. Who do you represent?
5. What are the requirements to belong to the group?
6. What do you expect from the parish?
7. Every parish sponsored organization accepts the authority of the bishop and his appointed pastor. Is that acceptable for the group?
This seems subtle persecution to me, but I'm a veteran of the ongoing wars in my diocese here between the bishop and his liberal clique and the orthodox laypeople.
Is this available online???
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