Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 13.djvu/620

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SCHOOLS


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SCHOOLS


to establish schools, which, although they may be permitted by the civil law merely as private institu- tions, are, of their nature, pubhc; (2) by natural law, the obligation Ues primarily with the parents of a child to provide for his education, as well as for his physical support. This is part of the purpose and aim of the family as an institution. If no provision is made by any other institution, the parents must provide education either by their ovra effort or that of others whom they employ; (3) when the parents neglect their duty in the matter of education, the State, in the interests of pubUc welfare, takes up the obhgation of teaching. It has, therefore, the right to estabhsh schools, and, consequently, the right to compel attendance, in so far as the principle holds good that public welfare demands a knowledge, at least, of the elementary branches of education.

From the interaction and conflict of these funda- mental rights arise the following more particular principles: (1) the Church has the exclusive right to teach religion to Cathohc children. Neither the parents nor the State can exercise this right except they do so with the consent (as parents do) and under the supervision and control of the ecclesiastical au- thorities. (2) The Church cannot approve schools which exclude rehgion from the curriculum, both because religion is the most important subject in education, and because she contends that even secular education is not possible in its best form unless re- ligion be made the central, vitahzing, and co-or- dinating factor in the life of the child. The Church, sometimes, tolerates schools in which religion is not taught, and permits Catholic children to attend them, when the circumstances are such as to leave no alter- native, and when due precautions are taken to supply by other means the rehgious training which such schools do not give. She reserves the right to judge whether this be the case, and, if her judgment is un- favourable, claims the right to forbid attendance (see Letter of Gregory XVI to Irish Bishops, 16 Jan., 1831). (3) In all schools, whether established by the Church or the State, or even by a group of families (so long as there are pupils received from different famiUes) the State has the right to see that the laws of pubhc health, pubhc order, and public morahty are observed, and if in any school doctrines were taught .subversive of pubhc peace or otherwise op- posed to the interests of the general public, the State would have the right to intervene "in the name of the good of the general public". (4) State monop- oly of education has been con.sidered by the Church to be nothing short of a tyrannical usurpation. In principle it overrides the fundamental right of the parents, denies the right of the Church even to open and maintain schools for the teaching of religion alone, and in its natural effect on public opinion tends to place religion below considerations of mere worldly welfare. (5j The Church does not deny the right of the State to levy taxes for the support of the State schools, although, as we shall see, this leads to injustice in the manner of its application in some countries. The principle is distinct always from the abuse of the principle. Similarly, the Church does not deny the right of the State to decree compulsory education fv> long as such decrees do not abrogate other and more fundamental rights. It should al- ways be remembered, however, that compulsion on the part of the State is not the exercise of a primary and predominant right, but must be justified by con- siderations of public good. (6) Finally, the rights of the Church in the matter of religious teaching ex- tend not only to the subject of religion itself but to Buch matters as the character of the teacher, the Bpirit and tone of the teaching in such subjects as his- tory and science, and the contents of the textbooks used. She recx)gnizes that de-Christianized teaching and de-Christianized textbooks have inevitably the


effect of lessening in the minds of pupils the esteem which she teaches them to have for religion. In a word her rights are bounded, not by the subject of rehgion, but by the spiritual interests of the children committed to her care.

VIII. The present status of the Church and State in regard to education:

A. In Germany. — After the Reformation in Ger- many the primary schools in Protestant provinces passed over to the control of the local civil authorities. In Catholic communities the ecclesiastical authorities did not yield so readily to the aggression of the State. Ail through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries councils (Cologne, 1536 and 1560; Salzburg, 1569; Breslau, 1592; Augsburg, 1610) withstood the en- croachments of civil authority on the parochial schools and, as a rule, a modus vivendi was reached satisfactory to the bishops. By the end of the eigh- teenth century, however, the notion of State jurisdic- tion in educational matters was firmly established. For the most part the foundation of private schools was the solution. These were recognized by German law as belonging to the jurisdiction of the Church. Early in the nineteenth century the so-called "simul- taneous schools" began to be the ordinary solution of the problem. In these there were children of va- rious denominations, each denomination having, in theory, the right to care for the religious instruction of its members. On several occasions the bishops of Germany or of some German state protested (e. g. at Wiirzburg, 1848; the Bavarian bishops, 1850) against the restrictions of the rights of the Church. At the present time the simultaneous schools are obligatory in a few provinces and optional (Jacultativ) in others, while in Bavaria, the Rhine Provinces and elsewhere, "confessional", i. e. denominational, schools are the rule, and simultaneous, or mixed, schools, the exception. Throughout the empire the supreme control of all elementary schools is vested in the government, the local ecclesiastical authorities being granted a greater or less amount of supervision and control according to the different circumstances in different localities. The teacher of religion for Catholics is of course always a Catholic, almost always a priest, and is a regularly qualified and salaried teacher, like the instructor in other branches. The attitude of the bishops towards the contemporary educational system in Germany is set forth in the decrees of the Council of Cologne (1860).

B. In Austria. — Until the beginning of the nine- teenth century the conditions were similar to those existing in Germany. The legislation of Joseph II had been distinctly hostile to religious influence in the schools. However, the enactments of 1808, 1868, 1885, etc. give a measure of authority and control to the local clergy which make the conditions in Austria to be as a rule more favourable than in the German Empire. The question of language has of course complicated matters in many provinces of Austria, and local conditions, the personality of the government official, etc. have much to do with the actual status of religious teaching in the public schools. The decree's of the Council of Vienna (1858) contain the views of the hierarcliy of Austria in regard to the present condition of religious education in that coun- try. The Letter of the Archbishop of Vienna to the Papal Nuncio (22 Oct., 1868) is also an important flccJHration. See also articles 5-8 of the Con(H)rdat of

1855 (AUSTKO-IIUNGAUIAN MoNAHCHY, p. 130).

C. In France. — The Napoleonic decree of 1808 established in principle and m fact the most rigorous State monopoly in education. It met at once with a vigorous protest on the part of the Catholic bishops, who demanded freedom of instruction in the name of the parents in whom, they contended, the right to educate is primarily vested. In 1833 and 1850 {La loi Falloux) "free schools" were recognized. No