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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 49

Standards of Morals Differ

Standards of Morals Differ.

The Secularist's standard of morals differs in material points from that of the Catholic. The former, in admitting the law of divorce, consents to a disruption of ties that alone guarantee the sacredness and unity of the fam page 40 ily; permits passion, pleasure, and self-will to have their way in defiance of that law of self-restraint and patience under trials and difficulties necessary to hold the family together, at least for the children's sake. The Catholic can address the Secularist in the words of the eloquent Bishop of Orleans: "It is not so much my church which they would destroy as your home; and I defend it. For all those things which are the supreme objects of your desire,—reason, philosophy, society, the basis of your institutions, the subject of your books, the sanctity of your hearts, the morals of your children,—these are the things which I defend, and which you throw away in crowning those who would destroy them."

A Catholic's code of morals embraces the teachings of the Bible, interpreted by the Church. It does not end with teachings it has ordinances, sacraments divinely instituted to give grace, supernatural power, with which to resist temptation, overcome passion, escape from sin. Your denial of these truths does not lessen a Catholic's faith in them, nor weaken his conscience with regard to them.

You may remember Henry Ward Beecher's last Thanksgiving sermon, and the picture he drew of the condition of morals in the Brooklyn schools, in which were teachers who held their positions by the sacrifice of their virtue to School-Commissioners. You may also have heard that Thomas W. Field, Superintendent of schools in the same city of Brooklyn, in his annual report of four or five years ago, gave a fearful account of the prevalent immorality. This report was suppressed by the Board of Education, on the principle, I suppose, that the whole truth must not always be spoken. Is it any wonder that Catholic parents ask that they, and not politicians, shall have the choosing of their children's teachers? You have not forgotten the article in "The page 41 Boston Herald" of Oct. 20, 1871, giving the substance of Prof. Agassiz' address before the Massachusetts State Teachers' Association. Again, I say, is it any wonder that Catholic parents, hearing these confessions, even under a stringent policy of silence and concealment, lose faith in the State system, and provide schools of their own at sacrifices worthy of martyrs? I cite these instances in no spirit of exultation, but of regret; and it therefore gives me pleasure to say that the character of the teachers of Boston stands too high to come under such imputations.