Friday, July 23, 2010

Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal - July 23


[continued from yesterday]

...Now the chief characteristic of this ideal is that the teacher, whether he be paid by the parents or by the Church or by the State, is primarily and essentially continuing the work of the parents and not directly that of the Church or of the State.

The very existence of the teacher depends only on the assumption of the parents not being able to carry out the work of education themselves. Of course, in so far as the parents are bound to act under the direction of the Church or the State, so is the teacher. But directly his ideal is to carry out the work which essentially belongs to the parents and which they cannot conveniently perform without him.

The Catholic school, therefore, since it is merely a continuation of the family life, and exists merely to help the family to fulfill its destiny, will have its spirit and tone and plans arranged accordingly. Its first principle will be to aim at training the children for future family life.

Schools taught by religious or clergy are not primarily schools for religious or priestly vocations. Doubtless it is the duty of such religious and clergy to watch carefully for vocations, and to see that no hindrance Is put In the way. But they must ever remember that a vocation is an extraordinary gift, whilst marriage is a Sacrament and intended for the generality of men. A school, therefore, whether fitted for elementary, middle, or higher education, whether taught by religious or laity, should be characterized by its likeness to family life. When St. Ignatius conceived and formulated his idea of Jesuit colleges, he did not intend those wonderful boarding establishments, such as Stonyhurst and Beaumont, Georgetown and Fordham. He wished to have day colleges so that the pupils should remain as much as possible under the direct Influence of parents and home.

But boarding colleges and convent schools are now a necessity. There is, however, a more stringent obligation on them of approximating as nearly as possible to the family ideal. This is more especially necessary in the schools for girls. The prevailing spirit of these schools should be that of training the future mothers of Catholic families.

The mother is the priestess of the home. She it is who holds the home together. She is the all important factor in developing the ideal of Catholic family life. Personal piety will be her first accomplishment. Then will come the ordinary school subjects, with "extras," according to the future social status of the child. Then she must be taught how to play. We have hardly yet begun to learn the gospel of Froebel : " Let us teach our children to play." Cricket and tennis and drill have their place, and so has the doll and the doll's house.

Then, as the school years draw to an end there are the important subjects of cookery and housekeeping. The Catholic school that neglects these fails to grasp one of its grandest opportunities of furthering its noble aims; that is, of strengthening the family life, of making the nation more Catholic, of hastening the coming of the kingdom of God.....

[Continued tomorrow]
From Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal
By the Rev. Thomas J. Gerrard
Author of "Cords of Adam," "The Wayfarer's Vision," ETC.
Copyright, 1911, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York.

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