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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 55

Archbishop Moran in Reply

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Archbishop Moran in Reply.

The inauguration of a now school-church at Macdonaldtown on Sunday afternoon was taken advantage of by Archbishop Moran to reply to an article which appeared in this journal a month ago. The article in question was the outcome of the previous public utterances of the distinguished prelate. It will be generally admitted that since his advent in Sydney he has lost no opportunity of trying to persuade his hearers that schools such as those established by the State in this colony are hotbeds immorality, and that virtue and good citizenship are only to be secured by the training vouchsafed in schools under priestly control. Pocket-picking, thieving, sedition and even dynamite outrages were calmly laid by him at the door of the public school. In the article to which he has made reference we joined issue with him on this question, and appealed to statistics to prove that facts were against his contention and demonstrated exactly the opposite of that which he asserted. Incidentally glancing at the notorious circumstance that men of the O'DEnovan Rossa and James Carey type are not the product of State education, we had recourse to Mr. Hayter's recently issued Victorian Year book to show that in the neighbouring colony the Roman Catholics supplied the gaols with more than double the number of occupants which their proportion to the population warranted. Archbishop Moran in his reply attempts to traverse our incidental observation, but leaves our main attack altogether unnoticed.

The question between us is a very simple one, and is of the Archbishop's own raising. Does the training given by the schools of the State in these colonies produce more criminality than the training accorded under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church? If it does, the results ought to show themselves, we maintain, in the gaol returns. References to the divorces in America, or illegitimate births in Scotland, or agrarian troubles in Ireland are beside the mark. If we were called upon to uphold the opposite view to that presented by Dr. Moran in these instances, we might find much to say; but we are not. We are confining our attention for the present to the issue which his Grace has raised. In those colonies for many years past, Roman Catholics have been, through the influence of their pastors, kept to a large extent away from the State schools and have been trained in the schools of the church. The other denominations have been mainly trained in the schools of the S ate. If the latter are hotbeds of immorality and the former nurseries of virtue, how are we to account for the story told by the Victorian statistician?

At the time we wrote the article to which exception has been taken, Mr. Hayter's volume lay before US, and so we bad recourse to it. Now, however, let us inquire if the returns issued in New South Wales are better calculated to support the Archbishop's assumption. The total number of prisoners in the gaols of this colony in the year 1883 was : males, 14,050; and females, 4516. Of the males there were 7104 Protestants, 0612 Catholics, and 334 Jews, Pagans, &c. Had these sections borne the same relation to each other in criminality that they did in population, they would have stood respectively, in round numbers, 9200 Protestants, 4100 Catholics, and 700 Jews, Pagans, &c. Of the female prisoners, 2019 were Protestants, 2471 Catholics, and 26 Jews, Pagans, &c. Here again, were there no undue predominance, the returns should have been according to population, about 3000 Protestar, 1000 Catholics, and 200 Jews, Pagans, &c. The Protestants, who have to look so largely to the State schools for their training, constitute nearly seven-tenths of the total population of this colony. They contribute about five-tenths of its crime. The Roman Catholics, who avoid the State schools, comprise about three-tenths of the population and contribute also nearly half of the crime. They are less than half the Protestant population, but in the gaols they appear in equal numbers. For Slate purposes the test of a good education is good citizenship, and, indeed, the only valid excuse for its taking part in the work of education is that it may evoke good citizenship. If Archbishop Moran could substantiate his accusation that the State schools fail in this respect when compared with the schools of his church, he might hope to convince the State of the wisdom of pacing money out of the State coffers to encourage and support the church schools. Bat so long as the inexorable logic of facts is against him, we fear that his many addresses—excepting in their undoubted influence on his own flock—will prove but "windy suspiration of forced breath."