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Divini Illius Magistri – Errors in Education – Part 9

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We have seen how Pope Pius XI stresses the importance of correct education. In this next part of ‘Divini Illius Magistri’ he outlines some of the dangers that false thinking is wont to introduce into systems of education. There were many who did not accept what Pope Pius XI had to say and most of the errors he spoke of have been introduced into main stream education. We are currently witnessing the disastrous effects of these false methods of education upon children and young people, many of whom have lost their way in the world. Some will say that ‘Divini Illius Magistri’ is outdated, but Catholic truths regarding education are not relative to any particular time. Catholic Church teaching is as timeless as God Himself.

Pope Pius XI is pointing out that the Catholic Church is well aware that children develop. The Church, better than anyone, understands that consciences must be formed over time and that it takes time for children to grow in virtue. Part of the purpose of Catholic education is to teach children how to become responsible adults who will follow God’s moral code as given to the Catholic Church.

Since Pope Pius XI wrote the above in 1929, there has been a systematic expunging of the Catholic moral code from education systems around the world. The ‘Catholic’ school systems have also been affected with false theories of education. In the English speaking world, Thomas Groome, a laicised Catholic priest, has done huge damage with his theory of ‘Shared Christian Praxis’, which has been almost universally adopted in the Catholic schools of the English speaking world. In a 1992 review of Thomas Groome’s book, “Christian Religious Education: Sharing Our Story and Vision’, Fr Donald Keefe, S.J. wrote:

“Since its first publication a dozen years ago, this book has been widely used in Catholic catechetical formation, and has won for its author a prominent position among professional religious educators. This is an outcome more than unfortunate, for Groome’s work betrays not so much the near-total ignorance of the Catholic Church which its cursory reading might suggest, but rather, a thoroughgoing strategy for the deconstruction of the res Catholica — a strategy whose success is now apparent in the freshmen classes of contemporary Catholic colleges and universities whose members display quite uniformly a complete unfamiliarity with, and frequently a disinterest in and disaffection from, the Catholic tradition in which they were for the most part reared. (As quoted by Msgr. Michael J. Wrenn in his introduction to Eamon Keane’s book ‘ A Generaton Betrayed – 2002)

In 2022 the Irish bishops’ conference hosted a webinar in the ‘Together Along The Way’ series with Thomas Groome as the keynote speaker. The sorry state of Catholic education in Ireland comes as no surprise to Catholic parents who are aware of the direction taken by the Irish bishops.

The LGBT ideology, which is causing huge damage to children, leads children to think that they can decide their own gender. Part of the reason that these children and young people believe what they believe is that they have been deprived of a truly Catholic education both at home and in the Catholic schools they attend.

The supernatual outlook is very much absent from our Catholic schools and from our once Catholic societies.

I have spoken before about the Irish bishops’ conference promoting the ‘Flourish’ programme in Catholic primary schools. This programme asks teachers to show a sexually explicit cartoon video to children as young as eleven or twelve, in a classroom setting. The video was produced for Ireland’s largest abortion provider, the Health Services Executive.

Modern societies tend to tolerate and to promote the exposing of children to matters of a sexual nature from a very young age. These children are at an age where their wills are not strong enough to be able to resist temptations. These children are not aware of the dangers. This is why it is the solemn duty of parents to be eternally vigilant in regards to what their children are being exposed to in schools and other social settings.

This is probably the area that is causing most damage to children in our day. So many adults ignore the reality of ‘Original Sin’ which leads to man having a darkened intellect and a proneness to sin. The children who are exposed to materials of a sexual nature from an early age, grow to adulthood with weakened wills and a lack of understanding of human sexuality. The current culture, where modern technology provides easy access to pornography and other evils, further enslaves men to the corruption of their sexual nature. This in turn is what has led to the promotion of abortion, so that any children conceived as a result of immoral sexual activity can be put to death. The worst outcome is the loss of those souls who fall into a state of habitual mortal sin. There are few who know how to guide those who have thus fallen, because so many have compromised with the world against Catholic Church teaching.

I would imagine that those of us who agree with Pope Pius XI on this point are few in number. Most people do not see any harm in co-education, where boys and girls are educated together. Again, this comes from a denial of the effects of Original Sin. In the push for a false equality which denies the obvious differences between men and women, it is forgotten that men and women, aside from having different complimentary strengths, also have different weaknesses. God has also ordained different roles for men and women within the family. The husband is the head of his wife.The wife must submit to the authority of the husband. Children must submit to the authority of their parents.

It is God who ordained that both the Catholic Church and civil society be founded on a hierarchical structure. Neither the Catholic Church nor civil society can function in an ordered way without this hierarchy of authority. Of course authority can be abused, however the abuse of authority does not mean that the structures of authority should be abolished. The authority of both the Catholic Church and of civil society has its foundation in the moral law which in turn is based on the ten commandments. The abandonment of this moral authority will lead to chaos and the collapse of civil society. This collapse is fast approaching and it will affect the Catholic Church as well.

To be cont’d…

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