THE CATHOLIC FAMILY
[continued from yesterday]
...The Catholic school will undoubtedly possess a Catholic atmosphere. The constant or frequent presence of priests or religious, the Catholic prayers, the statues and the fixtures, all tend to keep before the mind of the child the fact that he is a Catholic.
Now the Catholic home ought to be at least as Catholic as the Catholic school. There ought to be prominent signs about the house that It is the abode of a Catholic family. There is a feeling in some families, having pretensions to be up-to-date and fashionable, to regard a religious picture in the drawing-room as out of place. This feeling is generally the fruit of worldliness. It Is also, in a measure, due to the large number of inferior pictures which flood the market, those cheap lithographs of the Pope or the bishop, which are a compliment to neither. A zealous father of a Catholic family will make an endeavor to hang up one or two good and really artistic religious pictures. They give a tone to the house, impressing the faith on the minds of the members of the family, and expressing the faith of the family to visitors.
More important even than Catholic art is Catholic literature. These are days when everybody reads or, at least, is supposed to read. And it is notorious that Catholics do not buy books as they should. Our Holy Father has warned us that unless we support a good Catholic press it will be useless for us to build schools and churched. Now, the Catholic Church is not wanting either in excellent writers or excellent publishers. Our book stores are rich in devotional, scientific, and recreative literature. The crying shame is that so little of this finds its way into the Catholic family.
Heads of Catholic families, therefore, ought to see to it at once that there is a shelf for religious literature, that there is a regular subscription to some monthly or quarterly Catholic journal, and, especially among the working classes, a subscription to some Catholic weekly newspaper. It is chiefly through the press that the members of the family learn their relationship to other institutions in the world. The secular press keeps them provided with political news and so constantly reminds them of their civic duties. But the secular press is not an ideal medium for showing the Catholic his duty to the State.
Especially In the matter of education does the Catholic need to know the bearings between the mind of the Church and the mind of the State. And he ought to know this not only on general principles, but also in the application of those principles to the particular circumstances of his country. He must know what the bishops have said, what the government has done to this or that particular school or college, and what the government proposes to do with schools and colleges in the future. In a word, he must be alive to his duties as a Catholic citizen. The family life is the foundation of true citizenship. Since, therefore, the Catholic press is the means by which the Catholic learns the bearings between the family, the Church, the State, the Catholic press ought to be an institution in every Catholic household...
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.