Friday, February 18, 2005

Papal Wisdom: Pius XI on the Reconstruction of the Social Order (Quadragesimo Anno)
Part 2A Leo XIII's teachings defended and developed: Private Property and Ownership

After outlining the benefits that have transpired since Rerum Novarum's publication (to demonstrate that Leo XIII's goals were indeed attainable and not just some lofty ideas) Pius XI seeks to defend them and indeed strengthen them. Leo XIII's work came under intense fire in both the secular and Catholic world, due to ignorance or contempt of Catholic principles.

Yet since in the course of these same years, certain doubts have arisen concerning either the correct meaning of some parts of Leo's Encyclical or conclusions to be deduced therefrom, which doubts in turn have even among Catholics given rise to controversies that are not always peaceful; and since, furthermore, new needs and changed conditions of our age have made necessary a more precise application of Leo's teaching or even certain additions thereto, We most gladly seize this fitting occasion, in accord with Our Apostolic Office through which We are debtors to all,[26] to answer, so far as in Us lies, these doubts and these demands of the present day.

Here we see Pius XI being the innovator, yet the innovator steeply rooted in Cathoilc principles. His teachings will be developed and indeed new, but still rooted within the firm teachings of Leo XIII and the Tradition of the Fathers. The intent is to once again show the Catholic Church has the answers to modern societies problems. When new problems arise, the Church applies it's wisdom and knowledge of the past to the present situation.

41. Yet before proceeding to explain these matters, that principle which Leo XIII so clearly established must be laid down at the outset here, namely, that there resides in Us the right and duty to pronounce with supreme authority upon social and economic matters. Certainly the Church was not given the commission to guide men to an only fleeting and perishable happiness but to that which is eternal. Indeed" the Church holds that it is unlawful for her to mix without cause in these temporal concerns" however, she can in no wise renounce the duty God entrusted to her to interpose her authority, not of course in matters of technique for which she is neither suitably equipped nor endowed by office, but in all things that are connected with the moral law. For as to these, the deposit of truth that God committed to Us and the grave duty of disseminating and interpreting the whole moral law, and of urging it in season and out of season, bring under and subject to Our supreme jurisdiction not only social order but economic activities themselves.

We are once again reminded that a Christianity which is simply "religious" is indeed no Christianity at all. We hear this all the time today. That while we are Christians, we are to "leave our beliefs at the door." Christianity is some lofty religious ideal we celebrate on Sunday, with no repercussions in our daily lives.

Needless to say, Leo XIII found this idea absurd. For Christianity is not just a religion, but indeed there is a Christian worldview that stresses and emphasizes certain things. It is upon this worldview that Western Civilization was built. Part of that framework was respect for the moral law, which man could know. From these ideas we can divine that the Church should involve herself in such economic questions, giving principles guided by the Gospel:

1. Man can determine right from wrong.

2.That determination of right and wrong is of paramount importance in regards to one's salvation.

3. The Church is that institution founded by Jesus Christ as the only mean of salvation.

4. There are principles in economics guided by the moral law.

5. In those areas where they cross, the Church can and should offer it's insight on these issues.

But to come down to particular points, We shall begin with ownership or the right of property. Venerable Brethren and Beloved Children, you know that Our Predecessor of happy memory strongly defended the right of property against the tenets of the Socialists of his time by showing that its abolition would result, not to the advantage of the working class, but to their extreme harm. Yet since there are some who calumniate the Supreme Pontiff, and the Church herself, as if she had taken and were still taking the part of the rich against the non-owning workers -- certainly no accusation is more unjust than that -- and since Catholics are at variance with one another concerning the true and exact mind of Leo, it has seemed best to vindicate this, that is, the Catholic teaching on this matter from calumnies and safeguard it from false interpretations.

First we should remember that the socialists answer to the divide between rich and poor was the rich had far too much private property. For the government to take it, this would balance the scales. The government would provide property to the poor and the rich alike, indeed attempting to eliminate classes. Let us remember that property is not just land, but money, possessions, anything. Aside from neccessarily dealing with the morality (or lack thereof) of this proposition, there are the pratical matters. The solution, rather than helping workers, hurts them.

For the ability to acquire property through work was one way to get out of those situations of dependency. With that gone, one is forever trapped by dependency. It depends on the government to provide for them, since they are not allowed to do so for themselves. For that property, man can use to provide for his own self-sufficience, and the suffiency of those around him.

Second is the class warfare which results inevitably from such a system. In order for the government to stay relevant, the issue has to be between the have's and the have nots. Between those who own businesses and those who work for them for example. It is evidently plain that both need each other. For if both depend on and work with each other, each side benefits, and indeed one looks towards the day of having the property of their own. In a society without real ownership, this is impossible.

The socialists (and in America at least their descendants in the Democratic party) make the same argument against an economic system of ownership, that it "benefits the rich." Let us remember the issue abuot class warfare listed above. Yet it is a system of basic morality, that favors people of all wealth status, for it focuses on that which is beyond temporal wealth, the principles laid out ultimately point towards eternal wealth. On that journey, both rich and poor have responsibilities, which Leo XIII listed in great detail in Rerum Novarum, which we shall frequently return to.

First, then, let it be considered as certain and established that neither Leo nor those theologians who have taught under the guidance and authority of the Church have ever denied or questioned the twofold character of ownership, called usually individual or social according as it regards either separate persons or the common good. For they have always unanimously maintained that nature, rather the Creator Himself, has given man the right of private ownership not only that individuals may be able to provide for themselves and their families but also that the goods which the Creator destined for the entire family of mankind may through this institution truly serve this purpose. All this can be achieved in no wise except through the maintenance of a certain and definite order.

In response to the socialists and those who push an extreme individualism of economics, Pius XI reminds us of the nature of ownership. A fitting analogy is one I heard from Archbishop Fulton Sheen. He described ownership as private, yet conditioned by society. What excactly does he mean? Lets say you wish to have a horse. You have every right to own that horse. That is your right to private property. Yet in providing for that horse, you may not have that horse consume the crops of your neighbor without his permission. You cannot use your property the property of others, whether individual or society. That is how it is socially conditioned. Another example being the Second Amendment in America. You do have the right to defend yourself by keeping and bearing arms. You however may not use those arms you keep and bear to attack others or destroy the property of others.

Furthermore, a person's superfluous income, that is, income which he does not need to sustain life fittingly and with dignity, is not left wholly to his own free determination. Rather the Sacred Scriptures and the Fathers of the Church constantly declare in the most explicit language that the rich are bound by a very grave precept to practice almsgiving, beneficence, and munificence.

Here is something we also must remember. That while man has a right to private property, he is still obligated by the moral law to practice charity. For as we remember, from the Christian outlook, we use our temporal goods towards that of the eternal order. Those who have been blessed with large finances should help when they can at the end of the day. This is not to advocate the forced confiscation by governments of the wealthy's money. Yet it is to state that the wealthy have been given these gifts for a reason, to serve others.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Papal Wisdom: Pius XI on the Reconstruction of the Social Order

Quadragesimo Anno

As I originally stated in my commentary on Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum, there are few encyclicals which had more of a monumental impact on not only the Church, but the world. Indeed, it's impact has been so profound 3 popes have issued encyclicals celebrating it's anniversary. Today we shall begin looking at the first of these important works in Quadragesimo Anno, Pius XI's words on the 40th anniversary of Rerum novarum, which while 100 years old, is still just as relevant today.

Other Encyclicals of Our Predecessor had in a way prepared the path for that outstanding document and proof of pastoral care: namely, those on the family and the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony as the source of human society, on the origin of civil authority and its proper relations with the Church, on the chief duties of Christian citizens, against the tenets of Socialism against false teachings on human liberty, and others of the same nature fully expressing the mind of Leo Xlll. Yet the Encyclical, On the Condition of Workers, compared with the rest had this special distinction that at a time when it was most opportune and actually necessary to do so, it laid down for all mankind the surest rules to solve aright that difficult problem of human relations called "the social question."

We students of history at times have problems with placing events in their proper context. We look back and we see these events, but we underestimate their importance. Pius XI reminds people, and indeed introduces to people the situation surrounding the release of Rerum Novarum. The Church before him was a Church consisently working on settling out internal issues. Proudly known as the "garrison church." For indeed they had to, given the realities of the day, and that for the overwhelming part of such, the world was either Catholic or favorable to Catholicism and the Gospel.

Then came the void and indeed the anarchy we know as the French Revolution. The social order that had existed in many places for so long was no more. Without something concrete to really put in it's place, anarchy quickly ensued, and people were frantically looking for solutions to these problems. Many false ideas slowly began to creep in. While Popes such as Bl. Pius IX did encounter some of these liberal philsophies, he was mainly combatting the damage they were doing within the Church, rather than society in general.

Leo XIII's arrival to the Chair of Peter signaled a different note. He launched the drive to truly make the Church the "salt of the earth." It seemed for every single social question that was in society, he had an answer, using the precepts of the Fathers, of Thomas Aquinas, and the Councils, and the circumstances of the day to provide answers to society. So soon after Christendom had faded these principles were forgotten. Leo XIII was determined to implant these principles in the mind of the faithful. Yet on the issue of socialism, and more importantly the questions behind it in regards to capital and labor, Leo XIII had yet to seriously touch, and the world desparately needed answers.

For during this time, the balance between those who ran things, and those who worked for those people had shifted far too much in one direction. While liberals of today like to make the myth of "the rich keep getting richer while the poor get poorer" todays situation is lightyears ahead of the time of Leo XIII. While to some these businessmen were captains of industry, to many others they were robber barons. This situation needed a resolution.

There were those in the labor union movement who rather than providing a balance, one could say they were seeking revenge in punishing those who were wealthy. To these hearts the evil that is socialism was ideal for them. For to them, it was not a misuse of private property that was causing these problems, but the very notion of private property itself. This idea was so tempting, it even added to it's ranks many who professed to be Catholics and other Christians. No doubt sincere in their views, they could not see the forrest for the trees, and failed to realize these ideas were opening pandoras box, and toying with the very mechanisms God had placed in nature. Other Christians worldwide, while sympathizing with these problems, rather than taking such drastic measures on either side, looked to the source that they have so often looked towards in that time, Leo XIII.

Leo XIII recognized the problems presented by the questions of socialism and industry, and therefore immediately set to work on studying the issue. Listening and studying both sides carefully, Leo decided it was time to speak, recognizing that in these circumstances, a failure to speak could have grave consequences on all society.

It was for these reasons Leo XIII adressed not only the church when considering these questions, but indeed all of mankind. You didn't need to be Cathoilc to understand and cherish these principles was his reasoning. For he was going to argue from reason and nature itself. While without a doubt a staunch believer in the Catholic social order, he called to those who had never experienced such, and demonstrated to them their reason alone causes them to understand these things. This was indeed an act almost unheard of in his day, and one can see the office of the Papacy even forever changed by this event, as the Papacy was now a very important voice in the concerns of society, to even Non-Catholics. Coming from a union family, I myself know this, as a very liberal father worked for a union that to this day praises the work of Rerum novarum in improving the conditions of the workers worldwide.

This was the scene set for Rerum Novarum, and indeed, there may not be a more celebrated or controversial moment in the recent history of the Church than this encyclical. Calling for it's bold new path in defending the rights of both the worker and the owner alike, Catholics saught ways to implement his views. Leo XIII catapulted the Church into a showdown with socialism, a doctrine which according to Pius XI leads to a solution far worse than the evil it wiilled to correct. The clash between the two would last an entire century, and in many cases is still being battled.

Despite these benefits, the work was still feared by many on all sides of the issue. People viewed Leo XIII an idealist, believing that the "signs of the times" made it impossible to achieve such a solution that he laid out. Others viewed it a very radical departure from the established norms. Indeed it was, but this was not a bad thing. For as the enemy was rapidly evolving in it's evil, so to did the Church develop it's new solutions to new threats that required a forward thinking ability. This thinking was so forward, one could say Catholics have still failed to grasp the depth of Leo XIII's work, hence why 3 encyclicals have been written about it.

Venerable Brethren and Beloved Children, as all everywhere and especially Catholic workers who are pouring from all sides into this Holy City, are celebrating with such enthusiasm the solemn commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of the Encyclical On the Condition of Workers, We deem it fitting on this occasion to recall the great benefits this Encyclical has brought to the Catholic Church and to all human society; to defend the illustrious Master's doctrine on the social and economic question against certain doubts and to develop it more fully as to some points; and lastly, summoning to court the contemporary economic regime and passing judgment on Socialism, to lay bare the root of the existing social confusion and at the same time point the only way to sound restoration: namely, the Christian reform of morals. All these matters which we undertake to treat will fall under three main headings, and this entire Encyclical will be devoted to their development.

We see that from this work Pius XI intends several things. He wants to remind people, and instruct a new generation. Remind them of the struggle and the triumph related to this encyclical. Instruct a new generation in it's truths, and take it a step further, in using it's principles to respond to the evils of the society Pius XI lived in. Over the next few weeks, we shall explore all those facets.
New Topic.

I've been asked to cover Quadragesimo Anno by Pius XI in place of my current study on Christian education. I have decided to so, because a proper understanding of the social order and the role of the State in such flows to a proper understanding of the Christian way of education.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Consequence of Ideas

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Time for Some Shameless Self Promotion

I'm Relaunching my old weblog, Iceman's Random Thoughts, and converting it to covering the political sphere. Those of you who have been gluttons for punishment of my horrid grammar (shush Hilary :-) ) and pontifications over the past almost 3 years of me doing various things in the blogosphere on and off remember that I started with Iceman's Random thoughts, and covered a variety of areas from Apologetics with Protestants, to Politics, and also on Traditionalist issues. Anyways, that blog will be updated on a much more frequent basis, so hope everyone enjoys:

Iceman's Random Thoughts

On another note, I've added all sections of the commentary on Casti Conubii to the sidebar. I promise I won't be as lazy when I finish the one on Christian education, promise. :-)

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Pius XI
Christian Education
Part 2c: The Role of
Society in Education

It must be borne in mind also that the obligation of the family to bring up children, includes not only religious and moral education, but physical and civic education as well, principally in so far as it touches upon religion and morality.
Here the Pontiff outlines that education is more than just morality and religion, but all-encompassing, to physical education, and their role in society. Morality and religion heavily influence these two things. As our bodies are gifts of God, we should use them wisely. Part of using that body wisely is using it properly in society. Furthermore, as St. Paul reminded us that we still live in this world, even though we are not of it, we are to bring Christ to this world. It is for this reason our Blessed Lord told us to be the salt of the earth.

This incontestable right of the family has at various times been recognized by nations anxious to respect the natural law in their civil enactments. Thus, to give one recent example, the Supreme Court of the United States of America, in a decision on an important controversy, declared that it is not in the competence of the State to fix any uniform standard of education by forcing children to receive instruction exclusively in public schools, and it bases its decision on the natural law: the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right coupled with the high duty, to educate him and prepare him for the fulfillment of his obligations.

Quite astonishing that this decision occurred in America during Pius XI’s pontificate, compared to what we see nowadays, where judges are doing their best to force children into public schooling and compulsory public education. Yet the reasoning is something we must remind our out of control courts on. The civil law was not the first law to be enacted. There is a law higher than that, natural law, which all laws must conform to. Ultimately, these two sets of laws are to conform to the divine law. Furthermore, as the Court pointed out, the child is a creature of the parents. The state did not create them. Therefore, even if the State were to fail in educating the child, the parent would still be responsible. The state is not directly responsible if the parent fails to educate that child. It may help the child, but it is ultimately not the State’s obligation to do so. For society is responsible for the things it has created, and husband and wife theirs.

History bears witness how, particularly in modern times, the State has violated and does violate rights conferred by God on the family. At the same time it shows magnificently how the Church has ever protected and defended these rights, a fact proved by the special confidence which parents have in Catholic schools. As We pointed out recently in Our letter to the Cardinal Secretary of State:

The family has instinctively understood this to be so, and from the earliest days of Christianity down to our own times, fathers and mothers, even those of little or no faith, have been sending or bringing their children in millions to places of education under the direction of the Church.
As always, a strong and vibrant Church always protects citizens of society from a society overstepping it’s boundaries. When society abuses its power in education, the Catholic Church established an education system that educated children rightly and properly, free from the control of the State. Even those Non-Catholic parents may have sent their children to Catholic schools from time to time, realizing the prominence the Church placed on education, and the prominence the Church placed on the families role in education above the state.

On the other hand so jealous is she of the family's inviolable natural right to educate the children, that she never consents, save under peculiar circumstances and with special cautions, to baptize the children of infidels, or provide for their education against the will of the parents, till such time as the children can choose for hemselves and freely embrace the Faith

Unlike the out of control State, which wishes to indoctrinate children against the will of their parents, the Church has always respected the right of the family, even if that family were not Catholic. They would not baptize that child without the parents consent, or educate the children against their will. The state in Pius XI’s time and more so today, wishes to indoctrinate the child with the ills of secular humanism, and the parent has little say over this manner. When the
parent exercises their right as parent and removes the child from such a hostile environment, charges are levied upon the parent and the child for truancy.

These rights have been conferred upon civil society by the Author of nature Himself, not by title of fatherhood, as in the case of the Church and of the family, but in virtue of the authority which it possesses to promote the common temporal welfare, which is precisely the purpose of its existence. Consequently education cannot pertain to civil society in the same way in which it pertains to the Church and to the family, but in a different way corresponding to its own particular end and object.
Here we see that from a Christian perspective, and indeed from natural law, the State is to have a very limited role in education. It is to protect education as so far it goes towards promoting the common welfare. While they may provide education services, nowhere is a mandate provided for the State to do as it pleases in education. Nowhere is it a mandate of the State to stop parents from choosing which schools their children attend. Rather, the state is to ensure education, however it is done, promotes the general welfare of society and the people living in society.

It also belongs to the State to protect the rights of the child itself when the parents are found wanting either physically or morally in this respect, whether by default, incapacity or misconduct, since, as has been shown, their right to educate is not an absolute and despotic one, but dependent on the natural and divine law, and therefore subject alike to the authority and jurisdiction of the Church, and to the vigilance and administrative care of the State in view of the common good. Besides, the family is not a perfect society, that is, it has not in itself all the means necessary for its full development. In such cases, exceptional no doubt, the State does not put itself in the place of the family, but merely supplies deficiencies, and provides suitable means, always in conformity with the natural rights of the child and the supernatural rights of the Church.
Notice that first of all, The Pontiff states that these cases are exceptional, not the norm. If it can be proven that parents are teaching their children in contradiction of the natural law, or were educating their children inefficiently, the State may assist, not overriding the parent’s authority, but complementing such. For the common welfare is never served by intruding into the rights of the family as a whole.

In general then it is the right and duty of the State to protect, according to the rules of right reason and faith, the moral and religious education of youth, by removing public impediments that stand in the way. In the first place it pertains to the State, in view of the common good, to promote in various ways the education and instruction of youth. It should begin by encouraging and assisting, of its own accord, the initiative and activity of the Church and the family, whose successes in this field have been clearly demonstrated by history and experience. It should moreover supplement their work whenever this falls short of what is necessary, even by means of its own schools and institutions. For the State more than any other society is provided with the means put at its disposal for the needs of all, and it is only right that it use these means to the advantage of those who have contributed them
We see that the State’s primary role in the eyes of Pius XI is not as educator, but as protector of those who educate. As the parents know that child best, they know what the best course of education is for that child. Likewise, it is a fact that those home schooled, or those in private Christian institutions consistently outperform those in public schools. This track record sadly nowadays is completely ignored. The reason for this success is not hard to understand, given the special relationship between the child and his parents, and the child and the Church.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Being a Witness When You Vote

Moses was commanded by God to tell Pharaoh to let His people go. Moses told Pharaoh, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Let my people go" (Exodus 5:1). He was addressing a political figure, Pharaoh, and was "lobbying" to let the people of God go. Pharaoh, himself not a Hebrew, treated the people of God badly as if they were simply robots to be commanded. He did not recognize the dignity of each individual person. Moses was then commanded by God to lead His people out of the chains of Pharaoh. God told him not to put his faith aside even when confronting political issues. When confronted, Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I should heed his plea to let Israel go? I do not kow the Lord; even if I did, I would not let Israel go" (Exodus 5:2). Why wouldn't Pharaoh let Israel go even if he knew the Lord?Today, many politicians who claim to know the Lord would still not let His people go. Today, anyone who does not put his faith aside, like Moses, are being demonized as if religion should not be taken seriously. Anyone who takes the Lord's commandments are labelled as "religious fundamentalists."

In the past, Christians did not put their aside for political reasons. When the Roman Empire told the Christians to offer sacrifices to him, they disobeyed him because they knew that to separate their faith and politics is to separate themselves with Christ. They did not believe that you cease to be a Christian when you leave your house or the church. Christianity is not something you can switch "on and off" on. Christianity is a total commitment. Either you give your whole self or you don't. This includes the public sphere, including the political sphere. Should we let politicians like the Roman Emperor change our whole life?

Half a decade ago, Pope Pius XII was a modern day Moses who saved many lives. He stood up against the politician from Germany though he was very dangerous and was thinking about attacking Rome. The politician from Germany took away many lives, about 10 million persons, each with their own biography. Pope Pius XII did not let his faith be separated from politics. He stood up for each and every person's dignity, trying to save lives as much as he can.

What about me? I am 19 years old and this is the first time I'm going to vote for a President. Who will I vote for? Well, I'll tell you who I won't vote for. I won't vote for a person who would let the government fund the murdering of people. I will not vote for a person who supports a woman's right to contribute to the holocaust of today. I will not vote for a person who claims he knows the Lord and won't let His people go. I don't care if people demonize me for putting my faith in politics. I stand with great men: Moses, the Christian martyrs, and Pope Pius XII. I stand on the shoulders of these great men. I will vote because of my religious convictions because so did they. I will not put their efforts to oppose politicians when they are against the Gospel to waste. I am a Christian and I stand in a long tradition of heroes. Their heroic virtues is not wasted and I won't let it go into waste. I will continue their efforts, thinking about them when I vote. I will walk towards the same direction they walked on: Calvary.

Let us not put the great men's heroism in vain. Let us stand with tradition. Let us stand up for life. Let us stand up for marriage. Let us stand up for truth. And in addition with all the great men above who stood up for truth, let us stand up for truth just as Christ stood up for it--stood up for it all the way to Calvary. And I will not let His sacrifice be put in vain. Truth needs to be our guide so that we can be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. When you vote, don't be a Republican or a Democrat. Be a witness to Christ, the way, the truth, and the life.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Papal Wisdom: Pius XI Divini Illius Magistri

Part IIb: The Role of the Family in Education

In the first place the Church's mission of education is in wonderful agreement with that of the family, for both proceed from God, and in a remarkably similar manner. God directly communicates to the family, in the natural order, fecundity, which is the principle of life, and hence also the principle of education to life, together with authority, the principle of order.

Here Pius XI rightly chooses to begin with the role of the family instead of the role of the State in education because it is primarily the families right. As we shall see when we cover more of the economics and political theory of Pius XI, he consistently advocates a very limited role of government in dealing with many social problems. Government should only be involved in a secondary manner, or when all other means of help fail. (This is where I feel most Catholics in the "social justice" movement fail gravely, putting the State, rather than the family and the Church, as the primary solver of all of societies ills.)

Pius XI compares the Church and the family, and we do see many similarities. The head of each "family" has certain roles of authority and discpline, and providing for the offspring.

The child is naturally something of the father . . . so by natural right the child, before reaching the use of reason, is under the father's care. Hence it would be contrary to natural justice if the child, before the use of reason, were removed from the care of its parents, or if any disposition were made concerning him against the will of the parents. And as this duty on the part of the parents continues up to the time when the child is in a position to provide for itself, this same inviolable parental right of education also endures. "Nature intends not merely the generation of the offspring, but also its development and advance to the perfection of man considered as man, that is, to the state of virtue"
says the same St. Thomas.

What creator would not also ensure that his creation is well taken care of? God created us, and God also provides for our well being, in both the spiritual and the temporal realm. Likewise, the parents create the child (in a certain sense at the miracle of birth) and hence the well being is their obligation before anyone else. Since they are to be with the child most, they are to impart right values into him. Since the child is of the parents seed, they must make sure that child is correctly formed. Though in today's world where the Leviathian state is worshipped above everything else, such a thought is truly anathema. Pius XI, like Leo XIII before him, saw these tendencies starting to spring up, and began to offer arguments to counter them. It is worth noting that such arguments that they found insane are now accepted as commonplace amongst many today, even within Christian circles.

On this point the common sense of mankind is in such complete accord, that they would be in open contradiction with it who dared maintain that the children belong to the State before they belong to the family, and that the State has an absolute right over their education. Untenable is the reason they adduce, namely that man is born a citizen and hence belongs primarily to the State, not bearing in mind that before being a citizen man must exist; and existence does not come from the State, but from the parents, as Leo XIII wisely declared: "The children are something of the father, and as it were an extension of the person of the father; and, to be perfectly accurate, they enter into and become part of civil society, not directly by themselves, but through the family in which they were born.

There are many today who believe in the educational establishment who believe precisely what Pius XI is condemning. Look at their reaction towards those parents who assert their rights as parents and choose to school their children at home. They essentially reason that the parents do not have the right to make sure that they provide for their children first and foremost. There are many who think homeschooling should be criminal, in that it refuses to let the State educate it's children. Education is all about imposing a certain worldview. That worldview can be Christian, secular, a worldview that embraces critical thinking, a worldview that accepts certain issues without ever questioning them, all these worldviews can be imparted in education. The state will impose the worldview they advocate, and the parent theirs. Yet if we Christians allow the State to dictate to us what our children are to believe, have we not just surrendered our rights as parents?

It does not however follow from this that the parents' right to educate their children is absolute and despotic; for it is necessarily subordinated to the last end and to natural and divine law, as Leo Xlll declares in another memorable encyclical, where He thus sums up the rights and duties of parents: "By nature parents have a right to the training of their children, but with this added duty that the education and instruction of the child be in accord with the end for which by God's blessing it was begotten. Therefore it is the duty of parents to make every effort to prevent any invasion of their rights in this matter, and to make absolutely sure that the education of their children remain under their own control in keeping with their Christian duty, and above all to refuse to send them to those schools in which there is danger of imbibing the deadly poison of impiety."

Just as the state is not at liberty to do whatever it pleases, nor is the family at liberty to do so when it comes to educating children. Any steps they take towards educating children should be in line with the blessing given to them in that child. When a parent rightly takes education seriously, he glorifies God in doing so. How? Think about how us Catholics have a love and tender devotion for certain saints, most importantly Our Blessed Mother. In giving them honor, we deduce that this ultimately glorifies God, for the blessings He has given to the saint are manifest. We also attempt to imtiate them. Likewise, in educating children in the right and proper ways, God is glorified, in that we recognize the awesome blessing, and task, that God has given us. Not only are we thankful for such a blessing, but we show we are using that blessing to the best of our ability.

Part of using that blessing is making sure it is kept as pure as possible. Even if the parent sends a child off to a school, the parent is still responsible for what the child learns. In today's public education landscape for example, it is secular humanism that the child learns, either overtly or implicitly through the worldview the majority of teachers impart. While everyone should avoid being in such an enviroment as much as possible, this goes all the more for children. A child has not yet had the formation and experience that those more advanced in years have had. Therefore, especially if the person speaking this is an authority figure, they are far more likely to believe what they are hearing. At times, what they are hearing is very dangerous and lethal to the soul. As it is the parents right to make sure that the child's spiritual as well as temporal life is rightly ordered until he can provide for himself, one could say they sin gravely when they neglect this situation.

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