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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 49

Morals Without Religion

Morals Without Religion.

The Secularist maintains that all the knowledge of morals a child need possess may be obtained in a State school without religion. This is true of that species of page 42 morals which fails to recognize God, and which has no foundation in supernatural motives. The Catholic does not admit that morality based on pure selfishness is of much worth, or that it will avail a child in the moment of temptation. In this clashing of opinions and beliefs, which shall give way, if there is to be room but for one? Shall it be the Catholic? He appeals to the Constitution of Massachusetts, and to the religious element still abiding in its population. The new condition of educational aims is vastly different from that of fifty years ago. He claims that his higher standard of morality, the nobler motive on which it is inculcated, its adaptability and acceptableness to children, (waiving for the moment its divine origin and character), entitles him to have the education of his children permeated and completed by a strong infusion of religious instruction in schools. He contends for the rights and best interests of his own children. He does not dispute the wishes of others, nor seek to impose on them the adoption of his system He loudly asserts, that in every important point, except .costliness of buildings and expensiveness of teachers, Catholic schools are superior to State schools. They are more thorough in secular studies, there is less cramming, and less multiplicity of useless branches of learning; the du-ties and responsibilities of citizens are brought home to parents, where they belong, fostering a spirit of self-reliance, without dependence on public charity; and all in an atmosphere of religion and morality such as the patrons of the school desire, and are willing to pay for. I am not speaking of the beginnings of a Catholic school in some poor neighborhood. As well might you liken a country school, with its fifteen or twenty scholars, under a schoolmistress at three or four dollars a week, to one of your Boston High Schools.?