The major errors of liberalism in education

October 3, 1995

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

In the last few years the Society of St. Pius X has opened up numbers of new schools here in the United States, especially primary schools in the basements of its chapels and church buildings. This reaction to the degeneracy of the public and church schools all around us is normal on the part of Catholic parents and priests. However, starting schools from scratch is still a brave venture in today's circumstances, so, Mother Church having centuries of experience in education, let us recall a little of her ancient wisdom.

The mess into which the world has got itself today flows from heresy; and nearly all modern heresies come back, said Donoso Cortes, to the denial either of the supernatural or of original sin. Now as to the supernatural, Society schools for the (blessed) time being offer little or no worldly advantage to children, e.g. accreditation, so that if parents had no faith in the supernatural, they would hardly resort to Society schools. But to original sin, while all Catholic parents pay lip service to the dogma, it is in reality so smothered by liberalism that perhaps few of them realize fully how it spells out in practice, especially in education. So let us begin our help to the schools with the reminder of original sin.

Every one of us, nine months before issuing from his or her mother's womb, was conceived by Adam's fault in a state of disorder and enmity with God – “We were by nature children of wrath” (Eph. II,3). Now one may for lack of the Catholic Faith disbelieve in such a mystery as sin not committed by a man personally but belonging to him naturally, yet all centuries and all climates are littered with the evidence of a flaw deep in all men’s nature, largely wrecking their noble aspirations. In any case, original sin is a fact, the denial of which constitutes the essential error of liberal education, the fight against which is the presupposition of all Catholic education.

Thus Little Johnny may look as though butter would not melt in his mouth, so that his parents think he is a little angel, but Mother Church and good sisters and priests know that because of original sin, he is not only a little angel but also a little monkey, to the point that Scripture—Word of God—says of him (Proverbs XXIII,13,14), “Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell”. Again – (Proverbs XXII,15) – “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, and the rod of correction shall drive it away”. And then to think that liberals are proud of looking on corporal punishment for school-children as a barbaric relic that they in their superior wisdom have left behind! Blind idiots!

Dear parents, support those priests, sisters and teachers who are ready to correct your children. Do not believe Little Johnny when with those melting blue eyes he tells you tales of how cruel and unjust his teachers are! Give him a kiss, put him to bed, then ring up the teacher to hear no doubt a very different story! And then (as long as it is not forbidden by “law”) spank Little Johnny for fibbing when he gets up in the morning! In the old days, if Johnny told at home how Sister Battle-Axe had paddled him at school, far from being sympathized with, he was paddled again at home! He soon learned to stop complaining of his teachers.

Thus Catholic education then was, as it always ought to be, a conspiracy between priests, teachers and parents for what they are all agreed on is the good of the child, and Catholic parents used to have the good sense to trust the priests and teachers. That trust was destroyed by Vatican II, but it must be re-built. Catholic education cannot work if the parents pull against the teachers. Alas, in many Society schools the complaint is heard that the children are educable, it is the parents who are ineducable! Of course not always, but all too often they are unaware how the false liberal ideals they take for granted paralyze the teaching of true Catholic ideals to their children. Given what efforts such parents have often made, this unconscious self-paralysis is sad.

A second major error of liberalism in education is the glorification of the individual over the common good. As home-schoolers know, boys especially miss being taught amidst a group of boys. Peer pressure does great good or ill, because man is a social animal, designed by God to live and learn in society. Therefore a good school forms boys — and girls — in groups, in classes, in a whole society. Therefore if one rotten apple is spoiling the whole barrel, as often happens until a school is well up and running, and even after, then that rotten apple must go, for the common good of all the other children. Of course if a child is naughty, one will be patient for awhile, especially if the naughtiness comes from hi spirits rather than malice. But if an apple proves to be rotten, it must be mercilessly thrown out! A Catholic school is not a remand home for misfits, it is NOT a Delinquents’ Tender Loving Day Care Centre! It has to teach, not just baby-sit, and individuals who render themselves unfit to be taught in the group because of their bad influence on it have no business to be wasting the time of those who are fit and ready to be taught. Delinquents must go! The common good exists, especially in a school, and it is much more important than any one individual on his own. Oh, how liberals lose all sense of this common good!

A third grave error of liberals is their denial of any difference between boys and girls, error crucial at all times, but especially in education from, say, the age of 8 or 9 upwards. From then girls, it is well-known, mature earlier than boys biologically, and immediately begin distracting the boys, who are liable to grow into being quite happy to be distracted. Nor is the mixed company from puberty onwards a danger only for chastity, grave though that danger is, unless one denies original sin! The mixed company is also a tremendous waste of educational time, because as any teacher worth his salt will tell you, even in a subject, like literature, suitable to be taught to both sexes, if you teach the boys, the girls switch off, whereas if you teach the girls, the boys tune out. This is because God has built boys and girls for entirely different functions (how often must one today say it?) in society, so that He has given them quite different receivers to pick up the quite different things they need, so different that it is impossible even for a genius of a teacher to teach on the wavelength of both of them at the same time. Hence in a mixed class of adolescents, half of the time is being constantly wasted. But do you think liberals will believe that? Deaf and dumb idiots!

And then do you think any self-respecting boys will let themselves into a competition with girls? Elementary error, to have them compete! Separate their tests! Let the girls excel at what girls should excel in, whatever will form them to be good wives, mothers or sisters (a mother does not have to be dumb!), but let the boys excel at what boys should excel in, and let no girl near the sacred process of making boys into men. The girls around the boys will only block the formation of the men they so need. But teach the boys to respect and to protect the difference of girls, so that the girls no longer feel the obligation imposed on them by our sick society to make themselves second-rate men in order to have any respect!

But above all, dear parents, go right ahead! Take the bull by the horns (take the cow by her eye-lashes!), and get that school up and running! St. John Bosco said God has special graces for adults who look after abandoned youth. Catholic youth are universally abandoned by anti-Christian society and a modernist church. You will have trials, because the devil hates true Catholic schools, ruse he knows how much good they do for the salvation of souls. In fact the early years of any of our little schools are liable to be more or less of a roller-coaster (switch-back railway ride, for English readers!). But the rewards are immense, as the Gospel says, even in this world, let alone in the next.

And dear parishioners, if you cannot contribute as a teacher, then contribute to your parish school from your pocket. Schools are always costly, especially today when there are few unsalaried priests, brothers or sisters to teach. And those who have the children often do not have the funds, whereas vice versa. God will most certainly reward those also who support the unabandoning of youth.

Not that you should forget your Seminary! As of mid-September we have had 22 extra young men to feed. Twenty-two! That is the biggest intake of SSPX seminarians in any one year, at least since 1982. And none have left yet. And you know how they eat .... A pledge card is enclosed which, if you fill it out, will bring you the Seminary letter each month by first-class mail, with an extra envelope to facilitate a monthly contribution, however little, but you can back out at any time thereafter.

Also enclosed, dates of retreats. Sign up, especially men for December 26-31. And may God bless you.

Most sincerely yours in Christ,