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thrones the 'society' of the Blessed Sacrament. So also Boudoin in his life of Surin mentions the continual visions of the thrones which he had in connection with the Mass.”
We may be very sure that the angels are in attendance upon their Lord in every sanctuary. Numerous as a congregation may be during the celebration of the Divine Mysteries, the unseen assembly is larger still. Nor can all the pomp of vestments and ceremony, of lights and music, of incense and flowers, approach the magnificence of their ritual. Thus do they guard the Fortress of the Faith, even as yonder bronze Michael watches from the apex of Hadrian's mole.
WANTED A NEW TEXT-BOOK.
HE Catholic parochial schools in this country were begun
without any special plan or system, as the wants of the young in a particular spot required, and both course of instruction and the building where the children were gathered were controlled by the means of the congregation which heroically assumed the burden in order to save their children from perversion by direct or indirect proselytism in the schools which the State afforded.
Gradually, however, the Catholic body has become thoroughly imbued with the conviction that the State schools are and will remain thoroughly Protestant in management, in officers, and, to a great extent, in teachers, as well as in general tone, in classbooks and oral instruction ; and such they will remain until the not remote day when Protestantism itself will be made a scoff in them, and with it all revealed religion.
Now, when Catholics complain of any more than usually gross outrage on their feelings in the public schools, Protestant ministers and fanatics from their flocks rush forward with as much zeal as though their churches, their publishing houses of denominational books and papers were in jeopardy. Their very action is in itself a proof that a large part of the people regard the public schools as part of the Protestant system to be upheld at all hazards. Recent events in Philadelphia and Boston show this clearly. Catholics accept the position in which providence has placed them, and, to avoid a perpetual and useless strife, have made the erection of parochial schools general. This has not been accomplished without immense sacrifice and self-devotion, for, at this time, they have more than 2600 parochial schools, and considerably more than half a million of pupils under instruction. And the work is going on, and will go on; for, immense as the work already accomplished appears, there are not half as many parochial schools in the United States as there are churches. When the numbers of schools and of churches become equal, our parochial schools will contain far more than a million of pupils.
1 Placed there to commemorate the apparition of this Archangel during a grand penitential procession ordered by Pope Gregory the Great, in 593, in order to obtain relief from the plague.
We have a Bureau of Education at Washington, which prints reports on schools all over the world, but has never yet discovered that there is a single Catholic parochial school in the country. Not a report has ever been made on our Catholic parochial school system, and to their shame the officials of that bureau have never honestly investigated the subject or laid before the American people what there is in the system generally adopted by the States for schools that makes them so prejudicial to Catholics, that sooner than avail themselves of the advantages these schools offer, members of this large Christian body, numbering at least one-sixth of the whole population of the United States, have gone to the expense of erecting their own schools, and maintaining them at a heavy annual outlay.
The objections of Catholics cannot be slight or trivial, to nerve them to such sacrifices, and it is no credit to our State governments that they maintain so stubbornly, and in such a sectarian spirit, a system repugnant to the religious convictions of one-sixth of the population of the country.
But the Catholic system of parochial schools must go on, and their number and extent have called for organization and a well considered method of instruction. The organization of a school board in every diocese, begun in Indiana, has become general. Improved school-books and proper grading of studies will be one of the immediate results of this step, and, though at first the attempts to introduce harmony and order may seem weak and illdirected in some places, yet, on the whole, the operation has been beneficial, and has infused a new spirit into the whole body of teachers engaged. They feel that they are no longer isolated, each one left to individual plans and resources, the ablest and most intelligent teachers, who have given years of study to the cause of education, uncertain whether the fabric they have labored to build may not be swept away at any moment by a change of those in charge of the school. Now each school feels that it is part of a great whole, and has an emulation to carry out the improvements suggested as completely and thoroughly as possible.
No general system has been adopted, or even recommended, for the whole country; and it is premature to expect it. That must result from a more extended experience than has yet been possible.
The parochial schools will naturally attempt to copy the courses of instruction in the State schools, and parents will often object that some study pursued in the public schools is not taught in the parochial schools. The great difficulty in the former is that they have multiplied branches of study beyond all reason, and, while attempting to teach a variety of matters, often neglect those most essential to every child, the very rudiments of education.
Children come from these schools, able to answer a few textbook questions on almost every subject treated in a cyclopædia, who cannot spell correctly, write legibly or grammatically, who cannot frame a proper letter, or test the accuracy of a bill brought to their parents' door. When they go to any trade or business, they must forget what they were taught in school, and set to work to learn what they ought to have been taught, and what is essential to their success in life.
The religious training in our parochial schools will be looked after, and, under the present supervision, is likely to be thorough and solid. The object of the schools is to make the pupils Christian and Catholic. Next to that the aim should be to imbue them with such principles as will make them good and useful citizens in after life. A love of country, attachment to our national and State system of government, genuine patriotism, cannot be too deeply impressed. In other days it was a main feature in alt schools to inculcate this. Now this point is generally neglected, and, as it is not a striking feature in public school education, may be overlooked in our Catholic schools. Formerly the Constitution of the United States and of the State were learned by heart by pupils in all schools, and explained. Now very few who attend the public schools ever read them or are able to answer a question intelligently about our government. Few, comparatively, could tell correctly how the President is elected, how the members of the two houses of Congress are chosen ; what matters are controlled by the general government.
Occasionally, a great public agitation arises, and children pick up some ideas in regard to a particular point. This year, for instance, many boys have gathered some ideas about the tariff; they know what the word means, and how duties are laid on goods coming into the country, and they know that two great parties are contending about high duties and low duties, protection and revenue reform. The boys, however, did not learn all this at school, where it should have been taught, but they glean the information from newspapers, with all the sophistries with which partisan political writers and speakers endeavor to make the worse appear the better cause. So it is about the rights of a citizen, capital and labor, property and taxation. The young, not imbued with correct ideas in school, go through life with vague and confused notions, and, when they grow up, are easily made the dupes of any demagogue. Surely these are more important than the drawing of patterns for oil-cloth and the like, branches that few children ever have occasion to employ or discuss, but which are not only assiduously taught, but are even made the test for grading a pupil who enters a school. The absurdity has gone so far in some cases,
that we expect to hear of some school where the boy who can stand longest on his head is placed in the highest class, and the unfortunate wight who cannot reverse his natural position long enough is thrust into the lowest class, although he may be perfect in reading, writing, grammar and arithmetic, such antiquated branches counting for nothing under the high intellectual organization of our day.
In Canada they have apparently seen the necessity of political instruction sooner than we have, and a well-prepared manual is in the hands of young and old. There is an opportunity and necessity for such a book here, and it would be of great service in our schools. The manual should embrace the Constitution of the United States and of the State where the school is; and such questions and answers as would lead pupils to know our system of government, its advantages, and give intelligent information on the points which they have discussed, especially those as to which evilminded men are disseminating false ideas.
The want of our school plans to convey information, or make a topic intelligible, is seen in the method of teaching geography, Children have learned more about the different countries of the world, their sovereigns, their coinage, and our modes of intercourse with them by collecting postage-stamps, than they have by all the geography lessons in the schools. This is but one of many instances tending to show how children feel the deficiency of school methods, and go to work to acquire information where school training has been of but little aid.
If our parochial schools are to become great and thoroughly useful institutions to the country, the end will not be attained by servilely copying the methods of the public schools, which are vastly overrated, and have become part of a complex machinery, where the real advantage of the pupil as a Christian and a citizen, in most cases to be sent early into the battle of life to win a livelihood, is but little regarded.
We have spoken of the necessity of imparting sound knowledge
of our political condition, the rights and duties of citizens, the meaning of words like tariff, protection, labor, and the like, simply on the general merits of the question; but there is, in our case as Catholics, an additional reason why this should be treated in our schools. From time to time, generally in some hot-bed of anarchy and rationalism, the charge is made by some scheming knave that the Catholic body is merely a foreign element, with no real interest in the country or attachment to its institutions. It will be the best answer to this calumny to point to our schools, where the quarter of a million children, who are annually added to our body by birth, are in a few years trained in what will serve to aid them to earn a livelihood, and to know and love their native land, and to know and prize zealously their rights as American citizens, and be able to understand what public questions are really about.
In higher academies and colleges, where ethics are taught, this political course can be more ample, but it is a mistake to think that the boy, or even the girl, who at fifteen leaves the school to begin a life-long struggle for success or existence, has no need of such knowledge. It will be found that the short time needed to impart the information will be thus far more profitably employed than in some of the ornamental and utterly useless branches, on which hours, and days, and months are wasted, deadening the intellect of the young, and producing torpidity where they should have stimulated inquiry and guided the judgment.
Questions are discussed and debated in every gathering of young men employed in offices, workshops, and factories. Their ideas are often crude and false from the want of proper guidance and information, but they are thinking and reasoning; and if those who assume to direct their education fail to equip them for the discussion of such questions, the blame, when they are led away by the sophistries, pretended facts, and false reasoning of demagogues, ought not to rest solely on them, but must, to some extent, fall on their early guides.
Inspired with a love for the country and its institutions, with the doctrines of the true faith applied to guide them in discerning right from wrong, the pupils of our parochial schools will become the soundest and purest element in the population, though some will yield to the temptations which in our days environ the young on
The field open to our parochial schools is one to arouse and stimulate the zeal of the whole Catholic body. The rapid progress of our schools in every department has already attracted attention. A denominational paper began this year to give an account of visits to parochial schools, and investigation into their management and