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Divini Illius Magistri – The Purpose of Catholic Education – Part 1

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On 31st December, 1929, Pope Pius XI issued his encyclical letter ‘Divini Illius Magistri’ – ‘On Christian Education’. It is a great encyclical and contains much valuable information. There is a tendency nowadays within Catholic circles to ignore these wonderful encyclicals because they were written almost one hundred years ago. One is accused of ‘living in the past’ and of not being ‘up to date’. To which I respond with the words of St Paul to the Galatians.

The words from the book of Ecclesiastes are also relevant.

Pope Pius XI is well aware of the sentiments of those who are always looking for something new and who disparage the past out of hand without looking for the golden nuggets of wisdom which exist in every age. These are timeless because they are of God. After his introductory paragraphs where he outlines his desire for the proper education and formation of children, Pope Pius XI begins to address the matter of Catholic education.

The Cathechism Lesson – Jules-Alexis Muenier (1863–1942)

The Pope is well aware of the discussions raging around the best methods of education. These discussions continue in our day with various different methods being proposed as ‘the ideal’ which will relieve poverty and most of the problems of the world. In this regard, education becomes a false God, and those who promote it as the solution to all of our problems are idol worshippers. Pope Pius XI continues

The perfect solution that is proclaimed is ‘education’ and thus many fall into error, because their focus is not on God, Who is the first principle and last end of, not just man, but of the whole universe. We are created for God and we will never find true happiness until we rest our hearts in Him.

Once again, with crystal clarity, the Pope outlines the purpose of education and the dangers of getting education wrong. The Pope is not saying that education has no value, far from it. He points out that there is a higher purpose to which all education must be directed.

We live in a time of great hostility to the Catholic Church and those who oppose her, seek to destroy and dismantle the Catholic education system. These enemies know the importance that the Catholic Church places on the family and so they seek to undermine the family because the family is the first school of education for children. We came across this in the previous series of articles on Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical ‘Sapientiae Christianae’, where he gave some stark warnings that are coming to pass in our day.

The evidence of the attacks on proper education and on the traditional understanding of family are plain to see for anyone who cares to look. But, we are busy and it takes time, courage, perseverance and self-discipline to fight those who seek to corrupt our families and our societies. Also, we must clearly identify a problem before we can solve it. In this regard, Pope Pius XI has done us a great favour with Divini Illius Magistri, because he has done the work for us.

Jean Baptiste de la Salle – Founder of Schools

Our job is to strive to implement the solutions. This is made more difficult because many of those who hold authority in the Catholic Church, mostly ignore the teachings of Pope Pius XI on the matter of education. They are actively co-operating with those who are working to corrupt our children. Back to Divini Illius Magistri.

The enemies of the Catholic Church are well aware of the importance of education and that is why the are infiltrating the Catholic schools in order to turn the education system to their own wicked ends. They are training children towards evil ends in the hope that they will not depart from those evil ends. The passing of the fake marriage referendum in Ireland in 2015 and the passing of the referendum to permit the killing of innocent human beings in their mother’s wombs in 2018, which has led to the murder of more than 30,000 innocents since 2019, is ample proof that our enemies are succeeding in their conquest of the once Catholic schools.

Pope Pius XI directs our gaze towards Jesus in order for us to understand how important Christian education is.

A Sister of Charity Teaching Children – George Hardy (1822 – 1909)

Pope Pius now begins to teach us how we can avoid the pitfalls in education by outlining the essential aspects of what constitutes Christian education and the various different roles of those who hold authority in regard to the education of youth.

Pope Pius XI will now elucidate on the three societies into which man is born and on their characteristic authority, duties, and spheres of governance. It is worth dedicating the next article to this very interesting topic as it will show us the parameters of each society. It is also very revealing when we look at the societies we now live in, as we can see where the civil society is encroaching beyond its authority.

To be cont’d…

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