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Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
March 1, 1930     Arkansas Catholic
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March 1, 1930
 

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To the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops and Other Ordinaries--In Peace and Communion With the Apostolic See--And to All the Faithful of the Catholic World The representative on earth of that Divine Master who, though em- bracing in the immensity of His lov~ all men, even sinners and unworthy people, showed special tender pre- dilection for children and expressed Himself in these touching words, "Suffer little children to come unto me," we have tried on every occasion ~o show our paternal predilection to- ward them, particularly in the assid- uous care and opportune teachings which to~ch Christian education of youth. Thus, echoing our Divine Master, "we addressed salutary words, some- times of warning, sometimes of ex- hortation, sometimes of direction to young people, to their educators, to the fathers and mothers of families, on various points of Christian edu- cation, with that opportune and in- opportune insistence which belongs to our pastoral ministry. The apos- tle said: "Be instant in season, out of season, reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine." Yuch insistence is required in ovr days, wherein, alas! we must deplore such great lack of clear healthy principles even regarding fundamental prob- lems. The general conditions of our times to which we referred above and the discussion raging at present in various countries round scholastic and pedagogic problems and the conse- quent desire expressed by many of you, my venerable brothers, and your faithful, to hear our words, and fi- nally our intense affection for young people, induced us to return to this subject, if not to treat it in the whole of its almost inexhaustible exPanse of doctrine and practice, at least to sum up its main principles, to cast full light on some coficlu- sions and to point out some practical applications. A Jubilee Memento May this be the remembrance of our sacerdotal jubilee which we dedi- cate with special intentioz and af- fection to the dear youth of the world, and which We recommend to all whose mission and duty it is to occupy themselves with its educa- tion. In truth, never as in the present times has there been such discussion of education. Therefore masters of new pedagogic theories multiply and new methods and means not only to facilitate but to create new educa- tion of infallible efficacy ~o inform new generations for their desired happiness on earth areelaborated, proposed and discussed. Men created by God in His image and likeness and destined to Him who is infinite perfection, while they no- tice today more than ever, an abun- dance of material progress and suffi, ciency of earthly goods for the felic- ity of individuals and nations, they at the same time feel more alive within themselves the urge toward higher perfection, which has been in- culcated in their nature by the Crea- tor, and wish to reach this higher perfection chiefly by means of edu- cation. Many of them, however, insisting too much on the etymological sense of the word, think they can extract :t from veryhuman nature and put ;t in effect with only its own strength. T n this they err, because, instead of directing their aims at God, the first principle and final end of the whole universe, they rely only on them- selves and trust only in earthly tem- poral things. Therefore their agita- tien will be continuous and ificessant until they turn their eyes and their efforts to God, who is the only aim of perfection, according to the deep prophecy of St. Augustine, "Thou created us, 0 Lord, and restless is our heart till it rests in Thee.." It is, therefore, of supreme impor- tance not to err in the direction to- ward the ultimate end, with which the whole work of education neces- sarily is intimately connected. In fact, since education consists essen- tially in the formation of man, such as he must be in life on earth, to at- tain the sublime purpose for which he was created, it is evident that in the ~ame way as no true education can exist which is not entirely aimed at the ultimate end, so in the pres- ent order of providence after, that is to say, God revealed Himself to us in His Son, who alone is the "path of truth and life," no perfect or even adequate education can exist which is not Christian education. Necessary to Whole of Society. This renders manifest the supreme importance of Christian education, not only for single individuals but for families and for the whole 6f hu- man society, since perfection of the latter can only spring from perfection of the elements which com- pose it. Similarly the above said principles render clear the insuper- able excellence of Christian education which is one that .aims "in the ulti- mate analysis to ensure God to the souls of those who must be educat- ed and the greatest well-being possi- ble on this earth t~ human society. It aims at these results in the most efficacious manner possible to man by ,collaborating, that is to say, with God, to perfect individuals and so- ciety, inasmuch as education im- presses on souls the most powerful, h~ost lasting direction in life, accord- ing to the saying of the prophet: "A young man according to his way, even when he is old he will not depart from it." With reason, therefore, St. John Crysostom said: "What is thero greater than to govern the souls, grea er than to form the customs of young people?" But there is no word which reveals the supernaturM greatness, beauty and excellence of the work of Chris- tian education better than the sub- lime expression of love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, "who identifying him- self with children declared: "Whoso- ever shall receive this child in My name, reeeiveth me." In order not to err in this work of supreme importance and conduct it in the best possible way with the help of Divine grace, it is necessary to have a clear and exact idea of Chris- tian education in its essential parts. It is necessary to know to whom be- longs the mission of educating, which are the necessary concomitant con- ditions and what the aim and proper form of Christian education accord- ing to the order established by God. Education )s necessarily social, not individual work. Now there are nec- essary societies separate but still har- moniously joined by God, in whose bosom man was born. Two are nat- urn! societies, namely, the family and civil society; the third, the Church, is supernatural. First the family was instituted by God for His own purposes, which are the procreation ~d education of children. The family, therefore has priority in nature and, therefore, pri- ority of rights, compared with civil society. Nevertheless, the family is an imperfect society because it has not within itself all the means for its own perfection. Civil society, on the other hand, is a perfect society, having within it- self all the means to achieve its pur- pose, which is common temporal good. In this respect, therefore, or in other words, in respect to the common good, civil society has pre-eminence over the family which reaches its temporal perfection in civil society. The third society whereby man was born through baptism to life and grace is the Church, ciety of a supernatural and sal character, a perfect cause it has within itself all the to its end, which is the eternal of man. It is therefore, its order. As a consequence education concerns the whole of man both dividually and socially, both iv:! spect of nature and in res grace, belongs to all three of societies which are necessary t0! coordination of their ;pective n proportionate manner t.he present order of providence tablished by God. Belongs Pre-eminently to In the first place, education longs pre-eminently to the for two supernatural reasons God Himself conferred on her and which, therefore, solutely superior to other a natural order. The first reason is the ex sion to teach entruste~d to the by its Divine founder. "All is given to me in Heaven and earth. Going, therefore, nations; baptizing them in the bf the Father, and of the of the Holy Ghost. to observe all things have commanded you; and am with you all days, even consummation of the world." At the same time as a teach, Christ conferred in educative wbrk on His Wherefore, "the Church was tuted by its Divine author as the umn and foundation of truth i~ o that it may teach men Divine and may direct and inform their actions toward honesty toms and integrity of life acct to revealed doctrine." The second reason is maternity, whereby the Immaculate bride of Christ, ates, nourishes and educates that Divine life of grace sacraments and its teachings. fore, with good reason St. tine affirms : "He shall not have god for who refused the Church for Therefore, "God himself Church participate in His Divine) cative mission, rendering it vine intervention immune from Hence the Church is t4he teacher of men and her right to is inherent and inviolable." It follows as a natural that the Church is earthly sovereignty both "in and the exercise of its mission, not only with respect specific aim, but also with to the means necessary to The Church therefore, has pendent right to judge whether other system or method of is he!PfUl or harmful to ucation. And this is so both the Church, being a perfect has independent rights on all to its end, and because every of teaching, just like any actioJ certain relations with the aim of man, and cannot escape the rules of Divine which the Church is the todiat% interpreter and teacher. Pope Plus X's Dictum. Pope Plus X lucidly