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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 49

Agreements and Disagreements

Agreements and Disagreements.

Catholics and Secularists agree on some points, and differ on others.

They agree that education is an important factor in the making of an intelligent citizen, and is therefore very de page 38 sirable. They do not agree in the character of the education necessary to make this good citizen. The Catholic points to his personal sacrifices in time, labor, and money, to secure for his children education in the sense in which he understands it. The Secularist bids us look at what the State has done for him. He cannot demonstrate the earnestness and sincerity of his convictions and preaching by what he has done. He pays, it is true, his share of public taxes. So does the Catholic. The Secularist insists that there shall be State schools after his plan, according to his convictions, paid for by taxation from which no one shall be exempt, while all shall be obliged to drink at his well of knowledge, such as it is. A Catholic argues that the Secularist's notion of education was never strong, never attained to the power of a principle, or he would have withdrawn his children from schools in which they were taught what he might be pleased to call the superstitions of Evangelicalism. As between the two, on the head of personal sacrifices in furtherance of the cause of education, the Catholic has an advantage over the Secularist in demonstrating the courage of his convictions.

Both agree that instruction in morals in some form is essential for the right education of youth. They differ in their understanding of what is meant by morals, and as to the authority by which such teaching should be inculcated. The Secularist rises no higher in his conception of morals than the temporal well-being of the child, and "the doing of acts conducive to general enjoyment." Rev. A. D. Mayo, Unitarian minister, calls this policy "a materialistic naturalism and a philosophical fatalism."