Rome in Politics.
Auckland: Wright and Jaques, Newspaper and General Printers, Albert Street. 1893.
Rome in Politics.
It is seldom that I use the platform for any purpose other than the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as I understand it to be revealed in the Bible; but at this juncture in the history of our Colony there are certain great questions pressing upon our attention as citizens which call for some decided utterance from every public teacher. Foremost amongst these is that which is forced upon our notice by the Roman Catholic Bishops of Auckland and Dunedin. Some years ago the Parliament of this Colony introduced the present system of State education, to replace the provincial systems, which in some cases were working very unsatisfactorily. As a result of close and lengthened inquiries, the new system introduced was made free, secular, and compulsory, because it was seen that no true State system could work for the weal of the greatest number if framed to meet the wishes of those who advocated denominational education. In a speech delivered before the House of Representatives, in 1885, the Hon. Robert Stout, then Minister of Education, re-affirmed the canons of State education: "First, that the first great right of the State is to exist and to perpetuate its own existence. Without this there could be no stability in government, and no such thing as social order. If this be granted, then, secondly, the State has a right to do whatever things will tend to preserve its own existence: one of these is to establish universal suffrage, as a recognition of individual rights, and as a necessary condition of its own existence; thirdly, it must provide for universal intelligence and social morality, else universal suffrage will become a curse to the State; fourthly, it must establish universal education as a necessary condition of universal intelligence and social morality; and fifthly, in Older to obtain universal education, it must have a system of public schools. And a recent writer has said that 'the true function of the State is to make the most of the citizen. This is its only inexhaustible function'; and if anything is to be made of the citizen he must be educated. These are the grounds of interference by the State with education. . . . To establish such a system as denominationalists ask, of having as many schools as there are sects, all endowed by the Government, would tend, I believe, to social disorder, tend to page 4 weaken the ideas of the duties of citizenship, and not tend to the strengthening of the State's position." These remarks I heartily endorse.
When, some twelve years ago, I came to the Colony, I was immediately struck with the superiority of your school system over that of England, where the working of the conscience clause was peculiarly obnoxious to the Radical party. Further acquaintance with your system, and speaking as a father of children (some of whom have received their entire training in, and others are now passing through, the public schools), I may add practical familiarity with its results, have served to increase my admiration for it. I do not mean to claim for it an absolute perfection; there are defects, doubtless, which wise counsels, fostered by time and experience, will remove. But amongst its excellencies stands preeminently its free and secular character. I say that because I do not believe that it is any part of the duty of the State to teach religion. I say it the more strongly because of the numerous and often conflicting sects into which men are unhappily divided.
This system does not meet with a cordial acceptance from some sections of the community, and efforts are now being made to change it in the direction of securing State aid to denominational schools. Whilst the Anglicans and others are seeking to introduce the. Bible or a text-book into the public schools, the Human Catholic Bishops are making a demand for State aid. It is against the latter claim that I speak to-night. A "pronouncement" has been sent forth by Bishop Luck, of Auckland, containing his advice, and the advice of his brother Roman Catholic Bishop of Dunedin, to the Catholic electors, that at the forthcoming elections they should vote only for such men as will support the Catholic claim "that the Education Act be amended so as to relieve us from the injustice of the Act as it is now in force," which means, according to Catholic interpretation, that as the Catholics form a seventh of the population, they contribute a seventh of the taxes; and therefore a seventh of the education vote should be handed over to them, that they may train their own children, in their own way, in their own schools, away from the influence of what Bishop Moran elegantly calls "the plundering, godless system of education." This claim is not conceded, hence the "injustice."
I wish you to understand that in my remarks I do not wish to say a hard or an unkind word against my fellow-citizens who are Roman Catholics; I am simply to give reasons why we, as their fellow-citizens, having equal interests with them in the good government and well-being of the community, and having equal voting privileges, cannot concede the demand made by their ecclesiastical leaders.
It is therefore from the citizen's standpoint that I speak against page 5 this pronouncement. I look upon the leaflet circulated by Bishop Luck as a cast of the gauntlet. It is a declaration on the part of the Roman Catholic hierarchy that they intend to work for the overthrow of our present school system. Selfishly intent upon their own interests, if they can secure their ends, it matters not though the system now in existence be completely wrecked, and numbers of their fellow-colonists be deprived of that which is to them of great benefit.
One feature of this present agitation is that on the part of Bishop Moran there is an apparent effort not to address himself to the intelligence of his people, but to arouse their passions by an attempt to show that in this matter the Government treats them in an intolerant and prejudiced manner.
Does your Lordship think that secularists really desire that Catholic children should frequent public schools? Secondly, do you think that the Government and Parliament of the country intend, or ever intended, to make any provision for the education of Catholic children in any schools whatsoever?
If secularists really desired Catholic children to frequent public schools, they would have supplied sufficient accommodation for them in these schools should they go there; and they would also have seen that a fair number of Catholic teachers, in order to inspire Catholics with confidence, should be employed in these schools.
It is notorious that Catholic candidates for situations as teachers in these schools have been rejected, on the solo ground of their being Catholics.
Secularists pretend it is their desire to have Catholics in the public schools, as they are unwilling to have 12,000 or 14,000 bright and clever Catholic children to compete with their darlings, and thus lessen the chances of those darlings monopolising the loaves and fishes.
Rubbish! Really, this Bishop can utter the most egregious nonsense that ever occurred to any creature with brains. One might suppose that an ogre stands at the entrance of every public school, asking each child as it enters what is its religious belief, and turning back the "bright and clever "Catholic child! As a matter of fact, no question is asked of such a nature; and a further fact is that in Auckland half the Catholic children are' in the public schools, in spite of the refusal of the Romish clergy to give the sacrament to the parents who allow their children to attend them.
Have I not proved that the language is an appeal to the passion of the Catholic people rather than to their intelligence? On this matter I think that the people are more intelligent than their leaders, and will show it by ignoring the pronouncements.
Five Roman Catholics can petition for a separate school. The petition being granted, all Roman Catholics within a radius of three miles every way can be compelled to support it. No matter if they prefer the public school, the law compels them to support the Roman Catholic school. All known Catholics, and all believed to be Roman Catholics, are taxed, and deliverance from the same can only be obtained by a process of law which is irritating if not dangerous.
It is interesting to note that there is a determined effort on the page 7 part of the Protestant element to break through this system; not to secure peculiar advantages for themselves, but to put all upon an equal footing. How the position in Canada is viewed by Americans may well be seen in the words of an American: "We Americans now enjoy the unusual privilege of seeing the garotter who has determined to strangle us to-morrow perform the operation of choking the victim he has selected for to-day. If we are wise, forewarned will be forearmed, and the fingers that now clutch the Canadian throat will be handcuffed before they embrace our jugular vein."
In America a determined effort has been made to establish a system of parochial schools, and to enforce the attendance of all Catholic children. This, although many schools have been opened, has failed in its compulsory aspect, because many of the priests and more intelligent of the laity—educated in the public schools—have opposed the arbitrary decree of the Baltimore Plenary Council. The message from the Pope, confirming the action of Monsignor Satolli on this question, has compelled the parochial school party to back down. There is no doubt that the attitude taken by American citizens has brought forth this mild Papal approbation. As I view it, the Romish hierarchy of America thought their power strong enough to force the question, but they found that they had to encounter, not only a revival of the old spirit of Puritanic resistance, but an unexpected opposition in their own people who had been trained in the public schools. As Rome is yielding enough where not strong enough to compel, expediency has suggested that at present no further open opposition shall be made to the public school system of America. That decision does not affect other States, and so it happens that the Romish bishops of New Zealand think that now is the opportunity to strike a blow against our public school system, and we, who desire to preserve it intact, must gird ourselves to defend our position, and to resist their assaults.
To concede this demand would be to make a breach into a system which has so far worked effectively. By our State system the children are brought together in common school life just at that period when impressions are most easily made. Education being free and secular, the existence of class distinctions and religious prejudices is not recognised, and cannot therefore be fostered. The fact that these are ignored must Largely minimise their importance, if it does not actually destroy them. It may be true that the child of Wesleyan parentage remains a Wesleyan, but it is certain that sectarian difference's will be mellowed, and he will have in after life a greater kindliness for his Anglican and Presbyterian fellow-citizens with whom he was educated. He has conned with them the same lesson in a common school-room, and has joined in the same games in the playground, and by sheer force of circumstances he has early and imperceptibly learned the valuable lesson of toleration. page 8 This must be a benefit to the State in serving to weld its people together. The older countries teem with illustrations which show the harmful character of class and sectarian education. Why, where there exist denominational schoools it has been no uncommon thing for pitched battles to occur between the scholars, and the antipathy then engendered has been an evil thing for the scholars, and in after years for the State: the existence of religious antipathies often preventing united action to secure a common good. The intermingling of the children under the present system, which knows nothing of religious differences, is a good which is of itself sufficient to make us resist any effort in the direction of introducing sectarianism. Until it is shown that our system results in a positive evil to the State, we are not justified in exchanging it for another which, whatever it may yield to the favoured sect, can only be hurtful to the community at large.
In a district where there are forty children—ten Catholics, ten Episcopalians, ten Presbyterians, ten Methodists—if you had the distribution of the money voted by the State, how would you apply it in educating the children denominationally?
Ans.: I would divide the money proportionately amongst the heads of denominations.
Would not that mean that in such a district, as it would not pay any denomination to establish a school, the children would have to page 9 grow up in ignorance? The towns would be cared for and the country be neglected. The present system reaches the country districts, and carries its benefits to all, and for that reason should be conserved—no breach allowed to be made in it to benefit a selfish community.
In the province of Auckland, in the Roman Catholic schools . . . a system of education had been for ten years under the supervision of the clergy of the Catholic Church. What was the result? The educational results were so low, and the schools so inefficient, that the laity actually rebelled against the control of their spiritual superiors, at least in educational matters. There were other causes, to which he need not refer, which influenced the Catholic laity in bringing their clergy to book: but no doubt the principal reasons for the course taken by the Roman Catholic laity was, the general neglect of education in the Catholic schools.
The present bishops may be perfectly honest, but in the change of authorities there is always a danger that there may be maladministration arising from incompetency.* The past history gives a loud-voiced warning which at present is more clamant than the modern pronouncements.
The Church. . . . flatly contradicts the assumption on the part of the State of the prerogative of education, and determinedly opposes the effort to bring up the youth of the country for purely secular and temporal purposes. (Vol. II. p. 439.)
Ques: Suppose a school solely to be composed of Roman Catholic children, would you ask the Council to make such an exceptional case?
Ans.: What the Catholic Church requires is, to have the appointment of teachers, the selection of books, the inspection of the Schools, and its entire management.
Ques.: If the present Act should pass, and a mixed board, consisting in part of Catholics, be constituted for the selection of teachers books, &c., could Roman Catholics in your opinion, with due regard to their Catholicity, avail themselves of the advantages of the schools?
Ans.: If the following condition were inserted in the Act they could:—First . . . the appointment of the teachers, and selection of the books by the patron, namely, the Right Rev. the Roman Catholic Bishop for the time being, or his representative, the Very Rev. the Vicar-General.
This is a pretty large order, and it is well for us to know just what is meant by the demand now before us. If the State is to be simply collector of taxes and paymaster to the denominations, with-out having control of teachers and tuition, then all security as to the nature of the teaching is gone. It is asserted by Americans that the text-books of history which are employed in the parochial schools of the States are specially designed to glorify Roman Catholicism and to vilify Protestantism. That may happen here—perhaps it does so already in the Catholic schools—but we can never consent that the State should be a party to the impartation of instruction which is untruthful. It can never consent to hand over the complete training of the children to an organisation which may have other objects to serve, and can falsify history to reach them. Here I come to an important point.
This claim made by the Romish bishops is not to be looked upon as a question of denominational grant merely, as against a free secular education. I am opposed to State aid to denominational schools, but when we have to deal with Rome it is well to know what she means by her demand for aid. The ordinary arguments against denominationalism do not cut at the root of her claims, Behind and beneath these is something more, to which I now proceed to call attention. It is a familiar theme to those who have read much of the history of the past struggles for religious freedom, but perhaps some of my hearers know little of these, and it is well to mention at this time the facts and principles which underlie these Romish claims. Some may imagine that the Catholic Church, having erected so many schools, and having made such strenuous page 11 efforts to educate the Catholic children, shows a laudable spirit, which ought to be encouraged. It may seem a thankless word if I here say that Rome does not really desire to educate the children; that she is not actuated by any supreme desire to remove the ignorance which rests upon the youthful mind, to aid the children to become members of a State which shall be guided by the principles of reason and truth. This, I say, may appear ungracious in view of the facts; but I affirm it. If she now educates, it is only because she is stung into action by forces outside herself, and beyond her control. She educates to keep the children she would otherwise lose. It is a notorious truth, illustrated by the experience of Spain, Italy, Austria, Mexico, and South America, that Roman Catholic priests, when they had their way, never gave a primary school education enough to lit the population for the duties and responsibilities of free government. I do not deny that she has done good educational work, and that there are many names of towering grandeur in scholarship connected with her, but her benefits have been given to the limited few, never to the people. It has been an education of the cloister, the castle, and the palace, never for the peasant's hut. Her policy has been to keep the masses ignorant, in harmony with the time-honoured maxim, "Ignorance is the mother of devotion."
When the Papal States were entered by Victor Emanuel, 80 per cent. of the people could neither read nor write. Think of it! Here the Romish Church had complete control of all affairs, temporal and spiritual, and yet the people were in darkest, densest ignorance. Under the shadow of the Vatican, within which wealth and learning dwelt in a blaze of splendour, lived an ignorant, down-trodden population, yielding but 5 per cent. that could read and write! Look at Spain to-day, where Rome has controlled all education for centuries. She has 16,000,000 people, 12,000,000 of whom can neither read nor write. In 1864 she had 58 colleges, with 14,000 students in them, nearly all priests and monks, being trained to prey upon the ignorance and superstition of the people! In Mexico that Church has had full control for 300 years, with this as a result. Dr. Green, visiting at Pachuca, writing to Dr. King, of New York, says: "Potatoes sell for a penny apiece, and you buy them one at a time, for the seller cannot count!" Three hundred years of Romish education in Mexico, and the people have not learned to count two potatoes! Says Dr. Dille, in commenting on this: "In Ireland they have taught the people to count potatoes and not much else, except the catechism." Why is it that Bishop Luck should mourn the fact that so few of his flock are found in the mercantile community? Why? It is because many of them have come from older countries, where the influence of Romanism is a perpetual down-drag, and where every effort for mental and spiritual freedom is stifled in the birth by that repressive terror—the Romish Church. I repeat it page 12 with emphasis, Home does not really desire to educate. Stung into activity by Protestants, she now educates. For what? To benefit her children? No; but to keep them under her control, and to fa in their minds the teaching which will tend to keep them in mental and spiritual thraldom to her. There is nothing she dreads so much as that her "bright and clever children" should come in contact with the free spirit of Protestantism, as that is reflected in our public institutions. If she does not educate she will lose them, hence her schools.
Should it be objected that the action or inaction of the Romish Church elsewhere should not be used to condemn her here, my answer is that at heart she is everywhere the same, and that her proud boast is that she does not change; and if she has taught that bread and catechism are enough for the masses, she is of the same opinion still. Dr. Maguire, a Roman Catholic professor, tells a story in the Dublin Review (vol. xx. p. 192, 2nd series) of the Arch-bishop of Tuam, who closed a school, and when one of the villagers asked how he was to send his children to school, replied, "What do they want with a school? Let them learn the catechism."
Ques.: Arc Protestants willing to confess their sins to a Catholic bishop or priest, who alone has power from Christ to forgive sins?
Ans.: No; for they generally have an utter aversion to confession, and, therefore, their sins will not be forgiven them throughout all eternity.
Ques.: What follows from this?
Ans.: That they die in their sins, and are dammed.
Your majesty is well aware that in order to effectually repair the evils by the revolution, and to bring back as soon as possible happy days for the Church, the Catholic religion must, above all things, continue to be the glory and mainstay of the Mexican nation, to the exclusion of every other dissenting worship; that the bishops must be perfectly free in the exercise of their pastoral ministry; that the religious orders should be re-established, or re-organised, conformably with the instructions and the powers which we have given; that the page 13 patrimony of the Church, and the rights which attach to it, may be maintained and protected: that no person may obtain the faculty of teaching and publishing false and subersive tenets; that instruction, whether public or private, should be directed and watched over by the ecclesiastical authority; that, in short, the chains may be broken which up to the present time have held down the church in a state of dependence, and subject to the arbitrary rule of the civil government. ("Appleton's Annual Cycle," 1865, p. 749. quoted by Joseph Cook.)
There you have a picture of the real intolerant character of the Romish Church, and it means that that spirit goes into the schools under her influence, and in accordance with the creed of Pius IV., which declares that out of "this true Catholic faith no one can be saved"—a doctrine which has led not only to the teaching contained in the letter just read, but which has fed the spirit of intolerance until, where power is possessed, it has led to the bitterest persecution and the establishment of the inquisition. Now, the question arises, If Rome teaches such doctrines with such results, can the State permit that any portion of its funds shall be devoted to the assistance of any organisation, or be used in the propagation of teachings, which must inevitably tend to the injury and disruption of the body politic? Most emphatically I say, No. Our endeavour must be to secure to our children such a training as will at least cultivate a spirit of toleration. Even though it may be impossible to secure perfect unanimity of thought on all topics, political, social, and religious, we can seek to minimise differences by the cultivation of the spirit of toleration and of charity.
Again, you will take note of the fact that the training of the young is committed by the Church of Home to a special class—a class which has little or no interest in the state where its members reside. Who are they? Chiefly priests, members of some Jesuit order, and sisters trained in a convent for the special work of teaching Catholic doctrines—doctrines which do not change. Celibates these, with no family ties, and who, therefore, pass through life with more than half their natures uncultivated, and the other portion trained to full submission to Rome. They are lingers and hands on a wrist which moves thousands of miles away, the impulses of which are sometimes opposed to the interests of the states where they are designed to operate. The Roman Catholic schools are chiefly under the control of the Jesuits, whose private and public influence has been for centuries of so mischievous a character that they have been expelled again and again from many of the foremost nations, both Protestant and Catholic. Knowing this, again I say, We cannot pay over our State funds to subsidise such instructors and their mischievous teachings.
I, N., elect of the church of N., from henceforward will be faithful and obedient to St. Peter the Apostle and to the Holy Roman Church, and to our Lord, the Lord N., Pope N., and to his successors canonically entering. I will help them to keep the Roman papacy and the royalties of St. Peter, saving my order against all men .... the rights, honours, privileges, and authority of the holy Roman Church, of our Lord the Pope, and his aforesaid successors, I will endeavour to preserve, defend, increase, and advance. . . . . Heretics, schismatics, and rebels to our said Lord, or his aforesaid successors, I will to my uttermost persecute and oppose. . . . . I will by myself in person visit the threshold of the Apostles every three years, and give an account to our Lord and his aforesaid successors of all my pastoral office, and of all things anywise belonging to the state of my church, to the discipline of my clergy and people, and lastly, to the salvation of souls committed to my trust; and will in like manner humbly receive and diligently execute the apostolic command. ("Dowling's History of Romanism," pp. 615, 616, quoted by Joseph Cook.)
In His (Christ's) right. I am sovereign. I acknowledge no civil superior: and I claim more than this—I claim to be the supreme judge on earth, and director of the consciences of men; of the peasant that tills the field, and the prince that sits on the throne; of the household that lives in privacy, and the legislature that makes laws for kingdoms. I am the last supreme judge on earth of what is right and wrong. (" Sermons on Religious Subjects," published by Burns and Oates in 1873, Vol. III., 97.)
Let all New Zealanders ponder this passage, and ask themselves whether they can permit a single penny of the State funds to go to the support of a school system which will teach the children that they are to be subject to a foreign pontiff before they yield allegiance to the State. Step by step I have led you to see the full hearing of page 15 this matter. On principle I object to denominational grants, but this is a more serious thing. It resolves itself into the question, Can we permit our schools to become nurseries for the political power of Rome? The design of this claim is to secure the whole of the Catholic population under the complete local control of a few score ecclesiastics, who are themselves virtually the officers of a foreign pontiff. They seek for political power, and they know that the only way to get it is to have the complete control of the children. Ignorance will serve their turn best; but in a State which insists upon education for all, they seek for State aid to train the children to act as the machines which will move at their will to secure their political ends. Vicar-General Preston said: "The man who gets his religion but not his politics from Rome is not a good Catholic." Well, the bishops desire to make the children under their control good Catholics, and that will mean bad citizens if the Pope of Rome has their first allegiance. That issue may seem remote; but if New Zealanders are wise they will resist any attempt to get the first step. Rome must dabble in politics, for it is her audacious claim that she is the kingdom of God on earth, and her head is the supreme ruler. In 1863, by virtue of this claim, the Pope declared the laws of New Grenada null and void. In 1856 the laws of Mexico, in 1853 the laws of Spain, in 1862 the laws of Austria, were abrogated by the Pope. Sometimes there has been a checkmate, as when, in 1077, Pope Boniface VIII. wrote to Phillip the Fair of France: "Pope Boniface to Phillip King of France: Greetings.—Know thou, O supreme prince, that thou art subject to us in all things." This aroused Phillip, and he replied: "Phillip to Boniface: Little or no greetings.—Know thou, O supreme fool, that in governmental matters we are not subject to you or any other man." All France re-echoed the scorn of Phillip the Fair, and yet in one generation it sank back into the arms of papal despotism!
Fellow-citizens, New Zealand law must be made in New Zealand, by and for New Zealanders. It is not to our interest that it should be made in Rome or by Romish clergy in our midst: and to secure ourselves from papal intermeddling we must maintain an unyielding resistance to the present demands of the Catholic bishops. Said Bishop Moran, before the Committee on Education, in 1883: "The matter of education in accordance with our principles is one of life and death with us."
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.
We remember that there is such a thing as history, and on its indelible record is inscribed the influence of Rome as a perpetual down-drag upon the efforts of the people to attain to knowledge and to self-government. There is not a principle of civil or religious liberty which has fought for a foothold amongst men for three centuries and a-half but she has been its sworn foe, its deadliest enemy. We remember this, and, knowing something of cause and effect, we now protest against her claim; and we believe that the intelligent portion of the Catholic population will join us in our protest at the ballot-box against it. Better do it now, than wait until the intolerant consequences are grown too powerful to I be easily uprooted. Our motto must be, "Benefit to the children, toleration for the community, and safety for the State;" and to keep these principles intact we cannot allow State funds to be granted to schools in which the more closely the teachings accord with Romanism the more must such schools be a standing menace to the State.
Make peace if you will with Popery; shrine it in your chambers, plant it in your hearts; but be ye certain as that there is a heaven above you, and a God over you, that Popery thus honoured and embraced is the very Popery that was loathed and degraded by the holiest of your fathers: and the same in haughtiness, the same in intolerance, which lorded over kings, assumed the prerogative of Deity, crushed human liberty, and slow the saints of God.
Are these things so? Then, by every principle of civil and religious liberty which you hold dear, by your desire to see this your nation in the van of progress, proclaiming as its basic principle "equal rights and equal privileges to all, out of a common fund," vote against this outrageous claim. Every man and woman who now votes at the dictate of any ecclesiastical superior deserves to be disfranchised; and every man returned to the House to act at the dictate of any hierarchy should be expelled, as having no right to a seat in a free Parliament.
Remember, Rome does not change, and Rome in politics means evil—only evil—and evil continually to the State.
Wright & Jaques, Printers, Albert Street, Auckland.
* Since this was in type, an extract appeared in the New Zealand Herald, quoted from the Globe, an American quarterly review, which shows that the parochial school system in America is weak in its administrative department, and so fails to retain the confidence of the people. "Its general, financial, and other management is, as a rule, too exclusively in the hands of individual priests, some of whom are apt to be the most impractical of men, and by their very education, almost exclusively on theological lines, and for religious ends, are in some respects unfitted for the exclusive management of the general education of children" (N. Z. Herald, Nov. 18, 1893). The writer of the article is in sympathy with the Catholic claims, and this makes the admission more damaging.