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Taking, then, ex-Speaker Blaine's proposed amendment, and the President's general suggestions together, it seems by no means improbable that they will give a new impetus to the discussion of the principles, political and religious, that are involved in the School question. The editorials of newspapers, the numerous letters of correspondents, and the conflicting sentiments expressed by different persons, show that the discussion has already begun with renewed earnestness. Precisely what shape the question will take, and to what extent and in what manner it may be allied, if at all, with the policy and movements of political parties, especially in the approaching Presidential election, is a point not now determinable with any certainty; yet it would not be at all surprising if the Republican party should think it expedient to court, and, if possible, make an issue with the Democracy on this subject. The Democratic party depends largely upon Catholic votes for its hopes of success; and it is well known that the attack upon our public school system, and the clamor for a division of school funds, come mainly from Catholics. They, of course, will not be likely to look with favor upon Mr. Blaine's amendment, or upon the views of the President; and, hence, the difficult problem for the managers of the Democratic party to solve is to decide what shall be its attitude on this subject. Shall they accept or oppose the amendment proposed by Mr. Blaine ?

With such an issue, if made, as a mere matter of party strategy between Republicans and Democrats, we have no concern. Yet the great principles which are involved in the question, and which in their various applications bring to the surface the whole subject of Church and State, civil government and religion, in their relations to each other, are matters of the very deepest interest. Some years since the attention of the public was strongly called to this subject, by the action of the Board of Education at Cincinnati. At that time the author of this article expressed his views on the question in a series of communications published in The Independent. He proposes now to renew the discussion in another series, regarding himself as at liberty to make any use which he thinks proper of the published results of previous labors. The present seems an opportune moment for asking the people to think upon a question which, if ever settled rightly and finally, must be settled in accordance with the principles that lie at the foundation of our political system.



The Roman Catholics of this country, considered as a class, and especially as represented by their clergy and their religious journalists, are by no

means pleased with our American public school system as an instrumentality for the education of their children. It is not what they want, or what they would make it, if they had the power. Justice to them demands that we should correctly understand and fairly state the grounds upon which they base their dislike of this system.

First of all, we should remember that, in the view of Catholics, no educational system applied to children is or can be right, whatever it may be in its secular character, that is not also distinctively religious. The secular without the religious element gives a "godless" and atheistic education; and, hence, a school organized on this principle is a "godless school," periling the soul while attending to the comparatively insignificant knowledge that relates purely to the interests of time. It is far more important that children should learn to pray and worship God, and be instructed in the tenets of religion, than that they should learn the multiplication table, or how to read and write, or to speak the English language correctly. No Christian certainly will make any issue with the Catholics as to the importance of a religious education: it is not possible to overstate this importance, or evince too much zeal in regard to it; and yet, whether they are right in denouncing every school system that does not meet this specific demand, is quite another question. A system may be very good for some purposes, and for this reason deserve to be sup

ported, while it may not comprehend all desirable ends.

The next thing to be borne in mind is that, when the Catholic speaks of a religious education, he means an education after the specific type of his own faith. He means Catholicism in its tenets, ceremonies, usages, and forms of worship. Give him this in the public school, and not another word of complaint will be heard from either priest or layman to the end of time. Put into the school religion after the Protestant model, in either its character or its tendencies, and this for his children is the next thing to a "godless" school, if not quite as bad, since it teaches them "damnable heresies." The danger is that it will make them Protestants, or prevent them from being Catholics, and in either event ruin their souls. The reading of King James's version of the Sacred Scriptures, opening the public school by prayer, and singing a religious hymn will not satisfy the Catholic, for two reasons: First, as an educational régime it is, in his view, exceedingly defective in quantity, and in this respect he is entirely right; secondly, not being Catholic, but, so far as it is anything, Protestant in its character and tendency, it is still worse in quality. It is no relief to his conscience, and no answer to his objections, to supplement secular with this kind of religious education. Between a purely "godless" school and one that in his estimate is Protestant, he sees very little to choose. Neither

meets the requirements of his faith.

He de

sires to protect his children against the evils of both.

We see nothing strange or mysterious in this general position of the Catholics, if we look at the question as one of ecclesiastical and religious policy. Intense and exclusive ecclesiasticism is both a sentiment and a policy of their Church life-a conviction and a practice thoroughly fostered by their religious teachers. As religionists, they are educated to have no fellowship with Protestants or extend to them any Church recognitions. They are the Church, and there is no other Church upon the earth. Protestants are heretics; and wherever the Catholic creed is fully carried out there heresy is a crime, punishable by the civil power. Moreover, the Catholic clergy seek to make hatred of Protestantism a part of the religion of their people. This they do in order to isolate them as a distinct order of religionists by themselves, and, as far as possible, to make them clannish, and thus guard them against all dangerous contact with Protestant heretics. Their policy is to husband their own resources by taking the best possible care of the religious faith of their own people, and that of their children; and it is but just to say that they are skilful adepts at this business. No Church organism has ever existed that in the unity and singleness of its purpose, and in the persistency of effort with which it is worked, will at all compare with that of the

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