Divini Illius Magistri
Christian Education of Youth

Pope Pius XI
December 31, 1929

Christian Education of Youth (Divini Illius Magistri), encyclical by Pope Pius XI

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Why today's Catholic schools are failures

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Description of Contents

Divini Illius Magistri is the BLUEPRINT for Catholic education!

In this encyclical, Pope Pius XI set down the crystal-clear Catholic teaching on the principles of true Christian education.

Basing himself on Scripture, the encyclicals of his predecessors, and St. Thomas Aquinas, the Pope presents the topic under the following main headings:

  • The importance of Christian education
  • The rights of the Church in every form of education
  • The rights and duties of the family
  • The rights and duties of the State
  • The rights of the child
  • The goal and content of Christian education
  • The dangers of naturalistic, humanistic education
  • The errors of sex education and co-education
  • The characteristics of a truly Catholic school: its teachers, atmosphere, curriculum
  • The fruits of a Christian education: peace, progress, salvation of souls

Christian Education of Youth makes it abundantly clear that all public and most private Catholic schools today do not meet the standards for Catholic education. This is because the blueprint for Catholic education was replaced after Vatican II with naturalistic, humanistic, New Age education.


"The proper and immediate end of Christian education is to cooperate with divine grace in forming the true and perfect Christian, that is, to form Christ Himself in those regenerated by baptism....

"For precisely this reason, Christian education takes in the whole aggregate of human life ... in order to elevate, regulate and perfect it, in accordance with the example and teaching of Christ.

"For it is the aim of the ecclesiastical authority, by the use of spiritual means, to form good Christians ... and in doing this it helps at the same time to form good citizens.... in the City of God, the Holy Roman Catholic Church, a good citizen and an upright man are absolutely one and the same thing. How grave, therefore, is the error of those who ... think that they can produce good citizens by ways and methods other than those which make for the formation of good Christians.... it is impossible to produce true temporal peace and tranquillity by things repugnant or opposed to the peace and happiness of eternity.

"... there cannot be full justice except in giving to God what is due to God, as the true Christian does.

"The extent of the Church's mission in the field of education is such as to embrace every nation, without exception, according to the command of Christ:'Teach ye all nations' (Matt. 28:19); and there is no power on earth that may lawfully oppose her.... the mission to educate belongs pre-eminently to the Church....

"'... it is the duty of parents to make every effort to prevent any invasion of their rights ... , and to make absolutely sure that the education of their children remains under their own control, in keeping with their Christian duty, and above all to refuse to send them to those schools in which there is danger of imbibing the deadly poison of impiety.' (Pope Leo XIII)

"Accordingly, unjust and unlawful is any monopoly, educational or scholastic, which physically or morally forces families to make use of government schools, contrary to the dictates of their Christian conscience, or contrary even to their legitimate preferences.

"Besides, every Christian child or youth has a strict right to instruction in harmony with the teaching of the Church.... And whoever disturbs the pupil's faith ... abuses the trust which children place in their teachers....

"... the school is by its very nature an institution subsidiary and complementary to the family and to the Church.... it must not be in opposition to, but in positive accord with those other two elements .... Otherwise it is doomed to ... become instead an agent of destruction.

"For the mere fact that a school gives some religious instruction ... does not ... make it a fit place for Catholic students. To be this, it is necessary that all the teaching and the whole organization of the school, and its teachers, syllabus and textbooks in every branch be regulated by the Christian spirit, under the direction and maternal supervision of the Church ... and this in every grade of school, ... [including] the higher institutions of learning as well.

"'It is necessary not only that religious instruction be given ..., but also that every other subject taught be permeated with Christian piety.... if this sacred atmosphere does not pervade and warm the hearts of masters and scholars alike, little good can be expected from any kind of learning, and considerable harm will often be the consequence.' (Pope Leo XIII)

"For whatever Catholics do in promoting and defending the Catholic school ... is a genuinely religious work and therefore an important task of 'Catholic Action.'"

The school that does not follow this BLUEPRINT is not a Catholic school!

Parents and teachers, if you don't want to be "agents of destruction," study and put into practice this encyclical.

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Catholic schools today ignore the Catholic Blueprint

The Result:

"In general, it can be said that Catholic schools have now become agents of destruction. Catholic schools are failed institutions, because instead of serving families and the Church, they have become a law unto themselves."

— Cornelia Ferreira


Read Cornelia Ferreira's comprehensive analysis of modern Catholic education, which shows it has rejected every principle of true Christian education as outlined in the Blueprint, Divini Illius Magistri.

Referencing the Blueprint, her point-by-point indictment of today's so-called "Catholic" schools reveals that one of the major forces attacking the Catholic Church and families, and the whole of society, is the modernist post-Vatican II system of education.

Click here for the 2-part article "What is Catholic Education?"


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