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the close of the first year the membership had reached over 1,600. The Second Convention was held in Philadelphia, March 2 to 4, 1904. During this session one hundred addresses on religious and moral education were delivered by men and women of national reputation and influence. By the close of the second year the roll-book showed a membership of 2,000, made up of leaders and workers in every branch of religious and moral activity. Since then there has been a steady advance in number, until we may say that the association represents the highest form of non-Catholic thought on this weighty subject. I say non-Catholic, because the few Catholics who are members of this organization are not strong enough to infuence the general views held by the majority of the members.
The meetings in Boston showed a steady increase in numbers and a deep note of earnestness. This open interest in matters of religious thought is all the more consoling on account of the prevalent indifference which meets us everywhere. Of the members who took an active part in the lectures and discussions, nearly all had achieved distinction in some line of mental or moral activity, and hence a peculiar weight must be attached to their utterances. Moreover, by far the larger number of those in attendance were men and women whose age bespoke mature judgment and broad experience. In this respect the meetings of the Religious Education Association were in marked contrast with those of the Christian Endeavor Movement in which the youthful element was so prominent. Among the distinguished men present were Dr. Shahan, of the Catholic University, Dr. Lawrence, the Episcopalian Bishop of Boston, Professor Peabody, of the Harvard Divinity School, L. Wilbur Messer, general secretary of the Young Men's Christian Association, and a number of others who have helped to create a healthy public sentiment and to vitalize practical plans for the bettering of the race.
For us Catholics the importance of the meetings will be weighed by the nature of the subjects discussed. A glance merely at the titles will be sufficient to show us that these, indeed, were matters in which we have a more than ordinary interest. Take the following, for example:
“How can we bring the individual into conscious relation with God?"
“The place of formal instruction in Religious and Moral Education.”
“What Co-operation is now possible in Religious Education between Catholics and Protestants ?".
“ Educational aims of the Church."
While much that was said was very superficial, much that was sentimental, nevertheless there ran through the greater number of the addresses two dominant notes, which must be especially gratifying to us, because they are an implicit admission that our contention with regard to the education of the young is not only the correct view, but the only one which will safeguard the country in the perils which threaten its very existence. These two notes were a frank acknowledgment that our present system is a failure from many standpoints, and that the only sound system is that which combines religious instruction with training in secular branches. It was perfectly evident from the speeches of these able men and women, that there is something radically defective in the present methods of training our future citizens. The anomalous plan of divid. ing the child, as it were, into several compartments, and of endeavoring to develop one, while neglecting the others, was amusingly and pointedly described by Bishop Lawrence in a speech singularly thoughtful and suggestive :
There is a tendency in all work and enterprise to a division of labor. Even the child had been divided into parts. Family prayer had been largely dropped, and the teaching of the religious life had been driven into the Church basement.
A little while ago it was discovered that, in the division of labor, patriotism was forgotten. Then flags were run up on the schools. Patriotism is now associated with the schools. Then it was felt that temperance was not properly taught in the home ; so the schools took in temperance.
Now what we are discovering is that the child is not built in compartments; and that compartment building, on the whole, is weak. The thing falls to pieces. The child
needs unity. You can no more separate the religious element from the intellectual element, or from the physical element, than you can tear apart a rosebush and divide it into color and fibre and scent.
The home must work with the Church, and the Church must work with the school; and you can no more keep religion out of the school when you send a Christian teacher into the schoolroom than you can keep intelligence out of the home when the children come back with their books under their arms.
... Religion and mental powers interlace. It is true, is it not, in the nation? Why is it that we are sometimes afraid of the enormous increase of wealth? Why, increase of wealth is one of the great opportunities of this country ; and we ought to glory in it and rejoice in it, just as any man ought to rejoice in the increase of his physical strength, provided he has got the mind and the heart and the character to handle his physique.
And so with the country, provided it has the intelligence and the spiritual force and the character to handle its wealth. The bigger the giant, the greater the man, provided the character be gigantic and refined and inspired.
What this nation needs is a realization of the unity of human life. It needs, also, not to fear the increase of wealth, but to fear the loss of the inspiration of religion and of the intelligence which ought to go with it.
Not less emphatic were the statements of a leading Baptist clergyman, the Rev. Francis H. Rowley, of the able Professor Frank K. Sanders, of Yale University, and of Professor Clyde W. Votaw, of the University of Chicago, all of whom represent large and important sections of the country. In fact, Professor Votaw declared that he saw no difference between the terms education and religious education, except that the latter phrase is a protest against the limitation of methods of training to one part of the child. “Education," he said, “is a unit. It stands both for morality and intellectuality, and it is impossible to separate one from the other in any system which aims to give a harmonious development to the child's entire nature.... It is most unfortunate that the 16,000,000 children who attend the public schools of the country are failing to receive that moral and spiritual education to which they are entitled.”
It is impossible, when reading the addresses delivered during this gathering, not to be deeply touched by the wail of grief over the sad results and over the incompetent methods of modern American training. Equally striking is the absence of all reference to principle in these speeches. It does not seem to have occurred to any one of the speakers to go back to the principles which should guide a nation in the solution of the problems of education. Yet one would naturally think that, if the present arrangement is so defective, as results undoubtedly show, it must rest on a false principle, since it would scarcely be possible for true principles to lead to so tunsatisfactory an end. In this point there is a wide difference between the consideration of this topic by Catholics and by non-Catholics. Take, for example, the thorough and fundamental treatment of principle involved in the education question by Mr. Thomas F. Woodlock, in a recent number of THE CATHOLIC WORLD ; by Father James Conway, in his excellent booklet, The Rights of Our Little Ones ; and by the many writers whose able productions are to be found in The Messenger. No lasting remedy can be applied until the principles underlying the whole matter are accurately defined and established.
A matter which will interest all thoughtful Americans was that discussed by the eminent Dr. Shahan, of the Catholic University, under the title: “What Co-operation is now possible in Religious Education between Catholics and Protestants P’’ The straightforward and clear consideration of this extremely knotty problem demands reflective reading, and for that purpose we give a considerable portion thereof:
Religious education with Catholics is something positive, systematic, and exclusive, in accordance always with the doctrines and precepts of the Church. It is impossible to establish any system of immediate co-operation in religious education with those who cannot accept these doctrines and precepts, or the authority of the Church by which they are maintained. Experience has shown the futility of intermediate combinations made up of concessions, or based on mutual minimizing and sacrifices. In the matter of religious doctrine everything is in one way or another essential, or may be easily made to take on that character. We should find it, therefore, impossible to construct manuals of religious doctrine that would satisfy both Catholic and Protestant parents and authorities. But it does look as if we ought to be able to produce a manual of morality that would express certain principles and criteria of conduct that have long been looked on as our common inheritance, either from the Jewish law or from immemorial Christian experience. Roman Catholics believe firmly that there is no variable morality without religion, without doctrinal convictions, and apart from the sanction and co-operation of the Church. They could not accept as final the authoritative handbooks of morality constructed in the sense and temper of Theism, or of an artificial and colorless Christianity, without a foundation in facts, and, therefore, without influence over the hearts of men. The large proportion of Hebrews in the public schools of our great cities is making it daily more difficult to provide any manual of religion and morality that shall satisfy the general Christian conscience and not offend a people which does not accept, as such, any principles of Christian belief or life. The impossibility of an immediate co-operation seems still greater when we come to consider the teacher. The teacher is the necessary interpreter of all things taught, the very pivot of the school. Whatever formulae of religion or morality we might, hypothetically, agree on, would have to be explained and illustrated by the living voice of the teacher. “There is one other reason, perhaps not quite so insuperable, why an immediate co-operation in religious education is impossible between Catholics and Protestants. I refer to what may be called the school atmosphere. In our modern life, for many reasons, the school has come to stand in loco parentis. For a multitude of children it takes the place formerly filled by the home; for too many it is the only approach to a home, in the traditional sense of the word, that they will ever see, at least, in childhood. For this and other reasons we believe that the entire school, in all its elements and workings, should exercise a continuous influence of a religious and moral character. Everything about the school should be calculated to evoke and confirm those natural but weak germs of religiosity and ethical sentiments that are in the heart of every child, but only too easily get crushed or crippled amid ruder contending forces. We find in the public schools too marked and exclusive an attention to the material and the temporal