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resentations of our tenets, and statements to our prejudice, equally groundless and injurious. It is but just to expect that the books used in the schools shall contain no offensive matter, and that books decidedly hostile to our faith shall not, under any pretext, be placed in the hands of Catholic children. .. .
The school law, which provides that the religious predilections of the parents shall be respected,' was evidently framed in the spirit of our Constitution, which holds the rights of conscience to be inviolable. Public education should be conducted on principles which will afford its advantages to all classes of the community, without detriment to their religious convictions. Religious liberty must be especially guarded in children, who, of themselves, are unable to guard against the wiles or assault of others. I appeal, then, gentlemen, with confidence, to your justice, that the regulations of the schools may be modified so as to give to Catholic pupils and teachers eqnal rights without wounding tender consciences.
For my interposition in this matter, besides the resposibility of my station, I have specially to plead the assurance I have received from a respectable source, that some desire had been expressed to know distinctly from me, what modifications Catholics desire in the school system. It was also suggested that an appeal of this kind would receive every just consideration from the Board; and would anticipate effectually the danger of public excitement on a point on which the community is justly sensitive—the sacred rights of conscience. With great respect I remain, gentlemen, your obedient servant,
† FRANCIS PATRICK, Bishop of Philadelphia. Philadelphia, 14th Nov., 1842.”
On a consideration of the letter, the Controllers adopted the resolutions found below. They were no more than the plainest principles of common justice demanded, and to which none but the violent and bigoted sectarian, would refuse a cordial assent. It is true that the second resolution is a virtual nullity, since there is no Catholic version of the Scriptures that has not, more or less, some notes or comments; but as no remonstrance against this provision has been presented, it still remains in force.
“ Resolved, That no children be required to attend or unite in the reading of the Bible in the Public Schools, whose parents are conscientiously opposed thereto.
“Resolved, That those children whose parents conscientiously prefer and desire any particular version of the Bible, without note or comment, be furnished with the same.”
In the question of the use of the Bible--the version set forth by authority of King James—as presented thus far, who will have the effrontery to declare, that any attempt was made to exclude the Sacred Scriptures from the Common Schools? Yet the cry was raised in the face of the above documents, which are too plain to be misunderstood, that such was the demand of our Catholic population. Carried away by the clamor, or influenced by their own feelings of attachment to their respective sects, certain teachers, with the connivance of some of the Directors of the Public Schools, presumed to disobey the positive regulations that had been adopted. A respectful remonstrance from Catholic laymen was addressed to the Controllers against the infringment of the rights of conscience, and this aggrieving of the Catholic children in their privileges, in direct opposition to the regulations adopted. The response was in the following action of the Board :
" CHAMBER OF THE CONTROLLERS OF Public Schools, FIRST School DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA,
Philadelphia March 13th, 1844. At a meeting of the Board of Controllers of the Public Schools of the First School District of Pennsylvania, held at the Controllers’ Chamber, on Tuesday, the 12th day of March, 1844, the following Resolutions were adopted :
Resolved, That the Secretary of this Board be instructed to furnish each of the Sectional Boards, and the Principal Teachers of the Schools in the First School District, with copies of the Resolutions adopted by the Board of Controllers on December 9th, 1834, and January 10th, 1843.
Resolved, That any infringment of the Resolutions of this Board, by the Teachers of the Sectional Boards will virtually disqualify such Teachers from receiving payment for their services from this Board..
Extract from the minutes, i.
THOMAS B, FLORENCE, Secretary.” In order to inform the public mind as to the true state of the case, and to explain what were the real views of Catholics in relation to the matter, which then, and since, has swayed in dreadful rockings, the feelings of this community, Bishop Kenrick, at this time, published a letter in all the public papers of the city, from which the following paragraphs have been extracted :
“ Catholics have not asked that the Bible be excluded from the Public Schools. They have merely desired for their clildren'the liberty of using the Catholic version in case the reading of the Bible be prescribed by the Controllers or Directors of the Schools. They only desire to enjoy the benefit of the Constitution of the State of Pennsyivania, which guarantees the rights of conscience, and precludes any preference of sectarian modes of worship. They ask that the School laws be faithfully executed, and that the religious predilections of the parents be respected. They ask that the regulations of the Controllers of the Public Schools, adopted in December, 1834, be followed up, and that the resolutions of the same body adopted in January, 1843, be adhered to. They desire that the Public Schools be preserved from all sectarian influence, and that education be conducted in a way that may enable all citizens equally to share in its benefits, without any violence being offered to their religious convictions."
Notwithstanding, however, such proceedings and such documents, speaking $0 plainly and loudly that all must hear, save those who are purposely deaf, the watch-word of “excluding the Bible,” was passed from lip to lip,- from one end of our Commonwealth to the other, and throughout the length and breadth of the State. The above respectful, and mild, and correct, and indeed, Christian course of the Catholics in respect to a matter, which ought to have been any thing but excitng, was seized upon by certain sectaries to attack the communion of the former. Exaggerated statements in the ecclesiastical and secular journals were made, and certain pulpits were shaken with the very violence of their heated occupants, when detailing the dreadful conspiracy against the Word of God. The minds of the people were filled with the subject, and their feelings were so wrought upon, that it is no wonder with any one, that these feelings and impressions led to riot, to sacrilege, to arson, to treason and murder!
To show how prejudiced the public mind had become, and how cruelly unjust were its conclusions through false statements, two instances will be given. The Grand Jury inquiring into the causes of the riots in Kensington, with every opportunity, and the most ample means for reaching a correct decision as to the matter, made the following presentment to the Court. No comment will be ventured upon it. Here it is and having been spread before the public for revision, let that public, after reading the documents which are to follow, pronounce as to its correctness.
“ The Jury have been instructed by the Court, to inquire into the origin and cause which led to the recent gross violations of law, and to present the first and last aggressors, if possible. Upon this branch of inquiry, from all the facts which came under their notice, they have come to the following conclusions :
“ Second— To the efforts of a portion of the community to exclude the Bible from our Public Schools,” &c. Sc.
(We are obliged to omit the second instance, having reference to a particular case, in which the conduct of Alderman Hugh Clark, a Catholic, is shown by the most conclusive evidence, to have been misrepresented by the editor of the Christian Observer.)
In the conclusion of this point one more document is presented. It is final, covering with its very narrow limits the whole ground. It is a testimony which cannot be impeached, and at which all must bow, in acknowledgment of its unquestioned value. It is an extract from the 26th Annual Report of the Controllers of the Public Schools, adopted at a recent meeting of the Board.
“ NO ATTEMPT THEREFORE HAS EVER BEEN MADE BY ANY ONE IN THIS BOARD, NOR HAVE THE CONTROLLERS EVER BEEN ASKED BY ANY SECT, PERSON OR PERSONS TO EXCLUDE THE BIBLE FROM THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS!"
THE MONASTIC ORDERS.--THE JESUITS.
Speech of Count Montalembert in the Chamber of Peers, May 8th, 1844, in the discussion of a bill relative to · Secondary Instruction.'
[Translated for the Catholic Cabinet. ] The question which the duke d'Harcourt wishes to solve in the sense of liberty and common right, has formed a prominent part of every debate which has occupied this Chamber, during the past fifteen days. In the replies with which I have been honoured, from the minister of Instruction, he has alluded some twelve or fifteen times, to my affection for the Jesuits; and this is the point towards which the greater part of the enemies of the liberty of Instruction have renewed their hostilities.
Up to this moment I have not touched this question; but I am sure the Chamber would feel rather astonished if I should not do so, and if, refering at all to it, I did not treat the subject with all the frankness which belongs to my character. Allow me, then, at the commencement, to state that I am neither a pupil nor champion of the Jesuits; I am an eleve of the University, I disclaim being the champion of any one, except it be of religion and virtue. [emotion] The liberty however which I proceed to defend, is most sacred, it is the liberty of conscience and of virtue.
Before entering upon my subject, it may be well, briefly to state what is meant in general, by religious congregations, or more correctly in the language of history and the Church those religious orders which you would exclude altogether, from the province of Instruction. Indulge the expression of a few thoughts, on this point, to a man, who during ten years has made it a special object of careful and profound study.
Gentlemen, the religious orders which you condemn, by anticipation and without a hearing, constitute an essential element of the free developement of the Church. Before the peace of the Church there were monks: in the deserts of Thebais; since that period, and every where, under all governments, in every clime, wherever Christianity has been preached and known, she has covered the world with monasteries. In numerous countries, in Germany, in England, and in the kingdoms of the North, the Christian faith has been introduced only by religious. I repeat it, throughout all parts, down to the French revolution the Church has never been seen unaccompanied by the monastic orders. It is the incontestable result of the history of fifteen centuries. What never was witnessed elsewhere, is a church like the church of France, such as you behold her, that is, restricted to the bishops and secular priests, despoiled of the glory and strength which she has ever found in the regular clergy.
What then is the origin of a state of things so universal ? It is an imperative want experienced by certain souls, and which to them is inseparable from a Christian conviction, of aspiring to perfection, of obeying not only the pre
cepts but the counsels of the Gospel, and of freeing themselves from the dangers of ordinary life, that they may the more securely gain the life eternal.
The supplying of this want is a right inseparable from the free profession of Catholicism; this is clear from the declarations of all the bishops demanding it in their memorials. You yourselves have very properly admitted this right for women: why should you then refuse to recognise it in favour of men ? Why this puerile distinction which is recognised, neither by conscience nor by the Church? All history protests against such a distinction.
Monastic orders of men have filled the world with their labours and their fame; they have been the most pure and prolific fruit of religious zeal; they have given to the Church her most celebrated Popes, such as St. Gregory the Great, Sixtus V, and Pius VII; her greatest Doctors, St. Bernard and St. Thomas of Aquin; her most holy Bishops and most holy apostles, such as St. Anselm and St. Vincent of Paul.
They have rendered to civil society and to the world, services no less sig. nal; amidst the darkness which succeeded the fall of the Roman empire, they were a beacon which indicated to a new people, and to twenty successive generations, light, security and peace. They cleared the lands of the half of Europe, and especially of France, in which more than fifty towns yet existing, are indebted for their origin, as well as their names, to the monks. These men whilst they wielded the pick-axe and guided the plough with so much vigour, were wont to enter their cells, to cultivate therein, every field and department of the human mind. They have preserved the deposit of the sciences which they transmitted, and of the manuscripts of all the ancient literature,-all the records and documents of our national history, in a word, all the elements of that very intellectual culture to which their enemies resort in search of arms against them. They have, moreover, preserved and cultivated all the arts without exception, and strewed over the earth gigantic monuments, whose very ruins still excite admiration and surprise.
Finally, it was they who discovered the secret of a charity so sacred, and at the same time so abundant, that pauperism appeared not until after their destruction. [Dissent and mumuring] Gentlemen, I have said pauperism, and not poverty,' and I maintain that pauperism did not make its appearance until after the destruction of the monks. Behold then what these men have done for the world during fifteen centuries. And they accomplished it all without employing constraint, solely by the sovereign power of liberty and love, and in virtue of one principle only, the denial of self, for the love of God, together with one very simple method only-obedience, and in view of but one end only-the salvation of their souls.
Ah! doubtless in their history have been found abuses, degeneracy too, disastrous and sometimes shameful! No one denies it. But has chance disclosed to their enemies any thing under the sun which has been protected from abuse and degeneracy? Has not property had its abuses ? Has not royalty had its