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Reflections: Catholic Life Section (Education)

The Holy Family

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Reflections: 

Catholic Life Section:

Education

Wisdom of the Popes, Saints, Theologians, Other...

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Against a Purely Secular Education

Against Co-Education

Against Sex-Education for Youths (Outside the Home)

Choice of Schools

Each Child Has a Right to an Education in Harmony With Church Teaching

Homeschooling

Papal Complaint Regarding American Schools

Parental Responsibility for Catholic Education

Parents' Right to Educate Their Children

What is Learned Early is Hard to Eradicate From the Mind

Misc.

Also See: Classic Encyclicals: Education

 

Category
Quotation

Against a Purely Secular Education

Also See: Homeschooling (Topic Page)

"Truly barren is a secular education. It is always in labor, but never gives birth." (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

"To exclude the Church, founded by God Himself, from public life, from making laws, from the education of youth, from domestic society, is a grave and pernicious error." (Pope Leo XIII)

"When religion is banished from the school, from education and from public life, when the representatives of Christianity and its sacred rites are held up to ridicule, are we not really fostering the materialism which is the fertile soil of Communism?" (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris")

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors: "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." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, This proposition was condemned in the Syllabus of Errors, Dec. 8, 1864 A.D.) 

"In educating the young it is not sufficient that religious instruction be given to them at fixed times; it is necessary also that every other subject that is taught to them be permeated with Christian piety. If this is wanting, little good can be expected from any kind of learning." (Pope Leo XIII)

"The wisdom of our forefathers, and the very foundations of the State, are ruined by the destructive error of those who would have children brought up without religious education. You see, therefore Venerable Brethren, with what earnest forethought parents must beware of entrusting their children to schools in which they cannot receive religious teaching." (Pope Leo XIII, "Spectata Fides", 1885)

"Without religion there can be no moral education deserving of the name, nor of any good, for the very nature and force of all duty comes from those special duties which bind man to God, who commands, forbids, and determines what is good and evil. And so, to be desirous that minds should be imbued with good and at the same time to leave them without religion is as senseless as to invite people to virtue after having taken away the foundations on which it rests." (Pope Leo XIII, "Affari Vos", 1897)

"Obviously the need of this Christian instruction is accentuated by the decline of our times and morals. It is even more demanded by the existence of those public schools, lacking all religion, where everything holy is ridiculed and scorned. There both teachers' lips and students' ears are inclined to godlessness. We are referring to those schools which are unjustly called neutral or lay. In reality, they are nothing more than the stronghold of the powers of darkness." (Pope St. Pius X, "Editae Saepe", 1910 A.D.)

"Since every generation inclines to evil from its youth, and for it to grow accustomed from tender years towards good is the result of work and purpose we rule and order that those in charge of schools, and those who teach young children and youths, ought not only to instruct them in grammar, rhetoric and similar subjects but also to teach those matters which concern religion, such as God's commandments, the articles of the faith, sacred hymns and psalms, and the lives of the saints. On feast days they should limit themselves to teaching what has reference to religion and good habits, and they are obliged to instruct, encourage and compel their pupils in these matters insofar as they can. Thus, let them attend churches not only for masses, but also to listen to vespers and the divine offices, and let them encourage the hearing of instructions and sermons. Let them not teach anything to their pupils that is contrary to good morals or may lead to a lack of reverence." (Fifth Lateran Council)

"It is therefore as important to make no mistake in education, as it is to make no mistake in the pursuit of the last end, with which the whole work of education is intimately and necessarily connected. In fact, since education consists essentially in preparing man for what he must be and for what he must do here below, in order to attain the sublime end for which he was created, it is clear that there can be no true education which is not wholly directed to man's last end, and that in the present order of Providence, since God has revealed Himself to us in the Person of His Only Begotten Son, who alone is "the way, the truth and the life," there can be no ideally perfect education which is not Christian education. From this we see the supreme importance of Christian education, not merely for each individual, but for families and for the whole of human society, whose perfection comes from the perfection of the elements that compose it." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

"But alas! it is clear from the obvious meaning of the words and from experience, that what is intended by not a few, is the withdrawal of education from every sort of dependence on the divine law. So today we see, strange sight indeed, educators and philosophers who spend their lives in searching for a universal moral code of education, as if there existed no decalogue, no gospel law, no law even of nature stamped by God on the heart of man, promulgated by right reason, and codified in positive revelation by God Himself in the ten commandments. These innovators are wont to refer contemptuously to Christian education as 'heteronomous', 'passive, obsolete', because founded upon the authority of God and His holy law. Such men are miserably deluded in their claim to emancipate, as they say, the child, while in reality they are making him the slave of his own blind pride and of his disorderly affections, which, as a logical consequence of this false system, come to be justified as legitimate demands of a so-called autonomous nature." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

"The proper and immediate end of Christian education is to cooperate with divine grace in forming the true and perfect Christian, that is, to form Christ Himself in those regenerated by Baptism, according to the emphatic expression of the Apostle: 'My little children, of whom I am in labor again, until Christ be formed in you.' For the true Christian must live a supernatural life in Christ: 'Christ who is your life,' and display it in all his actions: 'That the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal flesh.' For precisely this reason, Christian education takes in the whole aggregate of human life, physical and spiritual, intellectual and moral, individual, domestic and social, not with a view of reducing it in any way, but in order to elevate, regulate and perfect it, in accordance with the example and teaching of Christ. Hence the true Christian, product of Christian education, is the supernatural man who thinks, judges and acts constantly and consistently in accordance with right reason illumined by the supernatural light of the example and teaching of Christ" (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

"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 'école 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." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

"Added to all this, God and Jesus Christ, as well as His doctrines, were banished from the school. As a sad but inevitable consequence, the school became not only secular and non-religious but openly atheistical and anti-religious. In such circumstances it was easy to persuade poor ignorant children that neither God nor religion are of any importance as far as their daily lives are concerned. God's name, moreover, was scarcely ever mentioned in such schools unless it were perchance to blaspheme Him or to ridicule His Church. Thus, the school forcibly deprived of the right to teach anything about God or His law could not but fail in its efforts to really educate, that is, to lead children to the practice of virtue, for the school lacked the fundamental principles which underlie the possession of a knowledge of God and the means necessary to strengthen the will in its efforts toward good and in its avoidance of sin. Gone, too, was all possibility of ever laying a solid groundwork for peace, order, and prosperity, either in the family or in social relations. Thus the principles based on the spiritualistic philosophy of Christianity having been obscured or destroyed in the minds of many, a triumphant materialism served to prepare mankind for the propaganda of anarchy and of social hatred which was let loose on such a great scale." (Pope Pius XI, "Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio", 1922)

Also See: Each Child Has a Right to an Education in Harmony With Church Teaching | Papal Complaint Regarding American Schools | Parental Responsibility for Catholic Education | Parents' Right to Educate Their Children | Homeschooling | Separation of Church & State Condemned 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Against Co-Education

"False also and harmful to Christian education is the so-called method of 'coeducation'. This too, by many of its supporters, is founded upon naturalism and the denial of original sin; but by all, upon a deplorable confusion of ideas that mistakes a leveling promiscuity and equality, for the legitimate association of the sexes. The Creator has ordained and disposed perfect union of the sexes only in matrimony, and, with varying degrees of contact, in the family and in society. Besides there is not in nature itself, which fashions the two quite different in organism, in temperament, in abilities, anything to suggest that there can be or ought to be promiscuity, and much less equality, in the training of the two sexes. These, in keeping with the wonderful designs of the Creator, are destined to complement each other in the family and in society, precisely because of their differences, which therefore ought to be maintained and encouraged during their years of formation, with the necessary distinction and corresponding separation, according to age and circumstances. These principles, with due regard to time and place, must, in accordance with Christian prudence, be applied to all schools, particularly in the most delicate and decisive period of formation, that, namely, of adolescence; and in gymnastic exercises and deportment, special care must be had of Christian modesty in young women and girls, which is so gravely impaired by any kind of exhibition in public." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

"It is abundantly clear that readers of [St.] Augustine will not be caught in the toils of that pernicious error, which was widespread during the eighteenth century, namely, that the inborn impulses of the will should neither be feared nor curbed, since all of them are right and sound. From its false principle sprang those educational methods, which We condemned not long ago in Our Encyclical on 'The Christian Education of Youth.' Their effect is to allow a free mingling of the sexes and to employ no precaution in controlling the growing passions of boyhood and youth. From this false principle too comes that license in writing and reading, in presenting or frequenting plays, that do not merely threaten innocence and purity with dangerous occasions, but actually plot their ruin and destruction. From this source again are derived those immodest fashions of dress, which Christian women can never be at too great pains to abolish." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Salutem", 1930)

Also See: Chastity | Modesty/Proper Dress [Pg.] | Virginity | Virtue | What is Learned Early is Hard to Eradicate From the Mind | Fornication | Sinful Desires Forbidden | Sin & Vice [Pg.] | Parental Responsibility for Catholic Education | Parents' Right to Educate Their Children | Homeschooling

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Against Sex-Education for Youths (Outside the Home)

Warning: May contain some graphic language

"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. Such persons grievously err in refusing to recognize the inborn weakness of human nature, and the law of which the Apostle speaks, fighting against the law of the mind; and also in ignoring the experience of facts, from which it is clear that, particularly in young people, evil practices are the effect not so much of ignorance of intellect as of weakness of a will exposed to dangerous occasions, and unsupported by the means of grace." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

"[E]xplicit and premature sex education can never be justified in the name of a prevailing secularized culture. On the contrary, parents must educate their own children to understand and face up to the forces of this culture, so that they may always follow the way of Christ." (Pontifical Council for the Family)

"As we have recalled, this primary task of the family includes the parents' right that their children should not be obliged to attend courses in school on this subject [sex education] which are not in harmony with their religious and moral convictions." (Pontifical Council for the Family)

"In modern times however there are some teachers and educators who too frequently think it their duty to initiate innocent boys and girls into the secrets of human generation in such a way as to offend their sense of shame. But in this matter just temperance and moderation must be used, as Christian modesty demands." (Pope Pius XII, "Sacra Virginitas", 1954)

"[T]he Church is firmly opposed to an often widespread form of imparting sex information dissociated from moral principles. That would merely be an introduction to the experience of pleasure and a stimulus leading to the loss of serenity - while still in the years of innocence - by opening the way to vice." (Pope John Paul II)

"Particularly with regard to preventing Aids, the value of a well-ordered sexuality must be promoted, based on the family. Moreover, it is necessary to correct the opinion put about by information campaigns based on so-called 'safe sex' and spreading protective means (condoms). This position, in itself contrary to morality, also turns out to be fallacious and ends up increasing promiscuity and free sexual activity through a false idea of safety. Objective and scientifically rigorous studies have shown the high percentage of the failure of these means." (Pontifical Council for the Family)

"In some societies today, there are planned and determined attempts to impose premature sex information on children. But, at this stage of development, children are still not capable of fully understanding the value of the affective dimension of sexuality. They cannot understand and control sexual imagery within the proper context of moral principles and, for this reason, they cannot integrate premature sexual information with moral responsibility. Such information tends to shatter their emotional and educational development and to disturb the natural serenity of this period of life. Parents should politely but firmly exclude any attempts to violate children's innocence because such attempts compromise the spiritual, moral and emotional development of growing persons who have a right to their innocence. A further problem arises when children receive premature sex information from the mass media or from their peers who have been led astray or received premature sex education." (Pontifical Council for the Family)

"[Question:] Can the method be approved, which is called 'sexual education,' or even 'sexual initiation?' Response: In the negative, and that the method must be preserved entirely as set forth up to the present by the Church and saintly men, and recommended by the Most Holy Father in the Encyclical Letter, 'On the Christian Education of Youth,' given on the 31st day of December, 1929. Naturally, care must especially be taken that a full and solid religious instruction be given to the youth of both sexes without interruption; in this instruction there must be aroused a regard, desire, and love for the angelic virtue; and especially must it be inculcated upon them to insist on prayer, to be constant in the sacraments of penance and the most Holy Eucharist, to be devoted to the Blessed Virgin, Mother of holy purity, with filial devotion and to commit themselves wholly to her protection; to avoid carefully dangerous reading, obscene plays, association with the wicked, and all occasions of sin. By no means, then, can we approve what has been written and published in defense of the new method especially in these recent times, even on the part of some Catholic authors." (Decree of the Holy Office, March 21, 1931 A.D.)

"Today parents should be attentive to ways in which an immoral education can be passed on to their children through various methods promoted by groups with positions and interests contrary to Christian morality. It would be impossible to indicate all unacceptable methods. Here are presented only some of the more widely diffused methods that threaten the rights of parents and the moral life of their children. In the first place, parents must reject secularized and anti-natalist sex education, which puts God at the margin of life and regards the birth of a child as a threat. This sex education is spread by large organizations and international associations that promote abortion, sterilization and contraception. These organizations want to impose a false lifestyle against the truth of human sexuality. Working at national or state levels, these organizations try to arouse the fear of the 'threat of over-population' among children and young people to promote the contraceptive mentality, that is, the 'anti-life' mentality. They spread false ideas about the 'reproductive health' and 'sexual and reproductive rights' of young people. Furthermore, some antinatalist organizations maintain those clinics which, violating the rights of parents, provide abortion and contraception for young people, thus promoting promiscuity and consequently an increase in teenage pregnancies. 'As we look towards the year 2000, how can we fail to think of the young? What is being held up to them? A society of 'things' and not of 'persons'. The right to do as they will from their earliest years, without any constraint, provided it is 'safe'. The unreserved gift of self, mastery of one's instincts, the sense of responsibility - these are notions considered as belonging to another age.' ... In some societies professional associations of sex-educators, sex-counselors and sex-therapists are operating. Because their work is often based on unsound theories, lacking scientific value and closed to an authentic anthropology, theories that do not recognize the true value of chastity, parents should regard such associations with great caution, no matter what official recognition they may have received. When their outlook is out of harmony with the teachings of the Church, this is evident not only in their work, but also in their publications which are widely diffused in various countries.. Another abuse occurs whenever sex education is given to children by teaching them all the intimate details of genital relationships, even in a graphic way. Today this is often motivated by wanting to provide education for 'safe sex', above all in relation to the spread of Aids. In this situation, parents must also reject the promotion of so-called 'safe sex' or 'safer sex', a dangerous and immoral policy based on the deluded theory that [a device] can provide adequate protection against Aids. Parents must insist on continence outside marriage and fidelity in marriage as the only true and secure education for the prevention of this contagious disease. One widely-used, but possibly harmful, approach goes by the name of 'values clarification'. Young people are encouraged to reflect upon, to clarify and to decide upon moral issues with the greatest degree of 'autonomy', ignoring the objective reality of the moral law in general and disregarding the formation of consciences on the specific Christian moral precepts, as affirmed by the Magisterium of the Church. Young people are given the idea that a moral code is something which they create themselves, as if man were the source and norm of morality. However, the values clarification method impedes the true freedom and autonomy of young people at an insecure stage of their development. In practice, not only is the opinion of the majority favored, but complex moral situations are put before young people, far removed from the normal moral choices they face each day, in which good or evil are easily recognizable. This unacceptable method tends to be closely linked with moral relativism, and thus encourages indifference to moral law and permissiveness. Parents should also be attentive to ways in which sexual instruction can be inserted in the context of other subjects which are otherwise useful (for example, health and hygiene, personal development, family life, children's literature, social and cultural studies etc.). In these situations it is more difficult to control the content of sexual instruction. This method of inclusion is used in particular by those who promote sex instruction within the perspective of birth control or in countries where the government does not respect the rights of parents in this field. But catechesis would also be distorted if the inseparable links between religion and morality were to be used as a pretext for introducing into religious instruction the biological and affective sexual information which the parents should give according to their prudent decision in their own home. Finally, as a general guide-line, one needs to bear in mind, that all the different methods of sexual education should be judged by parents in the light of the principles and moral norms of the Church, which express human values in daily life. The negative effects which various methods can produce in the personality of children and young people should also be taken into account." (Pontifical Council for the Family)

Also See: Each Child Has a Right to an Education in Harmony With Church Teaching | Sin & Vice [Pg.] | Chastity | Virginity | Against Co-Education | Parental Responsibility for Catholic Education | Parents' Right to Educate Their Children | Homeschooling | What is Learned Early is Hard to Eradicate From the Mind | Fornication | Sinful Desires Forbidden

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

Top | Reflectns.: A-Z | Catg. | Scripture: A-Z | Catg. | Help

Choice of Schools

Also See: Homeschooling (Topic Page)

"Christian parents especially should not entrust the education of their children to uncertain schools." (Pope Leo XIII, "Custodi Di Quella Fede", 1892)

"Can. 1374 Catholic children should not frequent non-Catholic, neutral, or mixed schools, namely those that allow non-Catholics to attend. Only local Ordinaries can make decisions in accord with instructive norms from the Apostolic See concerning circumstances of things and any necessary precautions that will prevent the danger of perversion, [and] whether these things can be tolerated and such schools used." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1366 Parents, or those who take the place of parents, who hand over their children to be baptized or educated in a non-Catholic religion are to be punished with a censure or other just penalty." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"For our children cannot go for instruction to schools which either ignore or of set purpose combat the Catholic religion, or in which its teachings are despised and its fundamental principles repudiated. Wherever the Church has allowed this to be done, it has only been with pain and through necessity, at the same time surrounding her children with many safeguards which, nevertheless it has been too often recognized have been insufficient to cope successfully with the danger attending it. Similarly it is necessary to avoid at all costs, as most dangerous, those schools in which all beliefs are welcomed and treated as equal, as if, in what regards God and divine things, it makes no difference whether one believes rightly or wrongly, and takes up with truth or error. You know well, Venerable Brethren, that every school of this kind has been condemned by the Church, because nothing can be more harmful or better calculated to ruin the integrity of the faith and to turn aside the tender minds of the young from the way of truth." (Pope Leo XIII, "Affari Vos", 1897)

"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 'école 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 textbooks 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." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

Also See: Parental Responsibility for Catholic Education | Each Child Has a Right to an Education in Harmony With Church Teaching | Against a Purely Secular Education | Papal Complaint Regarding American Schools | Against Co-Education | Associating with Catholics | Parents' Right to Educate Their Children | Homeschooling

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Each Child Has a Right to an Education in Harmony With Church Teaching 

"[E]very Christian child or youth has a strict right to instruction in harmony with the teaching of the Church, the pillar and ground of truth. And whoever disturbs the pupil's Faith in any way, does him grave wrong, inasmuch as he abuses the trust which children place in their teachers, and takes unfair advantage of their inexperience and of their natural craving for unrestrained liberty, at once illusory and false." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

Also See: Against a Purely Secular Education | Against Sex-Education for Youths (Outside the Home) | Papal Complaint Regarding American Schools | Choice of Schools | Parental Responsibility for Catholic Education | Parents' Right to Educate Their Children | Homeschooling

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Home-

schooling

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Also See: Homeschooling (Topic Page)

"Almost always, home taught children test several years of classroom-taught contemporaries... The most important result of home schooling, however, is that students learn the doctrines of the Catholic Faith....Most families find that home-taught children are not only better educated but also happier. They avoid the petty cruelties of the playground and the peer-group stratification that are routine at any school. They remain normal children while others their age are being turned into pathetic mainstream teenagers at the local junior high. No skeptical amateurs tamper with either their religious beliefs or their psychological attitudes. Their self-confidence is bolstered by the assurance that their parents love them enough to give them years of genuinely 'quality' time." (Steichen)

Also See: Parental Responsibility for Catholic Education | Parents' Right to Educate Their Children | Each Child Has a Right to an Education in Harmony With Church Teaching | Against Sex-Education for Youths (Outside the Home) | Women's Work in the Home | Against a Purely Secular Education | Family / Families | Parents / Parenting

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Papal Complaint Regarding American Schools

"We raise Our voice in strong, albeit paternal, complaint that in so many schools of your land Christ often is despised or ignored, the explanation of the universe and mankind is forced within the narrow limits of materialism or of rationalism, and new educational systems are sought after which cannot but produce a sorrowful harvest in the intellectual and moral life of the nation." (Pope Pius XII, "Sertum Laetitiae", 1939) 

Also See: Separation of Church & State Condemned | Against a Purely Secular Education | Each Child Has a Right to an Education in Harmony With Church Teaching | Choice of Schools | Against Co-Education | Against Sex-Education for Youths (Outside the Home) | Parental Responsibility for Catholic Education | Parents' Right to Educate Their Children | Homeschooling

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Parental Responsibility for Catholic Education

Also See: Homeschooling (Topic Page)

"Can. 798 Parents are to send their children to those schools which will provide for their Catholic education. If they cannot do this, they are bound to ensure the proper Catholic education of their children outside the school." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1113 Parents are bound by the most grave obligation to take care as far as they are able for the education of children, both religious and moral, as well as physical and civil, and of providing them with [proper] temporal goods." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life; it is original and primary with regard to the educational role of others, on account of the uniqueness of the loving relationship between parents and children; and it is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others" (Pope John Paul II)

"Can. 226 §1 Those who are married are bound by the special obligation, in accordance with their own vocation, to strive for the building up of the people of God through their marriage and family. §2 Because they gave life to their children, parents have the most serious obligation and the right to educate them. It is therefore primarily the responsibility of Christian parents to ensure the Christian education of their children in accordance with the teaching of the Church." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 793 §1 Parents, and those who take their place, have both the obligation and the right to educate their children. Catholic parents have also the duty and the right to choose those means and institutes which, in their local circumstances, can best promote the Catholic education of their children. §2 Parents also have the right to that assistance, to be furnished by civil society, which they need to secure the Catholic education of their children." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

Also See: Each Child Has a Right to an Education in Harmony With Church Teaching | Papal Complaint Regarding American Schools | Choice of Schools | Parents' Right to Educate Their Children | Homeschooling | Against a Purely Secular Education | Against Sex-Education for Youths (Outside the Home) | Parents / Parenting

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Parents' Right to Educate Their Children

Also See: Homeschooling (Topic Page)

"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." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini illius magistri", 1929 A.D.)

"...it is not lawful for the state to reduce the entire control of education and instruction to itself so that families are forced physically and morally to send their children to the schools of the state, contrary to the duties of their Christian conscience or to their legitimate preference." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini illius magistri", 1929 A.D.)

"Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators. This role in education is so important that only with difficulty can it be supplied where it is lacking." (Second Vatican Council)

"[L]et Us sum it all up by quoting once more the words of St. Augustine: 'As regards the offspring it is provided that they should be begotten lovingly and educated religiously,' - and this is also expressed succinctly in the Code of Canon Law - 'The primary end of marriage is the procreation and the education of children.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Casti Connubii", 1930)

"The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life; it is original and primary with regard to the educational role of others, on account of the uniqueness of the loving relationship between parents and children; and it is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others" (Pope John Paul II)

"Each child is a unique and unrepeatable person and must receive individualized formation. Since parents know, understand and love each of their children in their uniqueness, they are in the best position to decide what the appropriate time is for providing a variety of information, according to their children's physical and spiritual growth. No one can take this capacity for discernment away from conscientious parents." (Pontifical Council for the Family)

"Can. 793 §1 Parents, and those who take their place, have both the obligation and the right to educate their children. Catholic parents have also the duty and the right to choose those means and institutes which, in their local circumstances, can best promote the Catholic education of their children. §2 Parents also have the right to that assistance, to be furnished by civil society, which they need to secure the Catholic education of their children." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"And as this duty on the part of the parents continues up to the time when the child is in a position to provide for itself, this same inviolable parental right of education also endures. 'Nature intends not merely the generation of the offspring, but also its development and advance to the perfection of man considered as man, that is, to the state of virtue' says the same St. Thomas. The wisdom of the Church in this matter is expressed with precision and clearness in the Codex of Canon Law, can. 1113: 'Parents are under a grave obligation to see to the religious and moral education of their children, as well as to their physical and civic training, as far as they can, and moreover to provide for their temporal well-being.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

"There are various way of helping and supporting parents in fulfilling their fundamental right and duty to educate their children... Such assistance never means taking from parents or diminishing their formative right and duty, because they remain 'original and primary', 'irreplaceable and inalienable'. Therefore, the role which others can carry out in helping parents is always (a) subsidiary, because the formative role of the family is always preferable, and (b) subordinate, that is, subject to the parents' attentive guidance and control. Everyone must observe the right order of cooperation and collaboration between parents and those who can help them in their task. It is clear that the assistance of others must be given first and foremost to parents rather than to their children." (Pontifical Council for the Family)

"Nevertheless, Venerable Brethren and beloved children, We wish to call your attention in a special manner to the present-day lamentable decline in family education. The offices and professions of a transitory and earthly life, which are certainly of far less importance, are prepared for by long and careful study; whereas for the fundamental duty and obligation of educating their children, many parents have little or no preparation, immersed as they are in temporal cares. 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." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

"The blessing of offspring, however, is not completed by the mere begetting of them, but something else must be added, namely the proper education of the offspring. For the most wise God would have failed to make sufficient provision for children that had been born, and so for the whole human race, if He had not given to those to whom He had entrusted the power and right to beget them, the power also and the right to educate them. For no one can fail to see that children are incapable of providing wholly for themselves, even in matters pertaining to their natural life, and much less in those pertaining to the supernatural, but require for many years to be helped, instructed, and educated by others. Now it is certain that both by the law of nature and of God this right and duty of educating their offspring belongs in the first place to those who began the work of nature by giving them birth, and they are indeed forbidden to leave unfinished this work and so expose it to certain ruin. But in matrimony provision has been made in the best possible way for this education of children that is so necessary, for, since the parents are bound together by an indissoluble bond, the care and mutual help of each is always at hand." (Pope Pius XI, "Casti Connubii", 1930)

"This is a suitable moment for us to exhort especially heads of families to govern their households according to these precepts, and to be solicitous without failing for the right training of their children. 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 States is fostered. Whence it is that 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 allow not themselves to be turned aside by the reflection that it cannot, even in any degree, be carried out without inflicting cruel outrage on the parents. These hold from nature their right of training the children to whom they have given birth, with the obligation super-added of shaping and directing the education of their little ones to the end for which God vouchsafed the privilege of transmitting the gift of life. It is, then, incumbent on parents to strain every nerve to ward off such an outrage, and to strive manfully to have and to hold exclusive authority to direct the education of their offspring, as is fitting, in a Christian manner, and first and foremost to keep them away from schools where there is risk of their drinking in the poison of impiety. Where the right education of youth is concerned, no amount of trouble or labor can be undertaken, how great soever, but that even greater still may not be called for." (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890)

Also See: Parental Responsibility for Catholic Education | Homeschooling | Each Child Has a Right to an Education in Harmony With Church Teaching | Against a Purely Secular Education | Against Sex-Education for Youths (Outside the Home) | Women's Work in the Home | Parents / Parenting

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What is Learned Early is Hard to Eradicate From the Mind

"She must not learn in early years what she will afterwards have to unlearn. Much of the eloquence of the Gracchi is ascribed to the way their mother spoke to them from their infancy. Hortensius became an orator while still in his father's arms. Early impressions are not easily eradicated from the mind. Once wool has been dyed purple, can anyone restore it to its former coloring? A brand-new jar long retains the taste and smell of what is first poured into it. Greek history relates that Alexander, the mightiest of kings and lord of the world, never succeeded in freeing himself from faults of manner and gait that as a small boy he had picked up from his tutor Leonides. It is easy to imitate what is evil, and if you cannot emulate people's virtues you are quick enough to copy their imperfections." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Against Sex-Education for Youths (Outside the Home) | Against a Purely Secular Education | Each Child Has a Right to an Education in Harmony With Church Teaching | Papal Complaint Regarding American Schools | Parental Responsibility for Catholic Education | Parents' Right to Educate Their Children | Homeschooling | Parents / Parenting | Children / Youth

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Misc.

"Better to instruct a child than to collect riches." (St. Herve of Brittany)

"Let us teach the young in the school of the fear of the Lord." (Pope St. Clement I)

"Of what use to me is all knowledge and education, if I do not become holy?" (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"It is indeed vain to expect a fulfillment of the duties of a Christian by one who does not even know them." (Pope St. Pius X, "Acerbo Nimis", 1905)

"As regards the offspring it is provided that they should be begotten lovingly and educated religiously." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Can. 1377 No one can grant academic degrees that have canonical effects in the Church except by faculty granted by the Apostolic See." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Extensive learning or great wealth are not at all necessary for the service of God. On the contrary, they are often a very big obstacle to it." (St. John Vianney)

"It is plainly the duty of all who teach to banish error from the mind, and by sure safeguards to close the entry to all false convictions" (Pope Leo XIII, Libertas Praestantissimum)

"Can. 1375 The Church has the right to found schools of any type, not only at the elementary level, but at intermediate and superior levels as well." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 803 §3 No school, even if it is in fact Catholic, may bear the title 'Catholic school' except by the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 817 Only a university or a faculty established or approved by the Apostolic See may confer academic degrees which have canonical effects in the Church." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 808 No university, even if it is in fact Catholic, may bear the title 'Catholic university' except by the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 802 §2 Where it is expedient, the diocesan bishop is to make provision for the establishment of professional and technical schools, and other schools required by special needs." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 802 §1 If schools which offer an education imbued with a Christian spirit are not available, the diocesan Bishop has the responsibility of ensuring that such schools are established." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 803 §2 Formation and education in a Catholic school must be based on the principles of Catholic doctrine, and the teachers must be outstanding in true doctrine and uprightness of life." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Now, if we cannot expect to reap a harvest when no seed has been planted, how can we hope to have a people with sound morals if Christian doctrine has not been imparted to them in due time?" (Pope St. Pius X, "Acerbo Nimis", 1905)

"Can. 805 In his own diocese, the local Ordinary has the right to appoint or to approve teachers of religion and, if religious or moral considerations require it, the right to remove them or to demand that they be removed." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors: "The obligation by which Catholic teachers and authors are strictly bound is confined to those things only which are proposed to universal belief as dogmas of faith by the infallible judgment of the Church." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, This proposition was condemned in the Syllabus of Errors, Dec. 8, 1864 A.D.) 

"Can. 800 §1 The Church has the right to establish and direct schools of any discipline, type, and level. §2 The Christian faithful are to foster Catholic schools, assisting in their establishment and maintenance according to their means." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 806 §2 Those who are in charge of Catholic schools are to ensure, under the supervision of the local Ordinary, that the formation given in them is, in its academic standards, at least as outstanding as that in other schools in the area." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 799 Christ's faithful are to strive to secure that in the civil society the laws which regulate the formation of the young, also provide a religious and moral education in the schools that is in accord with the conscience of the parents." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"The beginning and, as it were, the seed of that human perfection which Jesus Christ gave to mankind, are to be found in the Christian education of the young; for the future condition of the State depends upon the early training of its children." (Pope Leo XIII, "Spectata Fides", 1885)

"Can. 1376 § 1 The canonical constitution of any Catholic University or Faculty of studies is reserved to the Apostolic See. § 2 A Catholic University or Faculty, even if it is formed by a religious [institute], must have its statutes approved by the Apostolic See." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Meanwhile continue to admonish fathers again and again not to permit their children to study and learn so as to threaten injury to their Catholic faith... This is to be understood not only of primary schools, but also of those of higher learning." (Pope Leo XIII, "Quod Multum", 1886)

"Can. 803 §1 A Catholic school is understood to be one which is under the control of the competent ecclesiastical authority or of a public ecclesiastical juridical person, or one which in a written document is acknowledged as Catholic by the ecclesiastical authority." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 217 Since Christ's faithful are called by baptism to lead a life in harmony with the gospel teaching, they have the right to a Christian education, which genuinely teaches them to strive for the maturity of the human person and at the same time to know and live the mystery of salvation." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 809 If it is possible and appropriate, Episcopal Conferences are to take care to have within their territories suitably located universities or at least faculties, in which the various disciplines, while retaining their own scientific autonomy, may be researched and taught in the light of Catholic doctrine." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1373 § a In every elementary school, children are to be given religious instruction [suited] to their age. § 2 Youths who attend middle and advanced schools should be afforded a fuller religious doctrine, and local Ordinaries shall take care that this is provided by priests outstanding for their doctrine and zeal." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"[A]ll should be intimately persuaded that the minds of children are most influenced by the training they receive at home. If in their early years they find within the walls of their homes the rule of an upright life and the discipline of Christian virtues, the future welfare of society will in great measure be guaranteed." (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890)

"Much of the formation in the home is indirect, incarnated in a loving and tender atmosphere, for it arises from the presence and example of parents whose love is pure and generous. If parents are given confidence in this task of education for love, they will be inspired to overcome the challenges and problems of our times by their own ministry of love." (Pontifical Council for the Family)

"Can. 813 The diocesan Bishop is to be zealous in his pastoral care of students, even by the creation of a special parish, or at least by appointing priests with a stable assignment to this care. In all universities, even in those which are not Catholic, the diocesan Bishop is to provide Catholic university centers, to be of assistance to the young people, especially in spiritual matters." (1983 Code of Canon Law) 

"[E]ducation makes upon the soul the first, the most powerful and lasting impression for life according to the well-known saying of the Wise Man, 'A young man according to his way, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.' With good reason therefore did St. John Chrysostom say, 'What greater work is there than training the mind and forming the habits of the young?'" (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

"Can. 1273 Those to whom the religious instruction of the faithful falls shall omit nothing that would excite piety for the most holy Eucharist in their spirits and shall especially encourage them that, not only on [Sundays] and feasts of precept, but also on regular days during the week, they assist at the sacrifice of the Mass and visit the most Holy Sacrament frequently insofar as this is possible." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1372 § 1 All the faithful from childhood are to be instructed so that, not only is there nothing against Catholic religion and upright life given them, but that religious and moral instruction has the principal place. § 2 Not only parents according to the norm of Canon 1113, but also all those who take their place, have the right and grave duty of taking care of the Christian education of children." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Since, venerable brothers, you well know that all hope of both sacred and public affairs depends on the right, salutary and religious education of children, it is of particular concern that from their tender years they attend Catholic schools where, diligently learning the truth of our religion and commandments, they will escape the danger of having their sensitive minds tainted with evil principles." (Pope Pius IX, "Amantissimus", 1862)

"It happens to many boys, whether through having the misfortune of falling under the influence of bad company or through neglect of their parents, or because they neglect to profit from the good education they receive, that they lose the inestimable treasure of the innocence of childhood before knowing its value, and that they becomes slaves of the devil without even tasting the sweetness of being the children of God." (St. John Bosco)

"In fact, 'conscience is a judgement of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed'. Therefore, the formation of conscience requires being enlightened about the truth and God's plan and must not be confused with a vague subjective feeling or with personal opinion." (Pontifical Council for the Family)

"Instruction for both girls and boys should aim at pointing out the beauty of motherhood and the wonderful reality of procreation, as well as the deep meaning of virginity. In this way they will be helped to go against the hedonistic mentality which is very widespread today and particularly, at such a decisive stage, in preventing the 'contraceptive mentality', which unfortunately is very common." (Pontifical Council for the Family)

"Let the teachers in ecclesiastical institutions be aware that they cannot with tranquil conscience exercise the office of teaching entrusted to them, unless in the instruction of their students they religiously accept and exactly observe the norms which We have ordained. That due reverence and submission which in their unceasing labor they must profess toward the Teaching Authority of the Church, let them instill also into the minds and hearts of their students." (Pope Pius XII, "Humani Generis", 1950)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors: "The entire government of the public schools in which the youth of any Christian state is instructed, episcopal seminaries being excepted for some reason, can and should be assigned to the civil authority; and assigned in such a way, indeed, that for no other authority is the right recognized to interfere in the discipline of the schools, in the system of studies, in the conferring of degrees, in the choice or approval of teachers." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, This proposition was condemned in the Syllabus of Errors, Dec. 8, 1864 A.D.) 

"Can. 806 §1 The diocesan Bishop has the right to watch over and inspect the Catholic schools situated in his territory, even those established or directed by members of religious institutes. He has also the right to issue directives concerning the general regulation of Catholic schools these directives apply also to schools conducted by members of a religious institute, although they retain their autonomy in the internal management of their schools." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"For you know that in these dangerous days, We must strive together with every effort and resolve, and must be vigilant in every matter which pertains to schools and the education of the young, both male and female. For you know that our enemies diabolically try to pervert young minds and hearts from their earliest years. And for this reason they try to remove schools completely from the authority of the Church and the watchfulness of its holy pastors." (Pope Pius IX, "Nostis et Nobiscum", 1849)

"The first natural and necessary element in this environment, as regards education, is the family, and this precisely because so ordained by the Creator Himself. Accordingly that education, as a rule, will be more effective and lasting which is received in a well-ordered and well-disciplined Christian family; and more efficacious in proportion to the clear and constant good example set, first by the parents, and then by the other members of the household." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

"The more the enemies of religion exert themselves to offer the uninformed, especially the young, such instruction as darkens the mind and corrupts morals, the more actively should we endeavor that not only a suitable and solid method of education may flourish but above all that this education be wholly in harmony with the Catholic faith in its literature and system of training, and chiefly in philosophy, upon which the direction of other sciences in great measure depends." (Pope Leo XIII, "Inscrutabili Dei Consilio", 1878)

"Can. 795 Education must pay regard to the formation of the whole person, so that all may attain their eternal destiny and at the same time promote the common good of society. Children and young persons are therefore to be cared for in such a way that their physical, moral and intellectual talents may develop in a harmonious manner, so that they may attain a greater sense of responsibility and a right use of freedom, and be formed to take an active part in social life." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Perfect schools are the result not so much of good methods as of good teachers, teachers who are thoroughly prepared and well-grounded in the matter they have to teach; who possess the intellectual and moral qualifications required by their important office; who cherish a pure and holy love for the youths confided to them, because they love Jesus Christ and His Church, of which these are the children of predilection; and who have therefore sincerely at heart the true good of family and country." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors: "The best theory of civil society requires that popular schools open to children of every class of the people, and, generally, all public institutes intended for instruction in letters and philosophical sciences and for carrying on the education of youth, should be freed from all ecclesiastical authority, control and interference, and should be fully subjected to the civil and political power at the pleasure of the rulers, and according to the standard of the prevalent opinions of the age." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, This proposition was condemned in the Syllabus of Errors, Dec. 8, 1864 A.D.) 

"[I]n catechesis and the formation given both within and outside of the family, the Church's teaching on the sublime value of virginity and celibacy must never be lacking, but also the vocational meaning of marriage, which a Christian can never regard as only a human venture. As St. Paul says 'This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church.' (Ephesians 5:32). Giving young people this firm conviction is of supreme importance for the good both of the Church and humanity which 'depend in great part on parents and on the family life that they build in their homes'." (Pontifical Council for the Family)

"Can. 2319 § 1 Those Catholics fall under automatic excommunication reserved to the Ordinary who: 1° Enter marriage in the presence of a non-Catholic minister against the prescription of Canon 1063, § 1; 2° Enter marriage with the explicit or implicit agreement that all or any of the children will be educated outside of the Catholic Church; 3° Knowingly presume to offer their children to non-Catholic ministers for baptism; 4° Being parents or holding the place of parents, knowingly hand their charges over for non-Catholic education or formation. § 2 Those in § 1, nn. 2-4, are also suspected of heresy." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"In fact it must never be forgotten that the subject of Christian education is man whole and entire, soul united to body in unity of nature, with all his faculties natural and supernatural, such as right reason and revelation show him to be; man, therefore, fallen from his original estate, but redeemed by Christ and restored to the supernatural condition of adopted son of God, though without the preternatural privileges of bodily immortality or perfect control of appetite. There remain therefore, in human nature the effects of original sin, the chief of which are weakness of will and disorderly inclinations." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

"But to obtain perfect education care must be taken that all the conditions which surround children while they are being trained, fittingly correspond with the end proposed. And surely from the necessity of nature the environment of the child for his proper training must be regarded as his family, established by God for this very purpose. Therefore, finally, we shall rightly consider that institution stable and safest which is received in a family rightly ordered and well disciplined; and the more efficacious and stable as the parents especially and other members of the household present themselves the children as an example of virtue." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini illius magistri", 1929 A.D.)

"You are certainly aware, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, that every kind of impious and deceitful writing, lies, calumny, and blasphemy has been let loose from hell. No pain has been spared to transfer schools to non-Catholic teachers and to appropriate churches for non-Catholic worship. With a multiple of other, surely diabolical treacheries, arts, and undertakings, the enemies of God employ every effort to destroy completely - if that were possible - the Catholic Church, seduce and corrupt the people, especially guileless youth, and uproot our holy faith and religion from the souls of all." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, "Quanto Conficiamur Moerore", 1863)

"Can. 810 §1 In Catholic universities it is the duty of the competent statutory authority to ensure that there be appointed teachers who are not only qualified in scientific and pedagogical expertise, but are also outstanding in their integrity of doctrine and uprightness of life. If these requirements are found to be lacking, it is also that authority's duty to see to it that these teachers are removed from office, in accordance with the procedure determined in the statutes. §2 The Episcopal Conference and the diocesan Bishops concerned have the duty and the right of seeing to it that, in these universities, the principles of Catholic doctrine are faithfully observed." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Let it be loudly proclaimed and well understood and recognized by all, that Catholics, no matter what their nationality, in agitating for Catholic schools for their children, are not mixing in party politics, but are engaged in a religious enterprise demanded by conscience. They do not intend to separate their children either from the body of the nation or its spirit, but to educate them in a perfect manner, most conducive to the prosperity of the nation. Indeed a good Catholic, precisely because of his Catholic principles, makes the better citizen, attached to his country, and loyally submissive to constituted civil authority in every legitimate form of government." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

"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." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

"But if that saying, 'a little leaven corrupteth the whole mass' corresponds at all to the truth, and if physical growth in youths can be prevented, by some infectious germ, from reaching full maturity, much more can some base element of education steal its way into the fibres of the religious life, and check the due shaping of morals. Everyone knows well that, very often, children can avoid the transient attack of a disease outside their own home, but cannot escape it when it lurks within the home itself. It is wrong to introduce risk in any form into the sanctity of home surroundings; the Church, therefore, as her right and duty demand, has always striven with all her force to prevent these sacred portals suffering violence, under any pretext, from evil television shows." (Pope Pius XII, "Miranda Prorsus", 1957)

"Can. 229 §1 Lay people have the duty and the right to acquire the knowledge of Christian teaching which is appropriate to each one's capacity and condition, so that they may be able to live according to this teaching, to proclaim it and if necessary to defend it, and may be capable of playing their part in the exercise of the apostolate. §2 They also have the right to acquire that fuller knowledge of the sacred sciences which is taught in ecclesiastical universities or faculties or in institutes of religious sciences, attending lectures there and acquiring academic degrees. §3 Likewise, assuming that the provisions concerning the requisite suitability have been observed, they are capable of receiving from the lawful ecclesiastical authority a mandate to teach the sacred sciences." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Such are the times and customs that too many people with too much effort strive to keep studious youth away from the vigilance of the Church and the salutary virtue of religion. Schools called neuter, mixed, and lay are popular and sought out here and there, doubtless with the intention that the students grow up ignorant of all things holy and of all religious concerns. Since this evil is more widespread and greater than its remedies, we see a progeny growing up uninterested in spiritual goods, without religion and often impious. Keep so great a calamity out ... with all your energy! The education of youth from childhood in Christian habits and Christian wisdom is today of the greatest possible concern not only to the Church, but also to the state. All who are truly wise understand this." (Pope Leo XIII, "Quod Multum", 1886)

"Now, the training of youth most conducive to the defense of true faith and religion and to the preservation of morality must find its beginning from an early stage within the circle of home life; and this family Christian training sadly undermined in these our times, cannot possibly be restored to its due dignity, save by those laws under which it was established in the Church by her Divine Founder Himself. Our Lord Jesus Christ, by raising to the dignity of a sacrament the contract of matrimony, in which He would have His own union with the Church typified, not only made the marriage tie more holy, but, in addition, provided efficacious sources of aid for parents and children alike, so that, by the discharge of their duties one to another, they might with greater ease attain to happiness both in time and in eternity." (Pope Leo XIII, "Inscrutabili Dei Consilio", 1878)

"The normal and fundamental method, already proposed in this guide, is personal dialogue between parents and their children, that is, individual formation within the family circle. In fact there is no substitute for a dialogue of trust and openness between parents and their children, a dialogue which respects not only their stages of development but also the young persons as individuals...parents can meet with others who are prepared for education for love to draw on their experience and competence. These people can offer explanations and provide parents with books and other resources approved by the ecclesiastical authorities... In certain situations, parents can entrust part of education for love to another trustworthy person, if there are matters which require a specific competence or pastoral care in particular cases." (Pontifical Council for the Family)

"What greatness there is in a little child! But what a responsibility for the world! If God does not wait for the age of reason before bestowing His gifts, this sublime haste is due to the impatience of His love, but at the same time He counts upon men to reveal in due time their dignity to these children of heaven, to form them to the duties incumbent on them, and to educate them in a way befitting their divine lineage. The education of a king's son corresponds to the dignity of his birth, and those who have the honor of being his tutors never forget that he is a prince. Instructions, common to all, are presented to him in a way which harmonizes with his exalted destiny, and everything is directed to rendering him capable of wearing his crown with glory. Does the education of a child of God need less care? Is it right that his teachers should forget his birth and his destiny?" (Gueranger)

"We want you to know of another secret society organized not so long ago for the corruption of young people who are taught in the gymnasia and the lycea. Its cunning purpose is to engage evil teachers to lead the students along the paths of Baal by teaching them un-Christian doctrines. The perpetrators know well that the students' minds and morals are molded by the precepts of the teachers. Its influence is already so persuasive that all fear of religion has been lost, all discipline of morals has been abandoned, the sanctity of pure doctrine has been contested, and the rights of the sacred and of the civil powers have been trampled upon. Nor are they ashamed of any disgraceful crime or error. We can truly say with Leo the Great that for them 'Law is prevarication; religion, the devil; sacrifice, disgrace'. Drive these evils from your dioceses. Strive to assign not only learned, but also good men to train our youth." (Pope Pius VIII, "Traditi Humilitati", 1829)

"We commend in a special manner the young, as being the hope of human society. Devote the greatest part of your care to their instruction; and do not think that any precaution can be great enough in keeping them from masters and schools whence the pestilent breath of the sects is to be feared. Under your guidance, let parents, religious instructors, and priests having the care of souls use every opportunity, in their Christian teaching, of warning their children and pupils of the infamous nature of these societies, so that they may learn in good time to beware of the various and fraudulent artifices by which their promoters are accustomed to ensnare people. And those who instruct the young in religious knowledge will act wisely if they induce all of them to resolve and to undertake never to bind themselves to any society without the knowledge of their parents, or the advice of their parish priest or director." (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884)

"We by no means wish to conclude that a perverse will and unbridled conduct may not be joined with a knowledge of religion. Would to God that facts did not too abundantly prove the contrary! But We do maintain that the will cannot be upright nor the conduct good when the mind is shrouded in the darkness of crass ignorance. A man who walks with open eyes may, indeed, turn aside from the right path, but a blind man is in much more imminent danger of wandering away. Furthermore, there is always some hope for a reform of perverse conduct so long as the light of faith is not entirely extinguished; but if lack of faith is added to depraved morality because of ignorance, the evil hardly admits of remedy, and the road to ruin lies open. How many and how grave are the consequences of ignorance in matters of religion! And on the other hand, how necessary and how beneficial is religious instruction! It is indeed vain to expect a fulfillment of the duties of a Christian by one who does not even know them." (Pope St. Pius X, "Acerbo Nimis", 1905)

"Again it is the inalienable right as well as the indispensable duty of the Church, to watch over the entire education of her children, in all institutions, public or private, not merely in regard to the religious instruction there given, but in regard to every other branch of learning and every regulation in so far as religion and morality are concerned. Nor should the exercise of this right be considered undue interference, but rather maternal care on the part of the Church in protecting her children from the grave danger of all kinds of doctrinal and moral evil. Moreover this watchfulness of the Church not merely can create no real inconvenience, but must on the contrary confer valuable assistance in the right ordering and well-being of families and of civil society; for it keeps far away from youth the moral poison which at that inexperienced and changeable age more easily penetrates the mind and more rapidly spreads its baneful effects." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

"Furthermore, the education of the child, inasmuch as he is 'soft as wax to be molded into vice' in whatever environment he lives, must be directed and watched by removing occasions of evil, and by supplying opportunely occasions for good in times of relaxation of mind, and enjoyment of companions, because 'evil communications corrupt good manners' (1 Cor. 15:33). Yet, such watchfulness and vigilance, as we have said should be applied, does not at all demand that young people be removed from association with men with whom they must live their lives, and whom they must consult in regard to the salvation of their souls; but only that they be fortified and strengthened in a Christian manner - especially today - against the enticements and errors of the world, which, according to the words of John, are entirely 'concupiscence of the flesh, concupiscence of the eyes, and pride of life' (1 John 2:16), so that, as Tertullian wrote of the early Christians: 'Let our people keep themselves as Christians who should at all times be sharers in the possession of the world, not of its error.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Divini illius magistri", 1929 A.D.)

Also See: Against a Purely Secular Education | Against Co-Education | Against Sex-Education for Youths (Outside the Home) | Each Child Has a Right to an Education in Harmony With Church Teaching | Papal Complaint Regarding American Schools | Choice of Schools | Parental Responsibility for Catholic Education | Parents' Right to Educate Their Children | Homeschooling | Parents / Parenting | Children / Youth

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