Public School Educationby Michael Muller CSSR
America is my home! I have no other country. After my God and my religion, my country is the dearest object of my life! I love my country as dearly as anyone else call. It is this love that makes my heart bleed when I call to mind the actual state of society in our country, and the principles that prevail everywhere. It is indeed but too true that we live in a most anti-Christian age; principles are disregarded, and iniquity is held in veneration. We see nothing but confusion in religion, in government, in the family circle. Sects spring up and swarm like locusts, destroying not our revealed religion, out rejecting even the law of nature. Fraud, theft, and robbery are practised almost as a common trade. The press justifies rebellion, secret societies, and plots for the overthrow of established governments. The civil law, by granting divorce, has broken the family tie.
Children arc allowed to grow up in ignorance of true religious principles, and thereby become regardless of their parents. The number of apostates from Christianity is on the increase, at least in the rising generation. Current literature is penetrated with the spirit of licentiousness, from the pretentious quarterly to the arrogant and flippant daily newspaper, and the weekly and monthly publications are mostly heathen or maudlin. They express and inculcate, on the one hand, stoical, cold, and polished pride of mere intellect, or on the other, empty and wretched sentimentality. Some employ the skill of the engraver to caricature the institutions and offices of the Christian religion, and others to exhibit the grossest forms of vice, and the most distressing scenes of crime and suffering. The illustrated press has become to us what the amphitheatre was to the Romans when men were slain, women were outraged, and Christians given to the lions to please a degenerate populace. The number of the most unnatural crimes is beyond computation.
A wide-spread and deep-seated dishonesty and corruption has, like some poisonous virus, inoculated the great body of our public men in national, state, and municipal positions, so much so that rascality seems to be tile rule, and honesty the exception. Real statesmanship has departed from amongst us; neither the men nor the principles of the olden time exist any longer.
If neglect to comply with the law of God and of His Church, neglect to receive the sacraments at certain times, and under certain circumstances, is a mortal sin, is it much less a sin to neglect the proper education of our youth, upon which, to a great extent, their entire future depends? And if the sacraments are refused to persons persisting in sin, should not a sin of this great character be also considered in the conditions requisite for the worthy reception of the sacrsments? I hesitate not to pronounce this matter of education a matter of conscience, and it should be treated accordingly by those who have the charge of souls. We see ecclesiastical edifices of great magnitude splendor, and expense, erected everywhere by Catholics, but for what purpose? To attract non-Catholics? Bosh! A Catholic can hear Mass in caverns, in catacombs, or under hedges, as they have often been obliged to do, but if we lose our children there will be none to hear it anywhere, nor any to offer the Holy Sacrifice, even in our most gorgeous cathedrals. Where will be our Catholics? Scandal and disgrace will be the order of the day.
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