Skip to comments.What Catholics "should they persist ... cannot receive absolution in the Sacrament of Penance"
Posted on 05/06/2004 6:34:07 PM PDT by Polycarp IV
Instructions of the Holy Office to the Bishops of the U.S., November 24, 1875.
...To the Sacred Congregation, this method (of public education) has appeared intrinsically dangerous and ab-solutely contrary to Catholicism. Indeed because the special program adopted by these schools excludes all religious instruction, the pupils cannot grasp the ele-ments of the faith, nor are they instructed in the pre-cepts of the Church, and therefore they are deprived of that which is most essential for man to know and with- out which it is impossible to live in a Christian manner
If this danger, which borders on perversion, is not averted, these schools cannot be attended with peace of mind. The divine and natural laws themselves proclaim it.
This was clearly defined by the Holy Father when on July 14, 1864, he wrote to the Archbishop of Fribourg: "In all places, in every country where this pernicious plan to deprive the Church of its authority over schools is formulated, and worse still, put into effect, with the result that the young will be exposed to the danger of losing their faith, it is the duty of the Church to make every effort not only to take steps to obtain the essential instruction and religious training for youth, but even more so to warn the faithful, and to make it clear to them that they cannot frequent such schools which are set up against the Catholic Church.
These words, founded on the natural and divine law, state definitely a general principle, have a universal bearing, and apply to all countries where this injurious method of instructing youth will unfortunately be introduced.
It is, therefore, absolutely necessary that all bishops should make every effort to see to it that the flock entrusted to them may avoid every contact with the public schools.
This instruction and this necessary Christian educa-tion of their children is often neglected by those par-ents who allow their children to frequent schools where it is impossible to avoid the loss of souls or who, not-withstanding the existence of a well-organized neigh-boring Catholic school or the possibility of having their children educated elsewhere in a Catholic school, entrust them to the public schools without sufficient reason...
...it is a well-known fact that, according to Catholic moral teaching, such parents, should they persist in their attitude, cannot receive absolution in the Sacrament of Penance.
Encyclical Sapientiae Cltristianae, by Pope Leo XIII, January 10, 1890
...This is a suitable moment for Us to exhort especially heads of families to govern their households according to these precepts, and to educate their children from their earliest years. The family may be regarded as the cradle of civil society, and it is in great measure within the circle of family life that the destiny of the State is fostered. Consequently they who would break away from Christian discipline are working to corrupt family life and to destroy it utterly, root and branch. From such an unholy purpose they are not deterred by the fact that they are inflicting a cruel outrage on parents, who have the right from nature to educate those whom they begot, a right to which is joined the duty of harmonizing instruction and education with the end for which they were given their children by the goodness of God.
It is then incumbent upon parents to make every effort to resist attacks on this point and to vindicate at any cost the right to direct the education of their offspring, as it is fitting, in a Christian manner; and first and foremost to keep them away from schools where there is risk of their being imbued with the poison of impiety.
Where the right education of youth is concerned, no amount of trouble and labor is too much
However, let everyone be firmly convinced, first of all, that the minds of children are best trained above all by the teaching they receive at home. If in their growing years they find in their homes the rule of an upright life and the exercise of Christian virtue, the salvation of society will be in great part assured.
Encyclical Militantis Ecclesiae, by Pope Leo XIII, August 1, 1897
In this matter special care must be paid to these points. First of all, Catholics should not frequent "mixed" schools [those for Catholics and non-Catho-lics], especially those for little children. They should everywhere have their own schools and should choose excellent, trustworthy teachers. An education which contains religious errors or which bans all religion is full of dangers: and this often happens in the schools we have called "mixed." Let nobody easily persuade him-self that piety can be separated from instruction with impunity.
In fact, in no period of life, whether in public or in private affairs, can religion be dispensed with, much less can that inexperienced age, full of life, yet sur-rounded by so many corrupt temptations, be excused from religious obligations.
Whosoever, therefore, organizes education so as to neglect any point of contact with religion is destroying beauty and honesty at their very roots, and instead of helping the country, is preparing for the deterioration and destruction of the human race. For, once God is eliminated, who can make young people realize their duties or redeem those who have deviated from the right path of virtue and fallen into the abyss of vice?
Religion must not be taught to youth only during certain hours, but the entire system of education must be permeated with the sense of Christian piety. If this is lacking, if this holy spirit does not penetrate and inflame the souls of teacher and pupil, small benefit will be derived from any other sort of education; in-stead damage will be done.
Almost every sort of training has its dangers, and only with difficulty will these be averted from growing youth, especially if the divine controls are lacking which restrain their minds and wills. Great care must therefore be taken so that what is essential, namely, the pursuit of justice and piety, may not be relegated to a second place, confining youth to the visible world and thus leaving their vital potentiality for virtue to rot; so that, again, while teachers, with painful exertion, drill on boring subjects and analyze syllable and accent, they may not neglect that true wisdom, whose beginning is the fear of the Lord and whose precepts demand obe-dience in every circumstance of life.
A wide knowledge should go hand in hand with care for spiritual progress; religion must permeate and direct every branch of knowledge whatever be its nature, and by its sweetness and majesty must make so great an impression on the minds of youth as to be an incite-ment to better things.
Since it has always been the Church's intention that every branch of study be of great service in the reli-gious formation of youth, this particular subject matter not only must have its place, and the principal place at that, but nobody should be entrusted with so important a teaching role who has not first been declared suitable for the purpose in the judgment and by the authority of the Church. (Pope Leo XIII)
Encyclical DIVINI ILLIUS MAGISTRI (On Christian Education), Pope Pius XI, promulgated on 31 December 1929
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.
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. There is no need to repeat what Our Predecessors have declared on this point, especially Pius IX and Leo XIII, at times when laicism was beginning in a special manner to infest the public school. We renew and confirm their declarations, as well as the Sacred Canons in which the frequenting of non-Catholic schools, whether neutral or mixed, those namely which are open to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, is forbidden for Catholic children, and can be at most tolerated, on the approval of the Ordinary alone, under determined circumstances of place and time, and with special precautions.
Neither can Catholics admit that other type of mixed school, (least of all the so-called "ecole unique," obligatory on all), in which the students are provided with separate religious instruction, but receive other lessons in common with non-Catholic pupils from non-Catholic teachers.
For the mere fact that a school gives some religious instruction (often extremely stinted), does not bring it into accord with the rights of the Church and of the Christian family, or make it a fit place for Catholic students. To be this, it is necessary that all the teaching and the whole organization of the school, and its teachers, syllabus and text-books in every branch, be regulated by the Christian spirit, under the direction and maternal supervision of the Church; so that Religion may be in very truth the foundation and crown of the youth's entire training; and this in every grade of school, not only the elementary, but the intermediate and the higher institutions of learning as well. To use the words of Leo XIII: It is necessary not only that religious instruction be given to the young at certain fixed times, but also that every other subject taught, be permeated with Christian piety. If this is wanting, if this sacred atmosphere does not pervade and warm the hearts of masters and scholars alike, little good can be expected from any kind of learning, and considerable harm will often be the consequence.
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.
...Therefore it is the duty of parents to make every effort to prevent any invasion of their rights in this matter, and to make absolutely sure that the education of their children remain under their own control in keeping with their Christian duty, and above all to refuse to send them to those schools in which there is danger of imbibing the deadly poison of impiety.
This incontestable right of the family has at various times been recognized by nations anxious to respect the natural law in their civil enactments. Thus, to give one recent example, the Supreme Court of the United States of America, in a decision on an important controversy, declared that it is not in the competence of the State to fix any uniform standard of education by forcing children to receive instruction exclusively in public schools, and it bases its decision on the natural law: the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right coupled with the high duty, to educate him and prepare him for the fulfillment of his obligations.
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.
...the teacher, whether public or private, has no absolute right of his own, but only such as has been communicated to him by others. Besides every Christian child or youth has a strict right to instruction in harmony with the teaching of the Church, the pillar and ground of truth.
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. Such, generally speaking, are those modern systems bearing various names which appeal to a pretended self-government and unrestrained freedom on the part of the child, and which diminish or even suppress the teacher's authority and action, attributing to the child an exclusive primacy of initiative, and an activity independent of any higher law, natural or divine, in the work of his education.
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.
Sorry Sink, its been 5 years since I reviewed this stuff.
Rome didn't exactly say it was a mortal sin to send children to public schools, they only said that if parents persisted in doing so they cannot receive absolution in the Sacrament of Penance, which infers it is indeed a sin, one grave enough to have to specifically confess.
But you're probably right, these old documents make them Popes look foolish. We all know the problems with public schools of a century ago have pretty much vanished, and that government schools, since the so closely obey all the things outlined above, are no longer a danger to our kids, and their Catholic faith will always be reinforced, enriched and nourished within the hallowed halls of governmental academia.
But, they can receive absolution, since they do, and have for as long as I've been alive, even in pre-Vatican II days. Catholics don't confess that they send their children to public school, since there is absolutely no sin involved.
It is not a sin, of any kind, to send children to public schools. That is absurd on its face, Brian.
Really? What has transpired to abbrogate all the sound principles above? Have public schools miraculously ceased to be a threat to the Faith?
(You know I'm just playing devil's advocate, Sink. I don't think its always sinful to send children to public schools, but sometimes it still is. Each parent should at least be familiar with all the principles outlined here before making such a choice.)
48. Catholics may approve of the system of educating youth unconnected with Catholic faith and the power of the Church, and which regards the knowledge of merely natural things, and only, or at least primarily, the ends of earthly social life.Ibid.
For the mere fact that a school gives some religious instruction (often extremely stinted), does not bring it into accord with the rights of the Church and of the Christian family, or make it a fit place for Catholic students. To be this, it is necessary that all the teaching and the whole organization of the school, and its teachers, syllabus and text-books in every branch, be regulated by the Christian spirit, under the direction and maternal supervision of the Church;
Indeed. Some Southern Baptists are sounding more Catholic than the Catholics. There is a movemen to resolve that Baptists should remove their children from the state schools.
Not a nut who is running this up the flag pole, either.
He has a Harvard degree
Is this the correct wording, gbcdoj?
If so, I'm confused. How is Pius IX in agreement with Pius XI?
How fascinating that the instruction of Pope Bl. Pius IX intending one thing in one era would now be so salutary and beneficial in ours. This kind of wisdom and evidence of prophetic instruction should be reported to those in Rome evaluating his Cause. This is very helpful and striking.
6. The faith of Christ is in opposition to human reason and divine revelation not only is not useful, but is even hurtful to the perfection of man.Ibid.