« PreviousContinue »
diminish the ordinary charge for instructing the children of the poor. Such normal schools-for why should the number be confined to one? -will give a most powerful impetus to education, and confer inestimable benefits upon the population of Great Britain"."
It is worthy of observation that, in cases where circumstances should seem to warrant it, this plan contemplates in fact the establishment in each locality of a religious house, similar to the houses which the Jesuits formerly established, likewise for the ostensible purpose of education, in all parts of the world, a number of "brothers" dwelling together; while in cases where there is not room for such an institution, it is intended that the "religious" brother should take up his abode with the priest; an arrangement which we find elsewhere taken for granted, as the only alternative, if the teachers do not occupy a separate house, and which is in perfect keeping with the strictly hierarchal character of the entire scheme. No less remarkable are the provisions respecting the selection of the individuals to be put in training, specified in a form of "letter to candidates for the normal schools." A series of questions is proposed to the candidate, to which he is to return answers in writing. The last of these questions runs as follows:
"Are you aware of any cause which is likely to prevent you from devoting yourself in religion to the training of masters for poor schools, and is it your desire so to devote yourself"?"
To the whole of the questions the following directions are appended :
"It will be desirable for you to have your answers to the above questions attested by the signature of your spiritual director, or some other priest well acquainted with you.
"If your papers are considered satisfactory, they will be submitted to the bishops for their decision respecting your appointment'."
To complete this picture of the strictly hierarchical character of the education movement in the Romish Church, we add a specimen of the tone in which the bishops issue their orders for levying contributions in furtherance of the object. In their "Joint Pastoral Letter," issued at York, on the 15th of February, 1848, the Vicars Apostolic say:
"We hereby direct that a collection be made in every Catholic church and chapel throughout England and Wales, on such Sunday of the ensuing summer as shall be by each of us subsequently appointed,
Report, pp. 19, 20.
9 Catholic School, No. III. p. 42.
8 Catholic School, No. II. P. 22.
for the educating of the children of the Catholic poor. All individual subscriptions and congregational collections are to be transmitted by the clergy to the Catholic Poor-School Committee established by us."
The "Joint Pastoral" was followed up by separate pastorals from the individual bishops; and the Report alludes to the whole proceeding in the following terms :
"A general collection made in every Catholic church in England and Wales, and enforced upon clergy and laity both by a joint pastoral from the whole Episcopal bench, and by distinct letters from various bishops, forms an epoch in the history of English Catholic charities3."
Such is the organisation set on foot by the Roman Catholics with a view to secure for the propagation of their own creed, by means of education, a share of the parliamentary grant annually voted in furtherance of the last-named object:-a Central Committee, consisting of nominees of the Vicars Apostolic, and acting under their superintendence and control, through whose hands all the transactions with the Committee of Council must pass; a clerical nominee of the Vicars Apostolic, as the organ of communication between the Central Committee and the promoters of Romish education in the different localities; local committees of school managers, appointed by the priest, acting under his control, and virtually represented by him in their communications with the Central Committee; local funds vested in the priest or his nominee, and a general fund, levied by collections "enforced" upon the clergy and laity, and vested in the Central Committee, nominated by the Vicars Apostolic; and a body of teachers admitted as candidates for training upon the certificates of their Spiritual Directors, countersigned by the Bishops, trained in conventual schools, and on entering upon the active duties of their office lodged either in religious houses, or, in the case of single male teachers, under the same roof with the priest. That under such arrangements as these, the schools will be completely under the control of the Romish hierarchy, it is impossible to deny; and it would be no less ridiculous to doubt that they are intended to be used as instruments for the spread of popish superstition, in a spirit of propagandism. Still, for the satisfaction of those who are unwilling to believe that the zeal for education suddenly awakened among the Romanists in this country, is closely connected with the general scheme for the "conversion" of England, and that the education to be imparted in the proposed schools will be subservient to more than one strictly popish object, some additional evidence of the designs entertained by the Romanists,
2 Report, p. 32.
3 Report, pp. 22, 23.
as disclosed in the publications before us, may not be altogether superfluous.
Among other purposes which these schools are intended to answer, is the training up of choirs for the more effectual and attractive singing of the mass. On this point Dr. Wiseman has honoured the Editor of The Catholic School with a communication in which the object in question is avowed without disguise :—
"By teaching all the boys music, we prepare the germs of good church choirs, and may indeed supply all our choirs with singers, available on holydays as well as Sundays, who can sing good plain churchmusic by note. And for congregational singing at vespers, benediction, and even mass, we should have a body of fresh, well-trained voices, which it would be a happiness to hear echoing through the house of God, instead of the languid and timid way of the few which now form all that we can call congregational music. Any one who has heard the school singing at mass in Cologne cathedral, or the congregational singing in any German church, will feel the weight of this motive. There is no choral music that can compare with it for devotional effect*."
The Mariolatry of the Romish church is to constitute a prominent and distinctive feature of the education imparted in the schools. At the very outset of the entire movement the Vicars Apostolic accompany their announcement of the constitution of the "Catholic Poor-School Committee" with the following intimation:
"We gladly avail ourselves of this opportunity to announce to all our beloved brethren and children in Jesus Christ, that we confidently place this holy work of the religious education of the children of the poor under the special patronage of the blessed mother of God; and we respectfully suggest to the gentlemen of our new Committee that they adopt this for their motto, Mater admirabilis, monstra te esse matrem nostram. Under this all-powerful patronage, we confidently trust that the good work will go on and prosper.'
The recommendation so given was not lost upon the Committee. After congratulating themselves on their success, in their Report, the Committee distinctly ascribe it to the fact of their being "under the special patronage of our Blessed Lady"." And in the course of their proceedings we meet with the following resolutions :
"Resolved-That all schools built or supported with assistance from this Committee be invited to place themselves under the special patronage of Our Blessed Lady; and that to every school adopting
Catholic School, No, IV. p. 51. • Report, p. 5.
5 Report, p. 30,
this recommendation, a present be made of a figure of Our Lady, to be prepared for that purpose.
"Resolved-That it be recommended to all schools, where it may be practicable, to introduce in the principal room a recess to be appropriated to religious services, e. g. for a temporary altar during the month of Mary, the Rosary on Sunday evenings, &c. &c"."
Subsequently a notice occurs, that the "images" to be set the schools are ready for delivery :
"An IMAGE of our Blessed Lady, about 2 ft. 2 in. in height, is ready for presentation to schools, on the condition stated in page 15. A larger figure, for the same purpose, is in preparation by a talented Catholic artist "."
And of the intent with which the introduction of this most obnoxious feature of the Romish system into the schools is insisted on by the Vicars Apostolic, the following remarkable account. is given by the Committee :
"The Committee have undertaken to present every school aided by them, and placed by its managers under the patronage of our Blessed Lady, with a beautiful image of the Madonna. This image has been universally admired, and will, it is hoped, increase the devotional element in the schools which have applied for it. At a time when our schools are newly admitted to privileges shared alike by professors of various religions, it is right openly to avow that Catholics, while they cherish love towards all men, yet can never in the education of their children abandon or conceal the distinctive truths of the faith. Of this determination the Committee's Madonna is a very appropriate symbol. Aided or unaided by earthly governments, Catholics will not shrink from avowing their confidence in the help of the Queen of Saints"."
With this determination, to give a distinctively popish character to their schools, the Vicars Apostolic do not, however, confine their views to the children of the poor of their own communion. To make provision for them is, indeed, the primary, and the ostensible object; we are told that "within twenty years from the present time," the Committee expect "every mission in England" to be "provided with that essential element in the success of all missionary labours, a good school';" and for the achievement of this purpose the Committee intimate that they intend to "ask the Committee of Privy Council not barely for a just proportion of the grant for 1848, but for a sum of money proportionate to existing wants, and compensatory of previous wrongs.
7 Catholic School, No. I. p. 15.
2 Report, P.
8 Catholic School, No. III. p. 48. 1 Catholic School, No. I. p. 6.
The sums taken from the British treasury are thus to be considered in the familiar light of "instalments" of an enormous debt alleged to be owing from Great Britain to popery; and in return it is proposed to extend to the whole country the blessing, such as it is, of popish education.
"Catholics have every thing to gain by the instruction of the poor. A very large proportion of the lower orders in the most populous places-it might almost be said, all the lower orders who profess any religion whatever-are Catholics; and education, as it spreads among the poor, will confer temporal and eternal blessings upon thousands now so grievously neglected, and in blessing them will elevate and strengthen all united with them in the same holy faith. Nor will our own poor alone, though we are bound to consider them in the first place, be the gainers. It is now commonly allowed, even by persons whose opinions force them to explain away the fact, that the Catholic religion alone is qualified to influence the masses. What these masses now are, it is beside the purpose to describe. Suffice it to say, that
the education of the Catholic Church, and not one or all of the many devices which have been tried, or may be tried, can, and, as far as that education is diffused, will, convert these masses into useful citizens, loyal subjects, and good men
On this subject the address of the Poor-School Committee of March, 1848, already referred to, is particularly eloquent, fortified as it is by the testimony of no less a personage than the brother of the secretary of the Committee of Council. The passage, though somewhat lengthy, is too instructive, as to the opinions and views entertained in certain quarters, to be omitted or curtailed:
"The one great obstacle to the conversion of our beloved country is neglect of the poor children. Persons, whose position gives authority to their opinion on such a point, do not scruple to assert, that through want of means of educating her children, the Church loses as many souls as she gains by the conversion of adults. Will Catholics for another year tolerate a state of affairs so heartrending, so awful? When the facts are set before them, can they tolerate it? Can they allow that glorious event, for which they daily pray with such ardour, to be indefinitely postponed, rather than contribute abundantly, one and all, according to their means, towards the establishment and support of educational institutions calculated to confer countless blessings, now and hereafter, upon themselves, their children, and their country? Surely, as Christians, they can give but one reply. They will do their duty liberally.
"But as Englishmen, they are no less bound to extend in every
Report, pp. 13, 14.
VOL. XI.— NO. XXII.-JUNE, 1849.