…In Particular…

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This section taken from the last long quotation from Orestes Brownson, from around 1870, is striking:

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.

These “more respectable Protestants” have, with few exceptions, completely caved to the ‘ism-itis’ mocked by Brownson above. You want to see the fruits of an unbridled embrace of faddish isms? Check out your local Episcopalian or Methodist church. With, of course, some few exceptions.

A related quotation. Note that his use of ‘pastor’ and ‘parish’ is more after the English usage, and does not refer here to Catholics in particular, as the context makes clear:

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. (of his collected works?)

Finally, here he is, as timeless as Chesterton:

The great misery of society is in the fact that the people do not and cannot discriminate, and are carried away by half-truths, or by some particular phase of truth.  The human mind never does or can embrace pure, unmixed falsehood, and it is the true mingled with the false, or truth misapprehended, misapplied, or perverted, that gives currency to error and renders it dangerous.  It was the mingling of the true and the false in regard to religion that gave to the so-called Reformation its destructive power, and it is the mingling of the true and the false in regard to education that vitiates the popular theories of its necessity or utility in developing and sustaining the virtue of the people.

BQR January, 1874

Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

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