Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient. Newspaper of the Victoria University Students' Association. Vol 42 No. 8. April 23 1979

Catholicism at Home

Catholicism at Home

Dear Sir,

The letter of G. Herrington entitled "Mexican Catholicism v. the State" (2.4.79) makes the point that tile hierarchy consider the Catholic church as the only institution competent to carry out the education of youth. Their aim is to make all learning conform to the tenets of Catholicism. This includes the propagating of Catholic morality. Catholic social policy (e.g. global energy crisis rather than global population crisis) and the Catholic interpretation (or rather distortion) of history.

The basic principles were set forth explicitly in one of the "great" papal encyclicals, "Christian Education of Youth" (meaning Catholic education of youth) of December 1929. The Pope says, "greater stress must be laid on the employment of apt and solid methods of teaching, and, what is still more important, on bringing into full conformity with the Catholic faith, what is taught in literature, in the sciences, and above all in philosophy, on which depend in great part the right orientation of the other branches of knowledge." For instance, when the scientific method conflicts with Catholic doctrine, the scientific method is deemed to have been incorrectly applied and is thus discarded in favour of Roman Catholic doctrine.

Drawing of a woman with a baby inside her bathrobe

Another significant feature of this "great" en-[unclear: clical] is that it contains what appears to be the earliest reference to "catholic Action". Catholic Action describes itself as "religious" on the assumption that issues such as education belong under the control of of the church rather than the state. Although the motivation of Catholic Action is religious, its methods are political in that its aim is to influence people such as cabinet ministers, departmental officers in the Public Service, and of course tile general public. Some of the methods of Catholic Action are heavy-handed, particularly the threat of a Catholic boycott as a form of blackmail (e.g. as used on the Manawatu Evening Standard last year).

The Catholic designs on education are not confined to countries like Mexico. The principle: applies throughout tile western world, in short, wherever there are Catholics. In countries like USA and Australia tile Catholic schools are run by the church and with considerable state aid, while in countries like England and New Zealand we have the plausible process of "integration" in which the state assumes a large part of the financial burden while the "special character" of the Catholic schools is maintained. In addition, integration facilitates the gradual reorientation of the state school system in accordance with Catholic doctrines and policies.

The principle of a Christchurch Catholic Secondary college (Br Waigth of St Thomas of Canterbury College) in an end of year address to parents and friends put it this way: "Integration offers a second challenge, this is to share out Catholicity with others. Through integration Catholic schools become part of the state system of education and will receive the opportunity to voice an opinion in educational matters." So far, so good, but later comes the punch-line which tells us what integration is all about: "Let us then be prepared to share out Catholic vision, to carry our Catholic influence beyond our Catholic schools and make integration a force for good for all."

Having established the aim of integration "..... to carry our Catholic influence beyond our Catholic schools....." it becomes the task of Catholic Action to put these principles into practice. Among the organisations involved in this programme are the Catholic Women's League, tile Legion of Mary and the Knights of the Southern Cross. (This secret society, with about 700 members in key positions, is roughly the Catholic equivalent of the Freemason's Lodge). One of the remits accepted by the KSR at their annual conference in Hamilton late last year was that "The KSC endorses the principle of integration of New Zealand Catholic schools into the government system, and it requires branches to adopt as a priority this year, and in such years as integration is being effected, the active encouragement of lay people to make themselves available for election to integrated school committees and councils, thus ensuring that the special character of Catholic schools is maintained." The last phrase of this remit is true but not the whole truth: the infiltration of Catholic Action into integrated committees and councils ensures that the Catholic influence is carried beyond the Catholic schools and shared with others, whether the others want it or not.

To summarise, we see that integration is effected by (1) pressure on cabinet [unclear: miniitei] departmental officials by official Catholic [unclear: J Hons,] and (2) stacking integrated school [unclear: eg], tees, councils and the like by members of [unclear: C][unclear: lie] Action. Finally, the concern shown by [unclear: j] dents about the affairs of South Africa and [unclear: nam] is fair enough, but it's about time that [unclear: dents] started to take notice of what is going behind the scenes in our own country.


Donald J. Beswick.