“The function, therefore, of the ... State is twofold: to protect and to foster, but by no means to absorb the family and the individual, or to substitute itself for them. Accordingly, ... it is the ... duty of the State to protect in its legislation,” the rights of the Church and family as regards Christian education. The State is to assist the initiatives of the Church and the family, “whose successes in this field have been clearly demonstrated by history and experience.” Nothing it does in education should conflict with the rights of the Church and family, and it should not exercise “unjust and unlawful monopolies,” either “educational or scholastic, which physically or morally force families to make use of government schools, contrary to the dictates of their Christian conscience, or contrary even to their legitimate preferences.”
Is the State today protecting Catholic education? Just the opposite! Its monopolies in three key areas seriously infringe on the rights of families.
First, there are the humanistic, New Age government-set curricula that even private Catholic schools utilize because of the government monopoly on school-leaving certification, the doorway to university or employment. Even many homeschooling parents feel constrained to send their children to public high schools (at least in their Senior year) to get a diploma. Then there’s the government’s monopoly on teacher certification. Finally, there’s the matter of taxes. In many areas, Catholics pay school taxes, even if their children are schooled at home or in private schools; this is a form of double taxation and a subtle financial coercion to use public schools. The injustice is worsened by the fact that homeschoolers actually save taxpayers the money that would go towards educating their children in public schools.
6. The Nature of the School
Pope Pius XI tells us,
Well, today schools obviously do not consider themselves subsidiary and complementary to the family and the Church. Teaching is no longer a vocation, but a profession. Education is a multi-billion-dollar business and a tool to turn the thinking of entire nations against God and His Church. Many programmes in Catholic schools are in direct opposition to what parents want, and it is astounding that even bishops promote programmes that violate the Christian conscience of parents.
Therefore, in general, it can be said that Catholic schools have now become agents of destruction. The behavioral problems which were virtually nonexistent when schools followed the Catholic blueprint, are a compelling proof of this destruction. Catholic schools are failed institutions, because instead of serving families and the Church, they have become a law unto themselves.
According to Divini Illius,
In other words, God must be put first in the school if it is to succeed. This is also an important point for homeschoolers who may feel worried about whether their children will receive a good enough education to succeed in life. Put God first, educating for His honor and glory; He will see to everything else.
Pius XI says the doctrine imparted must be “deep and solid,” “avoiding muddled superficiality,” and all subjects, even secular ones, brought “into full conformity with the Catholic faith.” If students must “read authors propounding false doctrine, for the purpose of refuting it,” sound doctrine will be an “antidote” and the material will do no harm.
However, today we have the unprecedented situation in which Catholic schools are not permeated with Christian piety, but with humanism, Marxism, feminism and other New Age ideologies — including the occult. Instead of subjects being brought into conformity with Catholicism, and error refuted, the Faith is accommodated to these inimical ideas.
For instance, “politically correct” schools conform to “multiculturalism” by transforming Christmas celebrations into atheistic winter festivals. Others treat the occult Halloween observance like a “feast day,” decorating classrooms with witches and ghosts, displaying books on demons, and holding costume parties; but they ignore All Saints Day. High schools subject students illiterate in the Faith to interfaith activities in order to teach respect for idolatry. Countless other examples from around the world can be cited to show that Catholic curricula are permeated with grave impiety.
Thus, following Pope Pius, just because schools give some religious instruction, (which today is far worse than “stinted,” being usually at variance with Catholic doctrine, practice and morals), does not make them a fit place for Catholic students. They are agents of destruction, harming students, as many parents have discovered to their dismay.
The quality of teachers is crucial to the Catholicity of the Catholic school. Do they know, love and practise their faith? How were they trained? As Pius XI states,
This requirement for Catholic teachers is reiterated in the document Catholic Schools, published by the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education in 1977 :
And in Canon 803 (§2) of the present Code of Canon Law we read, “Teachers must be outstanding in true doctrine and uprightness of life” (emphasis added).
Unfortunately, even while there are still many upright teachers in Catholic schools today, they are a scattered minority and hindered in what they can do. The system tolerates openly liberal or immoral teachers. Further, unions “fight to retain teachers even though they may be injurious to Catholic education.”
The formation of Catholic teachers, said Pope Pius, should be “one of the principal concerns of the pastors of souls and of the superiors of [teaching] religious orders.” Yet, generally today, teacher training is grounded in dissent. Recently, one Ontario bishop courageously excoriated religious ed, sex ed and teacher training. For a brief moment, it looked like other bishops were going to join him, but his being transferred to Rome killed all chances of an episcopal revolt against the Catholic school system.
In promulgating liberal Catholic schools, the bishops are clearly in contravention of Catholic teaching and law. Further, they are guilty of a serious injustice, trampling on the rights of the child. According to Pope Pius,
Even private parent-run schools are not necessarily perfectly Catholic as some of their teachers, especially the younger ones, would have been subjected to, and perhaps tainted by, liberal training. These teachers, however well-intentioned, cannot pass on the Catholic Faith properly if their own knowledge and formation are defective.
Pius XI flies in the face of modern educators by promulgating the Christian teaching that original sin has left in human nature weakness of will and disorderly inclinations:
He says Pope Leo XIII “pointed out that without proper religious and moral instruction, ‘every form of intellectual culture will be injurious; for young people not accustomed to respect God will be unable to bear the restraint of a virtuous life, and never having learned to deny themselves anything, they will easily be incited to disturb the public order.’”
Hence, Pope Pius condemns “every form of pedagogic naturalism which in any way excludes or weakens supernatural Christian formation in the teaching of youth” and which tries to “emancipate” the child from all authority. He says,
It’s incredible to see condemned in 1929 what today is called “child-centered education,” and to realize that liberating children from authority — the goal of Freemasonry, noted above  — was already occurring at that time. Child-centered education is a naturalistic education which gives the child almost full autonomy in the choice of subjects and in his behaviour. Children teach themselves or their peers and are subjected to very little structured or systematic learning. Naturally, academic standards fall.
Pope Pius affirms that just punishment is neither despotism nor violence; however, today corporal punishment is generally forbidden, and teachers who attempt other methods of discipline often don’t have the support of the system or of parents. The result is that discipline has broken down, and violence in schools has increased to the point of massacres by children. Children not taught to deny themselves are indeed disturbing the public order, and at ever younger ages.
As the pontiff notes, if children do not learn the “fear of God, the beginning of wisdom,” which engenders respect for authority, then order, peace and prosperity will be impossible in both family and society. He blames lack of parental discipline for the “growth of evil passions in the hearts of the younger generation.” He exhorts parents and teachers, as “vicars” of God, to use their God-given authority. Unfortunately, the State today has destroyed that authority through child-abuse education in schools that gives children the power to send their parents and teachers to jail.
Many Catholics will be surprised to learn that co-education is “false and harmful to Christian education” as it is generally “founded upon naturalism and the denial of original sin,” and always “upon a deplorable confusion of ideas that mistakes a levelling promiscuity and equality for the legitimate association of the sexes.”
“Promiscuity” in this context refers to mixing of the sexes; the Pope is thus condemning the use of co-education to demonstrate equality of the sexes. He explains further:
Vatican II’s Declaration on Christian Education does not condemn co-education, only remarking that “[i]n the entire educational program,” teachers should “make full allowance for the difference of sex and for the particular role which providence has appointed to each sex.” Such a self-contradictory position is, of course, impossible to sustain in practice.
Today co-education is the norm. Not only is equality of the sexes thus practised, but it is also systematically preached in all subjects. Feminists have long made a concerted effort to remove what they call “sex-role stereotyping” and to blur the distinctions between the sexes, and this bias is found in literature and grammar texts, and even in math — and, of course, in sex education. This false belief in absolute equality, stemming from Freemasonry and Communism, involves the suppression of all distinctions, and destroys the God-given hierarchy in family life.
Also contradicting the Catholic blueprint, we find both sexes exercising together (and it’s becoming a “right” for them to play on the same sports teams). As for the dress and behaviour of girls, modesty doesn’t usually seem to be the guiding factor.
There is an interesting domino effect between co-education and declining disciplinary and academic standards. Teachers have observed that after the sexes were mixed (starting around the late 1960s), it became difficult to maintain discipline, and interest in learning decreased — which validates Pius XI’s wise warning that co-education harms Christian education.
11. Sex education
This criterion constitutes the litmus test for the Catholicity of our schools and, indeed, of our bishops. Pope Pius condemns it outright:
The Pope cites the “holy and learned” Renaissance Cardinal Silvio Antoniano, “to whom the cause of Christian education is greatly indebted,” and who “had been a disciple of that wonderful educator of youth, St. Philip Neri,” and a teacher to St. Charles Borromeo:
Thus, it is clear that sex education in the classroom is totally against Catholic teaching and no school can be considered Catholic that has it. No bishop can be considered Catholic or solicitous for youth who subjects their purity to grave danger in his schools — but then, the bishops are only following Vatican II!
Vatican II mandated sex education. In Gravissimum Educationis it stated: “As they grow older [children] should receive a positive and prudent education in matters relating to sex.” Just one sentence — but it overturned five hundred years of teaching by saints, scholars and popes! Yet how many conservative devotees of Vatican II, who have aggressively fought sex education, realize that the Council gave it the green light? Pope John Paul also promotes sex education — in schools “controlled” by parents and under the latter’s “attentive guidance.” In practice, of course, there is no cooperation with concerned parents, which is not surprising, as the first principle of classroom sex education is breached, namely, that it is not to be done — leave alone for twelve years!
Note that Pope Pius did not say there is such a thing as “Catholic” sex education. Those, therefore, who propose “Catholic” sex ed programs to replace secular ones obviously believe that some public sex education is necessary. But the pontiff made it clear this is not a subject for schools — period. As he recognized, the spurious reason for this education is that “ignorance” is responsible for evils like teen pregnancy, abortion and disease. But such education, especially in mixed classes, exposes children to dangerous occasions of sin; and since many of them — notably highschoolers — are unsupported by the means of grace to resist temptation, as they don’t go to Mass or confession, the result is widespread amorality.
How many students will remain unharmed by “Church-approved” lessons in pornography and perversion, and indoctrination in accepting every immoral grouping as “family”? How can modesty survive classroom discussions? St. Paul forbade such discussions: “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints.” Parents should greatly fear Jesus’ warning that only the clean of heart, i.e., those pure in mind and body, will see God.
Incredibly, educators are not content with keeping sex on children’s minds in school alone. Interfering with family life, some schools have the temerity to encourage parents to bombard even very young children with it, providing home materials to reinforce the school course. Such solicitude for their students’ knowledge does not extend, however, to subjects like arithmetic!
We can apply to morals what Pope Pius said about faith: “Whoever disturbs the pupil’s faith in any way, does him grave wrong, inasmuch as he abuses the trust which children place in their teachers, and takes unfair advantage of their inexperience and of their natural craving for unrestrained liberty....”
By papal definition, therefore, bishops and schools that promote graphic, naturalistic sex ed are guilty of child abuse. Hierarchical or lay initiatives to strengthen the family are meaningless as long as — with episcopal backing — children are spiritually and morally abused in Catholic schools and the authority of parents overturned.
The Safest Catholic Education
Pope Leo XIII commanded that we must “refuse to send children to schools in which there is danger of imbibing the deadly poison of impiety.” Canon 793 (§1) says parents must choose those institutes which can best promote the Catholic education of their children, whilst Canon 798 says, “If they cannot do this, they are bound to ensure the proper Catholic education of their children outside the school” (emphasis added). Clearly, then, it is our duty to keep our children away from today’s un-Catholic “Catholic” school.
The belief held by many Catholics, that it is good training for their children to attend such schools so they can refute error by word or example, is mistaken. It is not Church teaching. Parents should shield their children from danger, not assign them to fight in the front lines. However well armed, most children cannot survive such a war unscathed.
The safest alternative is homeschooling. Since its goal is to protect children’s souls and produce true Catholics, it is completely in conformity with Church teaching. Pope Pius noted that since the father generates the child, “the family holds directly from the Creator the mission and hence the right to educate the offspring.” And Gravissimum observes, “The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute.”
But what about parents’ ability to teach? In his encyclical Casti Connubii, On Christian Marriage (1930), Pius XI said it is natural for parents to possess the ability to teach their own children as “God would have failed to make sufficient provision for children ... if He had not given [to parents who] beget them, the power also and the right to educate them.” This power comes from the sacramental and actual graces flowing from the sacrament of matrimony, so that, “If ... doing all that lies within their power, they cooperate diligently [with the grace] they will be able with ease to ... fulfill their duties.”
Of course, homeschooling involves considerable sacrifice for parents. However, according to Blessed Pius IX,
That is the cost of Catholic parenthood today. Parents who subject their children to spiritually ruinous education, when they could teach them at home, run the risk of losing their own souls. Pius XI says children are “a talent committed to their charge by God” and are “to be restored with interest on the day of reckoning.”
We must consider ourselves missionaries in a barbaric world that can only be civilized by true Catholic education. We should study and widely promote Pius XI’s blueprint  and insist that it is followed in the schools. But until it is, and until the system is re-Catholicized, we must homeschool to protect our children. Homeschooling also sends the message that we are dissatisfied with the Catholicity of our schools.
Pope Pius tells us,
Catholic homeschooling is the most powerful defence of the Catholic school. It is obviously a religious enterprise demanded by conscience. It is the most important apostolate for parents today as such education will not only benefit our children, but also the Church, nations, and our whole civilization.
Without the resurgence of Christian civilization, we face a new Dark Age: the socialist Masonic world state and its “reign of unheard-of terror.”
34. Pius XI addressed this financial injustice: “For the State ... is provided with the means put at its disposal for the needs of all, and it is only right that it use these means to the advantage of those who have contributed them.”
Originally published in Catholic Family News, July 2003.
(Bold emphases added.)
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