By:  Monsignor Jean-Joseph Gaume
Apostolic Protonotary, Doctor of Theology
Translated by:  Brother Francis
Second edition, 1884


The most terrible punishment of guilty societies is neither the inner malaise that torments them, nor the opprobrium that covers them, but their loss of intelligence and moral sense.  For them all relationships are changed; the accessory becomes the primary; virtue is money; men are their bodies; the present is everything and the future nothing.  For them, nothing is more real than pleasure and business.  See them on one side exhausting their resources to dig canals, building factories and theatres, while on the other they attach ridiculous importance to ephemeral forms, consuming themselves in intrigues and turmoil through constantly recurring conflicts over the maintenance and reversal of such or such political combinations, while they forever ignore their primary and most cherished interests.  How vain the men and peoples in whom the science of God is no longer found!  (1)

Nonetheless He who in His power raises an insurmountable dike against the waves of the sea, has, in His mercy, set an end to the errors and evils of the sons of Adam.  The day when Providence has resolved to heal the nations of the earth seems to approach.  Already the spirit of indifference and incredulity seems to lose its force; on every side the Catholics affirm their commitment to religion as the facts already begin to speak for themselves.  And we also believe in a better future.  However, we do not conceal the point, for us the time of hope has not yet come of age.  The return of the peoples will be prolonged, since the space they have travelled through in their errors is so great!   In fact, to rely on the older generation is but illusion, a vain hope!  Can the old tree unbend and recover its straight lines?  No, the divine oracle must be fulfilled:  With his every step the adolescent shall walk in the ways of his youth all the way to the grave.  (2)

Born in storms, thrown into the fields on leaving their homes where they have learned nothing but to calculate and lag behind, the current generation grew up far from the religion they do not love and do not know and for which they do not feel any need.  Deaf, blind, hateful and sad victims of paternal impiety and an atheist despotism, they will die, as they have lived, without God, without faith, without love:  Let the world be resigned, for they shall suffer their evil deeds to the end.

But there is another generation born of Christian parents, still virgin of error and vice, or at least in whom vice and error have as yet put down only shallow roots; a generation that, transmitting everything they have received, and nothing but what they have received, will spread around them order or disorder, life or death; a generation with an immense desire to know and love the books presented to them to satisfy both needs; a generation finally that, despite the innumerable causes of corruption with which they will be surrounded from the cradle, is distinguished by a frankness of character, a generosity of feeling, an infallible sign of the noble mission that God reserves for the defence of the Church and the salvation of society.

So you who exercise the sublime priesthood of education, above all the Catholic priests who carry on your lips the future of the world, remember you are the ministers of He who called the little children to Himself, He who has said:  “Go, teach, for your words shall save the world.”  Focus now on this childhood dear to God, the only hope of religion and society, the gaze of your love: study their wishes, their needs, their circumstances among which the children awake to life; make yourself worthy of them, to make them worthy of God.  The salvation of the world is to be had only at this price.

Education:  such is the great, the chief business of our time; she must be the first of our cares, as she is the most important of our duties.  We shall attempt to say what she must be to satisfy the requirements of our age, one of the most remarkable in the history of the human race.  If we can be accused of recklessness, we will in reply content ourselves with these words of Tertullian:  “Amid great dangers the Church calls all her children to combat.  In his omnis homo miles.”

(1)Vani autem sunt omnes hommes in quibus non subest scientia Dei. Sap. XIII, 1.

(2) Proverbium est : Adolescens juxta viam suam, etiam cum senuerit non recedet ab ea. Prov. XXII, 6.



If we want to look closely, we see that in Europe for the past three centuries society has realised in every one of its phases the Gospel parable of the Prodigal Son.  Daughter of Catholicism, she grew calm and happy in the shadow of paternal authority and developed her strong and beautiful proportions under the influence of truth , sure presage of a noble virility and rapid delivery into the fullness of the age of Christ, providential expression for perfection on earth (Ephesians 4:13).  Suddenly a fatal schism broke out in the heart of Europe.  Like every crisis that throws humanity far off course, this immense event was prepared by causes lost in the murky depths of centuries past.  It is no part of the plan we have traced to search for the origins of the Great Western Schism:  Our task is to note the incalculable effects.  Despite its powerful constitution, the Middle Ages were then shaken to their foundations.  The ancient union of religion and society received a mortal blow:  Until then so venerable and so imposing, the voice of the Roman Pontiffs became silent, doubtful, suspect; the majesty of their power vanished like a great shadow; the respect and filial confidence of the peoples fell; the authority of the law reached its limits, and, obligated to make do through an eclipse of forty years, society felt rising in her heart the fatal desire for independence that, become for her a passion, became, a century later, a rush into the abyss.

Thus, everything was prepared for a universal earthquake.  Seized with a vague uneasiness, the more alert only asked for a signal:  They did not have long to wait.  From the depths of a monastery in Germany a voice arose, powerful instrument of the general malaise and the sinful thoughts that were fermenting in souls.  Like that of the first seducer, the voice said:  Break the yoke of authority, and ye shall be as gods, O peoples!  Now you are strong enough, enlightened enough to lead yourselves; for you the hour of your freedom has struck.  The voice is heard, to vast applause and response, and we saw the daughter of Catholicism hastily take the portion of her inheritance, leave the paternal home and quickly move away into unknown far away regions in order to play amid the independence of the promised bliss.
Amazing seduction!  Who will explain the mystery?  Who can say how society could so easily break the bonds of the sweetest and most salutary authority, forgetting the many blessings with which she had been filled and the long period of happiness and glory she had enjoyed?  What then is the magical power over the daughters of Adam of these words:  Break the yoke of authority, and ye shall be as gods?  Man, active essentially because he is intelligent, shows the undying need to know the truth, his good, his final repose.  But man does not find this truth, the life of his intelligence, within himself; he must receive it like he receives physical life; therefore he must submit his reason to a higher reason.  However this submission, necessary condition of his development, was presented to him as destructive of the laws of nature, like an unworthy obstacle imposed against his perfection.  Who does not see, therefore, that Catholicism, whose authority enshrines this salutary submission in principle, must have seemed an insupportable tyranny, an odious law of obscurantism and degradation, while Protestantism, setting itself up as the liberty of reason, the law of progress and the very principle of human activity, however unbridled, had to and did in fact make so many and such rapid conquests?Like Eve, seduced society had tasted the forbidden fruit.  Scarcely had she approached it to her lips than a horrible evil, for which until then she had not known the name, devouring doubt, seized her and quickly despoiled her of every truth that comprised her rich patrimony.  What is the history of society since her divorce from the faith, but the history of the successive loss of every truth and the ever increasing ravages of doubt?  The truths that are assigned to the religious, political and scientific orders, has been attacked at every point, denied or opposed in ways seemingly impossible to believe!  And because authority is most imposing and sacred in the religious order, the war began against the truths that composed that order.  Mysteries, dogmas, sacraments, nothing was spared. Exposed to a thousand different attacks, the ancient edifice of the Roman faith seemed to collapse entirely onto her foundations; many times did the sophist fool flatter himself that he was attending (see in particular the writings of Jurieu) the funeral of that Church on whose forehead the divine finger had engraved the seal of immortality.  Hence the cordial hatred for Catholicism, distinctive character of modern science, and hence the cloud of sarcasms concerning the idiocy and imbecility of believers; from there the superb protest of the philosopher of Geneva never to become Catholic because then he would in future have to believe; hence the much accredited view, even today, that in spirits the Faith cannot but be the inverse of the light of reason, from whence, in turn, too much human respect and that culpable shame to show oneself a disciple of the Faith, a horrible evil of which the social consequences are incalculable.  Jurieu and Rousseau led the redirection of Luther’s  fearsome weapon against political society.   Descartes, a Protestant without knowing it, in his turn reversed the point of departure of reason in science; then Bayle finally made a game of denying everything until Voltaire made a mockery of everything.  Thus driven from every part of the intellectual world, intelligence, half dethroned, took refuge in the physical world; at least there she thought herself safe, and there, become incapable of reasoning, this queen of creation began to calculate forces, analyse salts and weigh atoms.  In her blindness she assumed that the material basis given to her investigations would ensure the fruits of her sad labours.  Vain hope!  As the malady follows the steps of the patient, doubt, implacable doubt follows her.  Thus modern society, prodigious child of Catholicism, has quickly dissipated her magnificent patrimony, that heritage of truths she has received from her Divine Father, and that she must not only preserve intact but also transmit enlarged.  The source of this universal, this indefinable malaise, this wave of anxiety, this thirst for change that has tormented Europe for three centuries?  The peoples have lost God and in their terror, their deep misery, in the dark delusion of their thoughts, they are agitated, tormented and exhaust themselves in efforts and theories to regain what they have lost.  Thus the unfortunate ones, engaged in the obscure windings of catacombs, let the guiding thread escape and worry, agitate and torment themselves; go, come back and attempt everything until they have succumbed, exhausted with fatigue, or else recovering the tutelary thread they go out from the shadowy labyrinth and return to the light of day.Such are the alternatives for society in Europe.  Either she returns to the God she has lost and then, returned to her inheritance, placed once again among the true conditions of existence and progress, she resumes under the salutary influence of religion the so long interrupted work of her harmonious development; or else, after several convulsive movements, she will sleep a fatal sleep, debased, degraded, the inevitable prey of bloody anarchy and barbarism.  However it is not enough for society to have dissipated her inheritance:  this crime calls forth another crime.  What the sky became for the thunderstruck Archangel (3), an implacable enemy subject to a cordial hatred and source of ineffable anxieties, so truth becomes for the dispossessed intelligence, even though dispossessed by its own fault:  when God is no more than a word, he soon becomes an odious word.  To doubt, to sophism, therefore succeeds sarcasm.  Incarnated in Voltaire and his school, for sixty years society had no other religious language and truth, the daughter of Heaven, was shown to the generations of the 18th Century like a king in a theatre subjected to , in the midst of a parade of withering derision and insult, and so was his adorable Name first heard in the ears of most men of that time.  Why should we be surprised then at the incredible aversion, the haughty disdain, the frozen indifference they showed to Him?  Why should we be surprised at the scourges that beset us?  Our fathers have sown the wind and should we not reap the storms?  Such was the strange reversal that took place in ideas and manners, such was the immensity of space society had crossed in her wanderings, the depth of the abyss into which she had fallen.  Yet her instruction was not complete, her troubles had not yet reached their end.  At the bottom of the bitter cup there remained some dregs:  she must drink them.  As the effect follows the cause, the loss of liberty must follow the loss of faith.  Here no middle position is possible.  When society in her pride throws off the yoke of God, she must then bow her head beneath the yoke of man.  So that instead of the whole and complete truth, European society found nothing in the intellectual world but desolating doubt, vanity, falsehood in every one of its forms, and in the moral order nothing but the shameful domination of lesser loves rather than of the absolute triumph of higher loves for which she had hoped; thus in the political order, she found the domination of men, despotism, and her harshest discovery was the true realisation of the false dream of independence that had seduced her.  Great topic of meditation!  As the body carries its shadow everywhere with it, so Protestantism introduced despotism and anarchy into every State it penetrated. (4)

“Many have said,” states Monsieur Chateaubriand, “that Protestantism has been favourable to political liberty and has emancipated the nations.  Do the facts speak the same as people do?  Cast your eyes over the North of Europe among the lands where the Reformation was born, where the Reformation has lingered and you will everywhere see the will of a master.  Sweden, Prussia, Saxony remain absolute monarchies; Denmark has become a legal despotism…  The English people were so far from obtaining an extension of their liberties that the Senate of Tiberius was never so vile as the parliament of Henry VIII.  This parliament went so far as to decree that the will of the tyrant, the founder of the Church of England, alone had the force of law.”  (Etudes historiques, Introduction).  German Protestantism and English Deism were introduced into France and when those theories of despotism came into favour there and corrupted a considerable section of the people both great and small when the theories of despotism came into favour there.  Thus society was degraded from abyss to abyss to the last degree, realising every phase of excess and humiliation like the emblematic sufferings of the Prodigal Son in the Gospels.

Who could contemplate the lamentable state of this noble daughter of Catholicism, the beloved child whose birth cost the blood of a God and her education fourteen centuries of solicitude without being moved to tears?  What prophet shall come to sit down and cry over such a great ruin?  Was this the desolate reality into which those bright dreams of freedom, glory and divine happiness that seduced France in her credulous innocence were to change?  Yes, for it is written:  Each shall be punished where he has sinned (5), a statement as equitable as it is terrible, the common law of individuals and peoples.  But is this done?  Is humanity forever bent beneath the weight of chastisement?  Shall society wear the rags of her misery to the end?  Shall she have nothing to appease the hunger that devours her but the remains of unclean filthy animals?  Must one erase from the European languages the divine words:  liberty, truth, justice, goodness?  As for us, steadfast in the belief that the infirmities of contemporary society, however great they may be, are by no means near their end, we believe society is imitating the Prodigal Son in his wanderings and will imitate him again.  While around her the darkness of the grave, horror and the confusion of hell reign throughout the desolate regions into which her guilty errors have led her, yet ever so faraway torrents of light showing her the paternal home and her father Himself who extends his arms and calls her with every tenderness of His love.

Woe to governments if the movements that carry the peoples do not bring them intelligence, if the noise of forty thrones fallen within less than a century does not suffice to waken them and teach them this is finally the time to take the side of religion and justice,  and above them the side of the One through whom kings reign.

With the rebirth of Christian ideas in society the return of the ancient and wise liberty of our ancestors is thus inevitable. Yet the seducer of society, that father of modern slavery, has grown old.  Look around you.  Challenged on every side by socialism, deism, by practical atheism and forced to take refuge in the shadow of power to prolong its obsolete existence, what is Protestantism at present if not a building in ruins?  They are no longer men given to hateful passions who used the evangelical perfections to distill the venom and sarcasm of slanders against the representative of God, the father of peoples, the venerable Roman Pontiff of Roman Catholic truth and founder of European liberty.  No, times have changed.  In addition to the solemn tributes rendered to the Roman Pontiffs by the Protestants themselves, whether as Heads of religion or arbitrators between kings and peoples, everywhere the serious men of the present time whose voice can be heard above the noise of the crowd commanding attention proclaim to everyone around them the indispensable necessity for an authoritative Supreme Judge of political and religious controversies alike.  Though when men be silent then does not intellectual anarchy devour the whole of Europe if they should not speak loudly enough?  Hence thanks to the progress of ideas, never since the Reformation has there been less hateful prejudice and blind prejudice against the Pontifical Chair, and in consequence fewer real obstacles against the resurrection of the great Catholic family.  We write this knowing well the current improbability of this future Comforter.  However we write with happiness because we believe the obstacles are much less among souls than among things, with much less work remaining for those presently living than was done by those now in the past.  This is a storm that stirs the lower atmosphere, while peace is reborn in the upper regions.  Such is our faith, society shall never perish and, in our view, for her not to perish she must become what she once was, Catholic and free.  Moreover, we still believe, her long hibernation of three centuries, that long interregnum of God over her, must instead give way to a better future and we have as a pledge for our belief, in addition to the regenerative movement we have indicated, the admirable counsels of Providence over this century.  And first, raise your eyes to the sanctuary, that mysterious and formidable region from whence by turns truth and error come forth for the salvation and ruin of nations.  The destinies of peoples are written in the conduct of priests:  Who can read from this living book is a prophet.  Hence when at the end of the last century revolutionary schism threatened France, and from one hundred thirty bishops one saw only four prevaricators, who, enlightened by the teachings of experience and faith, could not proclaim the salvation of our fatherland?  And on the contrary in the time of Henry VIII when from among more than one hundred bishops scarcely a few remained faithful to their conscience, who could have not confidently predicted the incalculable plagues that would desolate England?  Now, therefore, consider the future of France in the conduct of her clergy.  Has it ever been more irreproachable?  Is not the most hateful impiety forced into silence or whispering slander?  Some isolated scandals only better demonstrate the integrity of the whole body; we must not forget purity of life is the surest guarantee of purity and firmness of faith.  Then why do we think Providence has taken care to adorn France with so many virtues?

Why has she been chosen in preference to any other to be purified by a baptism of blood and reduced to persecution, exile and poverty in the spirit of ancient times?  In a word, why was she nailed to the cross as the priest par excellence?  If not to make such a priest worthy of the high mission a near future prepares for him.  (6)

Men of little faith, do we know how a single drop of blood of a priest hangs in the balance of divine justice?  What we know is that the blood of the simple faithful was always a fruitful seed of new Christians.  What will become of this blood of priests, of this blood of priests shed in torrents?  What better guarantee do you want of the magnificent place God reserves for France, and by means of France for the whole of Europe?  Men of God by their virtue, let the priests remake the men of the peoples with science and freedom and you shall see.  From the sanctuary, pass through the scientific world, another region where the future of the peoples is achieved.  And here too you shall see revelatory signs of salvation shine on the horizon.  The men who in this century hold the sceptre of science and genius, the kings of intelligence, are united to defend the cause of God, much as the strong spirits of the last century were leagued together to combat that cause.  Science which, making herself Protestant, made herself increasingly skeptical, materialist, hateful and indifferent, has ceased to be hostile; and she even tends strongly towards spirituality and faith.  No doubt this spiritualism is not yet complete, her faith is not yet Catholic; yet can the human spirit in a day ascend above the abyss into which three centuries have been required to reach the bottom?   Is not one of the laws of her being that in her return she follows the same progress she followed in her errors?  She walked from error to error; she shall walk from truth to truth.  See now if Providence has not been careful to confirm every of our hopes?  Has not Providence with a long hand smoothed the entire way to an immense Catholic synthesis?  Like a harbinger war has passed and in his gigantic course prepared the ways for the grand unity we announce.  This phenomenon is not the least instructive or the least consoling of our time.  The peoples are brothers:  Born to be but one family, their union remains as much as their love.  The principle of hate, error, and above all religious error, came to divide spirits, the true social bond, and the unity of faith was broken, hearts drew apart, defiance and fear seized the peoples, walls of separation rose and isolation took place.  Incomprehensible disorder, as contrary to the designs of God as fatal to the perfection of the human species.  But when the moment comes to return humanity to its ways, what does Providence do?  She calls forth war.  And like the storm war in its violence breaks down the separation walls that separate peoples, carrying the peoples one to another, mingling them, mixing them once again and through a deluge of blood making them expiate the crime that divided them.  Peace succeeds war, relations must be established and after the mutual effusion of blood comes the exchange of ideas, at first concerning material interests.  With its hundred arms commerce embraces both victors and vanquished.  Little by little communication of literary, philosophic and religious ideas remake beliefs to be similar to the interests they already share in common.  In this conflict, whether more or less slowly, the triumph of truth over error is as infallible as that of light over the shadows when the sun appears on the horizon.  Such was, if we wish to take notice, the history of the world on the eve of the evangelical preaching.  That is also the history of our time.  Wars such as we had not seen since those of the Romans came to wrest their isolation, mix, mingle the peoples of Europe through a quarter-century.  Since the invasion of Protestantism no principles of union existed among them other than material interests.  Become almost strangers to each other, taking this term in its pagan meaning, they had fallen as much as is possible for Christian nations beneath the empire of that savage law of universal hate and defiance which hung over the world before the law of grace.  But the genius of war came and they again mingled their blood and flags in so solemn a manner as they had not done since those times of love and faith when, rising as one man, they together crossed Europe and Asia to drive back Muslim barbarism and free the tomb of Christ, sacred birthplace of the world’s freedom.  And now what has been the result of so many wars?  The peoples have come out from their nationality; an immense association has taken shape with countless relationships established and maintained through an activity unmatched until now.  The prodigious discoveries of industry seem to spiritualise matter and communicate the agility of minds to bodies; the press, with the rapidity of lightning, carries from north to south the thoughts, wishes and needs of a hundred diverse peoples, and in the twinkling of an eye makes millions of hearts beat in unison.  Knowledge, that had been reserved to a small number of scholars before this time, became general.  The works and discoveries of genius, under every climate it inhabits, are a common heritage; minds draw near in the same light.  Once so inveterate and so hateful, anti-Catholic prejudices fall for the most part at the mere presence of French priests dispersed by persecution and forced by war throughout every part of Europe.  An immense movement towards Catholicism has been formed; thousands of sheep, returned to the fold in England, the United States and Germany have prepared the way for thousands of others to follow.  What war began, war can conclude.  The revolutionary storm which according to impiety was to destroy the Church has in the designs of God only served as a favourable wind whose breath carried the good seed to twenty new countries where it continued to produce a hundredfold.  For a century the action of Providence has visibly tended to make every people into one homogenous mass, like one body that only one spirit should enliven.  Because a dozen years ago the illustrious Count de Maistre said:  “Providence never fumbles and does not shake the world in vain when announcing we are marching towards a great unity that we must salute from afar, to use a religious phrase.  We are painfully crushed, but if miserable eyes like mine are worthy to glimpse the divine secrets, then we are crushed to be moulded!”  (Soirées, etc., Volume One, p. 77.)

(3)  Though the field be lost
All is not lost.
We may with more successful hope resolve
To wage by force or guile eternal war
Irreconcilable to our grand foe:
Farewell happy fields,
Where joys forever dwell, hail horrors ; hail,
Infernal world …………………………………..
The mirid is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n.

(4)  Ubicumque invaluere Calvini discipuli imperia turbavere.  This vow is from Grotius himself!

(5)  Per quæ, peccat quis, per hæc et torquetur. Sapient., XI, 17.

(6)  Et ego si exaltatus fuero a terra omnia traham ad meipsum. Joan. XII 32.



A good educational system cannot be made a priori, no more than a political constitution, and must be the work of time, the summary of past experience, expressing the needs of the present and the organic law of the designs of Providence for the future.  That is why before explaining what education needs to be in current circumstances, we have attempted to characterise our age, indicating the general causes preparing the age and the principle phenomena distinguishing it.  Convinced we march towards a grand unity, we have said, on pain of obstructing the divine action on the world and falsifying the mission of the rising generations, that contemporary education must assume a prominent character of Catholicity.  But first what is education?  To answer this fundamental question, it is essential to know the nature of man and the condition of humanity on earth.  This prior knowledge is more necessary at present when among every concept what modern errors have most altered is the concept of education.  Who cannot see that this modification has been profound, since language itself has been altered.  Hence, by an immense abuse, the word education has almost been effaced from the language and substituted with that of instruction.  However instruction is only part of human development, and even a secondary part.  (7)
(7)  “It is a great mistake to confuse education with instruction, and to believe one has raised a child when his mind has been cultivated without having done anything for his heart.  What is indeed the purpose of education?  It is not only to teach the young Greek and Latin, belles-lettres and form them to the beaux-arts, to fill their memories with geographic knowledge, historic facts and dates, to advance them in the study of geometry, algebra and mathematics, chemistry, etc.  This knowledge, I admit, is useful and estimable…  However this knowledge must be considered as a means and not as an end.  Usually they are intended to make us good and useful to society, but they reach this goal only when supported by morality and led by virtue.  What should we make of a scholar who does not serve science but rather pride, cupidity and every passion to the scandal of morals and the overthrow of society?  We only truly belong to our families, our fellow citizens and society through qualities of the heart; science without virtue is only a dangerous instrument and virtue has no base except in religion.  The purpose of teachers, even more than any of that, says Monsieur Rollin after having said the share of instruction is to form the hearts of the young, to guard their innocence, to inspire them with principles of honour and probity, to correct and conquer the evil inclinations in them that may be there.”  (Etrennes religieuses, 1807, page 101.)
“A man thus educated, that is to say who has taken care with the studies of the mind and neglected the studies of the heart, is not a man but a plaster cast.  Thoughts of Baron d’Ekstein.

Moreover this important point will be clear from what we shall say.  Man is at once body, mind and heart.  Each of these three things has a distinct vitality, a life of its own.  Whatever the vitality of the body, the life of the organism is movement or action.  God, considered as truth, as object of perception, is the vital principle of the mind:  to live for the mind is to know that God, considered as good, as the object of love, is the vital principle of the heart:  to live for the heart is to love.  However these integral parts of the same being of body, mind and heart are to each other, to God and to the universe in hierarchic relationships of which the maintenance, development and perfection constitute the existence, development and perfection of order.  Point of union between the invisible and visible worlds, the body is firstly in a relation of superiority to material beings and secondly in a relation of inferiority to spiritual beings.  Through his five senses which are analogous to beings and to the specific properties of beings whose infinite variety compose nature, physical man rules the world of bodies, appropriates them and the lives through that which he absorbs, maintains and makes in order to improve his own.  (8)
(8) Every creature tends to perfect itself, to pass to a more noble life, but to do that they must lose their own life.  Thus inorganic life serves as food for organic bodies, thereby taking on the life of the being into which they have been assimilated; the vegetal in turn is absorbed by the animal and is communicated into the life of the animal; the vegetal, animal and every kingdom is for man, who in assimilating them communicates his life to them.  God in turn draws man to Himself, assimilates him and He communicates His divine and immortal life so that man can say:  It is no longer I who live but God who lives in me.  Who here, quiet with love and admiration, does not adore the mystery in which this sublime transformation reduces the universe to unity!

The perfection of these five powers constitutes the perfection of organic man and ensures him dominion over the material creation summarised in him.  But if the body is king, he is also vassal.  The mind, superior by nature, dominates the body and through the body the physical world.  The eye sees, the hand touches, hearing, taste and smell distinguish and appreciate the sounds, savours and odours through the mind and for the mind; in other words through the senses, organs of its action, the mind is put into relationship with the truth spread throughout a thousand different characters engraved in the wonders of nature; as likewise through the word the mind is put into relationship with the truth revealed among the world of minds.  For just as our body summarises the material world in us, our mind summarises the immaterial world.  Therefore as the operations of the body relate to the mind, as the investigations of the mind relate to the heart, so in God and in man love is the complement and term of action.  Truth made present in the intellect becomes the food of the noble heart which loves truth, assimilates truth and by a law of gravitation the heart, as a sacred type of that which rules the heavenly bodies, loves truth with more intensity the more the heart identifies with truth; as from another side truth is in everything, so the heart loves everything in the truth and carries the whole creation into its movement which, descended from the bosom of God, must rise back up to him at least in so far as the heart is not corrupted.  (8)

Beauty is for the eye; every sound, so diverse in so many ways, is for the ears; every odour is for the smell; every fruit and plant, given to decay through their diversity and deliciousness is for the taste.  Thus the entire world is reduced to the usage of man, and through that usage to unity.  “But the Divine Wisdom did even more by willing that plants and animals, over which man has stewardship and use, are to have a general liaison with every part of the universe; a single herb having need of the earth, air, water, winds, rains, sun, warmth, freshness of the night, changes of the seasons, in a word of everything.  This general dependence, which is the principle of the union of everything with the whole, is even more sensible in the animals that, in addition to the essential need for everything that serves for its nourishment, also have their particular needs.  These animals of every species, some of whom live in water and others in air, others on land, reunite in themselves an infinity of things that seem to escape from man and not be of immediate use to him, and the animals themselves after all these particular unions come to offer themselves to their master, bringing to him in an admirable manner every part of the universe so that man as the necessary link gives thanks and having become the centre of everything sends every corporeal being back to God, since man is their immediate end, and through him they must return to their principle since they were sent out for him.  Velut, mundus quidam alter, said Saint Gregory of Nazianzus (Oration XXXVIII and Oration XLII), in parvo magnus:  angelus alter, mistus adorator, visibilis creaturae spectator, ejus quae intellectu conspicitur mystes: eorum quae in terra sunt rex, coelesti autem regi subditus; terrenus pariter, ac coelestis.  “That worshipper consists, inistus adorator, as Saint Gregory comes to call him; that abbreviation of the universe, mundus alter, in parvo magnus; this angel of a new order which is in heaven and on earth, angelus alter, terrenus pariter et caelestis; this pontiff placed between visible and invisible things, visibilis creaturae spectator, ejus quae intellectu conspicitur mystes; this king of the corporeal world who has none above him but God alone, eorum quae in terra sunt rex, coelesti autem regi subditus; man, in a word, alone fills the end God offered in the creation of the world throughout every extension.  Man is responsible, integrally and jointly and severally, for the sake of every creature to acquire in their name everything they owe to the one who gave them their being.  Man is their soul and intelligence; he is their voice and deputy; and the less they can be religious on their own the more they impose on him the necessity to be religious for them.”  (L’Ouvrage des six jours, p. 216 and following.)

In summary, placed on the borders of the two worlds and belonging to one and the other by his double essence, man is the mediator between the Creator and creatures, the link between time and eternity, the one for whose sake everything was made and by whose love everything must return to God.  His body summarises physical creation; his mind summarises the intellectual creation; his heart both the one and the other; so that it is enough for God to possess the heart of man to enjoy the fullness of his works:  and such is the real and profound reason for which he shows himself so jealous about man.  We believe these principles result in the following definition of education:  Education is the harmonious development of the triple life that is in man.  From whence a triple education:  physical education, that consists in the development of the organs to the degree necessary to serve the operations of mind and heart with precision, ease and grace; intellectual education or instruction, that consists in the development or initiation into the spirit of truth considered in itself and into intellectual and physical creation, to the degree necessary to nourish the love of the heart; moral education, that consists in the development or in the union of the heart with truth considered in itself and in the intellectual and physical creation, to the degree necessary to fulfil the designs of the Creator.

We call this development harmonious because it must in effect be such that, far from breaking, it maintains in place, strengthens and carries to the providential degree of perfection the harmony and equilibrium of the three powers that are in man.  When this development ceases to be harmonious, that is to say when there is exaggeration in one of the three lives about which we have spoken, then the normal equilibrium is broken:  There is disorder in man and therefore in society.

And now, to determine the specific characteristics of contemporary education, we must simply understand the mission of the rising generation.  Hence, as we have said and have been led to this conclusion by examination of the facts, the mission of younger generations is both to repair the fatal effects of the error that has for three centuries so terribly invaded the world, and to assist the providential movement of mankind towards a grand unity.  What then are the effects of error?  The characteristic of error is to divide everything, to dissolve everything.  Such has above all been the effect of Protestantism, the very principle of every error:  division of man from God, of man from the human species, of man from himself.  From there irreligion, idiocy or skepticism, incoherence, individual and social disorder.

So now we come to reconnecting this triple union:  of man with God, man with the human species, of man with himself; this also concerns  an accord with the designs of Providence in order to bring the development of humanity to its highest progress.  Thus we conclude that contemporary education must be Catholic, which is to say in the first place eminently religious, to reestablish the union of man with God; secondly, synthetic, to restore the union of man with humankind; thirdly, complete or universal, to restore the union of man with himself through the harmonious development of his triple life, to assist the designs of God for the future.  We shall explain the nature and show the necessity of each of these characteristics.

(8) Every creature tends to perfect itself, to pass to a more noble life, but to do that they must lose their own life.  Thus inorganic life serves as food for organic bodies, thereby taking on the life of the being into which they have been assimilated; the vegetal in turn is absorbed by the animal and is communicated into the life of the animal; the vegetal, animal and every kingdom is for man, who in assimilating them communicates his life to them.  God in turn draws man to Himself, assimilates him and He communicates His divine and immortal life so that man can say:  It is no longer I who live but God who lives in me.  Who here, quiet with love and admiration, does not adore the mystery in which this sublime transformation reduces the universe to unity!

(9) O Adam, one Almighty is from Whom
All things proceed, and up to Him return
If not deprav’d from Good.
Paradise Lost, Book V.




First, do not lose sight that languages are only instrumental and preparatory knowledge, means of research not for themselves but as the necessary condition for later studies; secondly, we generally study languages only for understanding, not to speak and write them.  That said, we shall see how we can understand, which is to say comprehend, the greatest number of languages in the given time.  The best method to achieve this goal is unquestionably the method indicated by Providence.  But how has Providence willed that the child should learn the mother tongue, that language indispensable to everyone regardless of the scope of their intelligence?  Here it is in four words:  The child hears, stutters, repeats what he has heard; only later does he reason about the rules of language and transmit his thoughts through writing:  Such is the course of nature.  This method is perfect and to be followed as closely as possible.

The child is born, so to speak, into a college, into a country where people speak Latin, Greek, German and the rest.  New sounds hit his ears but bear no ideas to his mind.  If the child does not possess the knowledge of any language, then the teacher should in order to make known the meaning of words, like the mother, show the child the things they express or their analogues.  We do not reason about this.  The teacher will therefore speak to the child in the language he wants to teach him; the books he puts into his hands speak the same language; the child will not understand them at first and the teacher must serve as interpreter between them; he will therefore translate the words of the unknown language with words of the language already known:  And repeat this exercise until the words remain engraved into the memory of the child; such is the easy task of the instructor in the beginning.

Note well here how this work is consistent with the development of the human faculties.  Having nothing in his accounts, man must receive everything; his memory is like a reservoir for him and everything he receives is deposited to be taken as needed when he reaches the age when he lives on his own initiative; then it is transmitted.  Among our faculties memory is thus the first that must be developed.  It is also memory that plays the first and principle role in the natural method.  It is even more important to cultivate it from the beginning, thereby while perfecting and enriching the memory we work on the development of every other faculty because they take their nourishment, vigour and being as such from the memory:  So true is it that everything in the human trinity is analogous to what occurs in the Holy Trinity!  After a few weeks at the most, it will be good for the student to learn the types of the noun declensions and verb conjugations and after that to distinguish easily what is noun and verb through explications and readings and thus become accustomed to attach a precise meaning to each word and phrase.  But we understand we never speak to him about exceptions and anomalies; their usage will be enough for him to know.  Until now we assume the master undertakes every task of instruction:  The task of the student is to listen, retain and repeat.  So that the reading of foreign authors, which is so profitable, does not become condescending or unsuccessful, the teacher will explain briefly, read himself, or better yet, begin by reading to the child in translation, the work that he puts into the child’s hands.  “I think,” says a very experienced man about this, “that he who wants to learn a foreign language through reading must provide books for reading that have already been read in the language one speaks…  When one knows the background and details of a book well, in whatever language it is written, then we easily find the construction of its sentences, we can guess the meaning of its thoughts and easily grasp the words that express them.  Despite this, there is no doubt a child will be frequently stopped by unforeseen difficulties.  What then?  Persist to defeat them before going any further?  Ordinarily no. but we must continue on our course after taking note of the difficulty.  Later the same expression, the same word, will be presented accompanied with other words or expressions already known as indicated by intelligence.  Then the student refers to the difficulty and defeating it will only be a game (De Boisjermain, Avertissment sur la traduction de Milton). We shall not go farther into the details of the means of execution; an intelligent and devoted master will know how to vary them infinitely.  Suffice it to have paved the way for him to go and stated the principle that must preside over his labours.  According to that method, the only one that seems to us to conform with the ways of nature, the basic rules and grammar books only come near the end, so that they serve as collections of observations on the language the child is studying.  It is then and only then that he is able to understand something adequately and find rules that have a fair application.

Here is the opportunity to note the senselessness of the ordinary method:  Following that method, the first book put into the hands of the child arriving at college is the basic rules.  But what is a book of rules or a grammar?  According to the common definition grammar is the art of speaking and writing correctly. What a marvel!  Because before speaking or writing, above all correctly, one must comprehend.  Unless the grammar is also the art of understanding, it is absurd to put a grammar into the hands of one who does not even hear one word of the language.  This is not all:  What we see here is the inverse of Providence.  Whereas nature first addresses the memory, the modern method first addresses the judgement, or the faculties that develop last, the judgement that presumes acquired ideas since it is only the result of their comparisons.

What is the sense of giving a theme to the child?  It is to force him to pronounce, to decide if in the given case the law of a language he does not understand obligates or does not obligate.  How shall we in good faith expect that children, total foreigners to the mechanism of their own language, should properly apply the abstract syntax rules of strangers?  Experienced teaches know all too well that for a long time they are unable to do so.  This means we waste time precious for the young that would have been infinitely better employed through furnishing their memory of words and phrases in the language they are studying.  Thus do we not feel how much this is contrary to the development of the intelligence when we nail it down for five or six mortal years onto the minutiae of grammatical rules and exceptions the child does not understand and of which the child makes so painfully an unfortunate or chance application?  Confined in this narrow circle, the child shrinks, weakens, languishes, becomes disgusted with a work that gives him no results worthy of the punishment it has cost him and therefore avoids the study of languages and forever closes what is the source of every solid and extensive erudition.

But do we want a conclusive proof of the radical defect in the method against which we fight?  It is that later one must spend on average five years to learn Latin with the proficiency everyone knows, or rather that everyone does not know.  No, certainly, among the thousands of students who leave the colleges each year only a few after five or six years given to Greek and Latin studies are able to read a single book of Homer or Tacitus without a dictionary.  What is that result if not the most devastating charge against current teaching, a demonstration of the sad truth that contemporary education is not the development, but rather the compression and murder of intelligence?  (10)

Concerning the collections of prose works we must say what we have said concerning grammars.  Some explications and especially some examples and readings of poetry can advantageously supplement them.  In any case, to be profitable the usage must be very restrained and not be imposed until the moment the student has been instructed in knowledge of the language and is thereby prepared to enter into the study of literature.  In summary, we conceive the study of grammar as an introduction to rhetoric.  Hence it must be applied at the end of their studies of languages because at the beginning they are in no condition to profit from them since, as we have said, languages are learned much less through principles than through usage, conversation and reading.  For the most part to know a language is to comprehend it and the best method is to learn the greatest number of words in the least amount of time possible.  Such is the providential method.  In following it the student learns as much Latin in a month as one learns in six years using the modern method.

He learns everything by heart, and as if there were neither grammar books nor basic rules to distract his attention so that he understands what he learns and retains the language very easily.  (11)  For the rest we have here only to state the results of our own experience and the experience of others.  (12)

Listen, concerning the subject with which we are occupied, there is a man who could no doubt be accused of serious errors in philosophy, but one whose great superiority of reason and judgement in his book The Education of Children cannot be denied.  Locke says:  “Certainly the method commonly used in schools to teach languages is such that after having examined it I cannot recommend its practice.  The reasons that can be used against this method are so clear and urgent that various people of good sense have been struck by them and actually abandoned the ordinary route which had been unsuccessful for them, although the method they used was not quite the same as the one that seems easiest of all and which put briefly is to teach Latin to children in the same way they learn English without making use of either rules or grammar books, because if we observe closely we see when a child is born Latin is no more foreign than English, yet he learns English without a teacher, rules or grammar books.  He would probably learn Latin in the same way as Cicero did, if he always had someone to speak this language to him.”  (13)

Locke continues:  “But if you cannot find a tutor who speaks Latin well and who wants to teach using the method I have just indicated, then the one closest to it is best, and here is what this amounts to essentially.  Take an easy pleasant book, something like the Fables of Aesop, and after having written a line of one of these fables, translate it into English as literally a possible, with the Latin words written on one line exactly like the English words to which they correspond, then read and reread those lines every day until you understand the Latin words perfectly.  Then read a new fable according to the same method until you understand it perfectly well too, without however neglecting what you have already understood perfectly, repeating them sometimes so that you do not forget them, and when the time comes to write, take those fables to copy.  This will not only exercise your hand, but will advance the knowledge of the Latin language.”

After having said we should not put a grammar in the hands of beginners in order to level out their difficulties, Locke adds,  “Yet I admit sometimes the grammar of a language must be studied with great care, but only by a man who wants to understand this language in criticism.”  (14)

To the authority of Locke we add that of a man whose name alone is law among us in education.  Rollin states without hesitation that the composition of themes should be absolutely suppressed.  With the suppression of the composition of themes the rule and grammar books would cease to have a use.  Everything is concentrated on the helping the children to know what is a noun and what is a verb; reaching the age of reflection they study the grammar as a philosophy of language.  The most experienced men feel the same.  “Cicero (De Oratione, I, 31) believed a Roman could not educate himself better than by translating Greek authors into his own language.  Monsieur Le Fevre de Saumur, in the statement on the method he used to teach his son, and by which he took him so far in the short duration of two years, tells us he used only translation.  Monsieur Arnaud, in a manuscript, stated translation is the way to teach the humanities; Monsieur de Lancelot, stated this in his two excellent grammars; Monsieur the Abbé Fleury, Monsieur Du Guet, Monsieur de Crouzaz and everyone who reasons best about education has had but one voice on the way to teach languages.  They reduce this art to two words:  few rules and much practice.”  (Extrait de Pluche, Spect. de la Pnat., tome VI, 163).

This is how the author just quoted indicates the defects in the method against which we are ourselves fighting.  Whoever knows what a college is will testify the following words are far from being an exaggeration:  “Whether in particular places or in public, the young child hears about rules and definitions that are horribly abstract.  To the sadness of a long lesson succeeds the sadness of an even longer composition.  Imagine the child whose progress is dear to you now nailed to an unintelligible syntax, sometimes lost in the detours of a lugubrious dictionary, where they will find nothing they search for and that fills them with perplexities.  If he wants to apply himself to the materials, then there are so many methods to observe, so many dangers to be avoided that he does not know where he is.  The choice of verb, voice, mode, time, number, person, with everything unravelled just for one word.  More meditations are the following.  The poor child sees only precipices, and in turning away from one he falls into another.  If he is not quick or too filled with fire, how should he follow with full presence of mind this entire detailed menu of precepts that trouble and make him languish!  He will never make progress with them, and six years will pass while working grudgingly, or finding ways to escape work.  From three moments there are always two in which you will find him in fraud.  It will be much if at the end of his studies, after having heard him reshuffle the same things, his composition begins to gain clarity and to conform better to the rules.  But there are a hundred leagues between the Latin of his themes and that of the authors…  Now suppose the young child who is sent to write Latin compositions is skilful.  We even grant, against experience, that every mind has this patience to hear every rule of syntax with pleasure and equal accuracy in implementing them.  That is what he is able to do; your dear son will use every method when we want him to read, and adjust his compositions to them.  He is going to kneel down and gather up everything to please you.  You will lead him from level to level and from class to class, until in a firm manner he practices whatever is the most difficult in the grammar.  You will no doubt think you have won much:  What people in the business call a good foundation.  But in truth you have done him almost irreparable harm…  This Latin he draws from his head under the direction of some rules is a false Latin that recedes almost as much as it advances; and that assurance that long habit has given it is a bad habit hardly possible to remove”  (Extrait de Pluche, Spect. de la nat., p. 168 and following).
(10) In a letter made public Mr. Gatien Arnault, philosophy professor in the Faculty of Letters of Toulouse, stated:  “Our teaching is limited to a small number, useless and dangerous for most of those who are included within that number, incomplete and evil for everyone; even Greek and Latin, those apparent objects of college studies, are badly taught:  Proof is that every student lacks knowledge of Greek and no one knows Latin well.  As for the rest, the scientific value of teaching in France has an infallible touchstone called the Baccalaureate exams.  Well!  I frankly declare in the seven years I have been giving these exams only one candidate in ten responds even passably!”  How many other exam reviewers have stated the same since then, because the evil only grows worse.

(11) Travellers, our military themselves, after a year or eighteen months living in a foreign country, hear and speak the dialects where they reside quite passably and master them, such that every method for learning languages, whichever they may be, is reduced to two words:  To converse and read.

(12)  Europe has been flooded with rule books and grammar books only since the Sixteenth Century.  Then came Port-Royal which helped greatly to popularise these kinds of books, whose real utility and especially the usage (concerning which the advocates remain silent) has been so fiercely contested and fought against.  What is certain is that before that time rule books and grammars were used with much greater moderation and yet nevertheless the ancients knew foreign languages as well and perhaps better than we.  As we saw with Quintillian, among them grammar books were an introduction to rhetoric and constituted, as this would later be called, the science of philology which was in a word a type of philosophy of languages.  The fault of the moderns is to have mixed and confounded together the science of the grammarian and the art of the grammarian in books destined for children.  It is against this abuse that we are engaged in this chapter.  The ancients were wiser than we.  There is a small treatise by Saint Basil called Exercitatione grammaticali in which the first principles of the Greek language are briefly described; then later in the Fourth Century came the little book by Aetius Donatus, de Octo partibus orationis, that was used in the schools in the time of St. Gregory; finally the Institutiones grammaticae of Priscian Caesarea, who lived under the Emperor Anastasius.  His small grammar known as the Alphabet was used in the lower courses of the University of Paris until the Thirteenth Century, while the larger one, called the Great Priscian, was reserved for the higher courses.  In a word, everywhere few precepts.  (See Bilaeus, tome I, Hist. universitat., p. 5i7; Dictionaire de Trevoux, article Langues et grammaires; l’Encyclopédie, article Grammairien; Jugements des savants, tome II; Matter, Essai historique sur l’école d’Alexandrie, tome II.)
(13)  Thus Montaigne learned Latin, and with much success as he himself describes at some length in his Essays, Book One, chapter Five: “…only five years, and without art, without books, without grammar or precept, without whip and without tears, I had learned Latin as pure as my teacher knew…  Around the age of seven or eight years,” he says in the same chapter, “I turned away from every other pleasure to read the fables of the Metamorphoses of Ovid, so much so that Latin was my maternal tongue.”

(14)  De l’Education des enfants, p. 296 and following.  Fifth edition, 1737.  And later Locke states the study of grammar cannot be useful in public institutions except only as an introduction to rhetoric, 315.





The young man has come a long distance since entering on his career studies.  A vast horizon opens before him; every faculty is developed; the preparatory and common studies are completed.  Soon college will open its doors and that entire energetic generation, reunited until then on the same benches, led by the same masters, nourished by the same lessons, is going to separate and divide without return:  the generation is on the threshold of society; they can enter by a thousand different ways.  Now, to be in the order of Providence, which of the thousand diverse ways that criss-cross the world must the young man chose to enter?  Auxiliary of truth and virtue, on which locus should he position his powers?  Because as born defender of social order, he cannot in the great struggle of the world stay put with his weapons unused.  To which special profession will he consecrate his life?  Which then is to be the object of his dramatic outcome?  Fundamental questions that education, to crown its work, must still help to resolve.  In effect, following the thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau himself, education owes the young man three things:  knowledge of his vocation, the means to pursue it honourably, and love of the duties attached thereto.  Without this essential knowledge education is a step-mother, no less cruel to the young man in whom she will have developed an immense need to know, love and act, and then ruthlessly abandoned him to the whims of impetuous imagination and the torment of perplexity as ghastly as the guilt towards family and society, among whom the young man instead of being their honour and support would become their shame and ruin through the blind and indiscriminate use of his powers.  Architect of the social edifice, education thus has a double task to fulfil:  She must cut each stone and assign each to its rightful place, to contribute to the strength and harmony of the whole.

But why do we speak here of vocation?  Who bothers with the place he must providentially occupy in the social hierarchy?  Where in the present world are the parents, young people, teachers for whom vocation is a question of conscience, or rather any question whatsoever?  Does God have something to do with the destinies of the child?  Isn’t this the property of the parents?  Do they not have the right to give him a vocation a priori?  To predestine him according to their convenience, to the magistracy, diplomacy, commerce, medicine, the priesthood?  Can he not be born to the state they intend for him?  With the light, the disinterestedness, the high morality that now distinguishes families, can there be reason to doubt the paternal infallibility?  Or is the young man instead the master to dispose of himself according to his desires?  Is there a law requiring him to adopt one career rather than another, or even any career at all?  Rather does he not have beyond the ambition of his family to advise him, his own personal interest and his own passions?  What more do we ask for?  For him his vocation is the attraction of pleasure, the appetite for gold:  His state of life is the one in which there is the most enjoyment to hope for, the most money to win, if he should want any state of life beyond having no other purpose than to drink, eat, sleep and digest?

However that is where we are in this century concerning one of the most vital issues of society.  Can we be amazed at the perpetual shock, the painful deformity of so many lives, and the hopeless irremediable futility of so many others; are we shocked by the desolate emptiness in which so many noble souls agitate and consume themselves, the thirst for change that torments them and the perpetual inconstancy that betrays their unease!  Their elements are in chaos and we wait for order to appear!  The members of the social order are formless and we do not want them to suffer and cause suffering throughout the economy!  None of the cords of the instrument vibrate in unison and we are waiting for harmony!

In this profound disorder we recognise the violation of a fundamental law of humanity.  That law is the one that sets each people in its own mission on earth:  Divine revelation and the most common sense equally combine to demonstrate its existence.  We read and meditate on the teachings of the Apostle concerning this essential point:  “For, as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office; thus we, being many, are one body in Christ, and each one members one of the other. But having different gifts, according to the grace which has been given to us.” (15)

Such are the oracles of him who created man, and gave each of us his particular aptitude.  Seen from another angle, must we be a profound theologian or great philosopher to know that man in no way belongs to himself, that he can no more embrace a state of life, a profession, according to his whims than he can create himself?  For him to recognise this right is to proclaim his independence, to deny the right of God.  Even a child would tell you our organism would become a monstrosity if every organ suddenly abandoned its natural place and the body parts declared themselves independent, wanting to create their own isolated spheres of action and movement; if, for example, the foot wanted to see, the eye to hear, the stomach to speak and the brain to digest well!  To deny that the same is true of the social body is to fall into absurdity.
Of all the duties imposed on education, and among every service education can render to the young man, his family and society, without a doubt the most important is to make manifest the providential mission confided to each man come into this world.  But what a crowd of difficulties here!  To say to the adolescent:  “Here is what God and society ask of you, for this you were born; your talents, dispositions, powers, in a word your aptitude is only in harmony with the duties of such and such a state of life and not with any other, to say that with the moral certainty of truth supposes a kind of intuition of the counsels of God.  Is it not presumptuous to claim such enlightenment?  No indeed, there is neither temerity on the part of the young man nor his masters.  God who wills the end also wills the means.  The existence of a divine vocation, special for each man, therefore at once establishes the necessity and possibility for everyone to know their vocation.  Yet are not the interpreters of God in general the men who, in the family and society, take the place of God among the rising generation?  O fathers, O masters!  Understand the entire responsibility that is placed upon you.  Your words will bring the present and future happiness or misery of the child which Heaven has confided to you as a sacred deposit.  What can I say?  Not only the fate of a man, of many, for the salvation or ruin of states and families is in your hands; because you know everything in the individual, the good and evil, the order and disorder, influences the fate of his fellows and sounds in the heart of society.  Allow us to recall the touching words of a man whose name shall always be dear to the preceptors of childhood, and whose authority is of great weight here:  “What is a Christian teacher, charged with responsibility for the education of the young?  He is a man into whose hands Jesus Christ has given a number of children who He has redeemed by His blood, and for whom He gave his life, in whom He dwells as in His house and His temple; who He looks upon as His members, as His brothers and His co-inheritors which He wishes to make into as many kings and priests who may serve God and reign with Him and for Him through eternity.  And for what purpose has he confided children to them?  Is it just to make poets, orators, philosophers and scholars of them?  Who would dare to say or even to think?  He has entrusted the children to them to keep in them the precious and inestimable deposit of innocence that he has imprinted into their souls by baptism, and to make true Christians of them.  So this is the aim and end of the education of children:  Everything else is but a means.  What grandeur, what nobility, is not so honourable a commission added to every other function of the masters?  But what care, what attention, what vigilance and, above all, what allegiance to Jesus Christ does this not ask?”  (Charles Rollin, Traité des études, Volume IV, Book XI, Article 13.)

Thus in this moment more than ever one must penetrate into these great principles of the philosophy of man:  That son of time and eternity, the child is Christian before all else; Christianity is his first vocation, his first state of life; every particular profession shared by society is but a means to accomplish the imprescriptible duties of the first profession by which the present life should be judged, only appreciated in liaison with the future life.  Anathema to parents and teachers who, in deciding the fate of an immortal soul, trample upon the holy rules of Christian wisdom, listening to the deceptive voice of the flesh and the interests of time!  Blind those who, leading another one blind, bring him with them into the abyss:  Better for them never to have been born.

More than anyone the young man himself is interested in this crucial knowledge of the mystery of his life.  What a powerful motive for him to keep intact that amicable flower of innocence, that heart that sees God and is the most certain guarantee of a good choice!  (16)
The young are in no way deceived, wisdom never enters into a soul given over to evil; never shall she dwell in a body enslaved to vice.  (17)

The vocation itself is revealed in the child with words, habits, tastes, his particular aptitude, his type of temperament, in a word, by the ensemble of circumstances and acts of his life.  That teachers are all eyes and ears to catch these different traits, to comprehend every revelatory voice and from so many scattered rays to form the torch that illumines their decision.  (18)

But the means without which every other must be null or nearly so is to win the confidence of the young.  To do so requires that the teacher love them and show himself devoted to their good.  “As it is a general principle,” says Seneca, “that love is attracted by love, if vis amari, ama.  The first thing Quintilian asks for is that the teacher, before everything and above everything, take on the feeling of a father for his disciples and regard himself as taking the place of those who have confided them to him; and hence he must therefore borrow the gentleness, patience and heart of goodness and tenderness natural to them.”  (19)

After that it matters not whether their advice be heeded or not; though the parents may have already according to barbarously impious custom preordained the destiny of their son this does not matter; teachers owe it to their conscience to speak the truth; if afterwards the child of their solicitude perishes then at least the righteous blood will not fall on their heads.  (20)
We must indicate the most serious duty of the fathers of families, the young and the teachers as well as the most distinguished service of education.  We have said what it must be; have we said what is actually is?  Are our words understood?  Our words should not be met with a smile of pity and the echo of sarcasm.  In any case truth must not remain captive on our lips.  The more our words are misunderstood the less need to cease repeating them, and besides as men of religion we have faith that his reign approaches:  Well must we prepare the ways for Him.

(15)Sicut enim in uno corpore multa membra habemus, omnia autem membra non eumdem actum habent : ita multi unum corpus sumus
in Christo, singuli autem alter alterius membra. Habentes autem donationes, secundum gratia differentes. Rom. XII, 4. — Divisiones
vero gratiarum, etc. » I Cor. I, 12.- Donec occurramus omnes in unitatem fidei, etc. Ad Ephes, IV, 13. — Ut sint consummati in uuum
Joan. XVII, 23.

(16) Beati mundo corde quoniam ipsi Deum videbunt. (Matthew Chapter IV).

(17) Quoniam in malevolam animam non introbit sapientia, nec hatitabit in corpore subdito peccatis.  (Wisdom 1:4)  The dark vapours that rise from a heart burning with an impure flame form a dense cloud that eclipses the sun of truth.  Then how fervent your prayers to God, the protector and guide of childhood, must be!  How frequent your eyes must gaze upon she who the Church calls the Star of the Sea!  How frank, naïve and complete must your communications be with the friend of your soul, with the Father of your conscience!  Oracle of God and intimate confident of every secret of your heart, He above all can give you the surest response.  And here is again one of the thousand ways that education is invincibly rooted in religion.

(18)  On this important point one may consult the little book of the Italian Rossignoli, Sur le choix d’un état:  This book should be the manual of parents, teachers and the youth.  On this same subject an equally remarkable text in Spanish is entitled Examen de los ingenios: by Doctor Juan Huarte.  The latter book should not be put into the hands of the youth except with caution.

(19)  Sumatante omnia parentis ergs dicipulos suos animum, ac succedere se in eorum locum a quibus sibi liberi traduntur, existimet.

(20) “Fili hominis, speculatorem dedi te domui Israel: et audies de ore meo verbum et annuntiabis eis ex me. Si dicente me ad impium:
Morte morieris; non annuntiaveris ei, neque Iocutus fueris ut avertatur a via sua impia et vivat, ipse impius in iniquitate sua morietur,
sanguinem autem ejus de manu tua requiram. Si autem tu annuntiaveris impio et ille non fuerit conversus ab impietate sua et a via
sua impia, ipse in quidem in iniquitate sua morietur tu autem animam tuam liberasti“. (Ezechiel III. 17 et seq.)



For three centuries now Europe has been on the prow of a malaise unknown since the birth of Christianity.  A wave of anxiety, a crowd of contradictory theories, the division of minds, a thousand constitutions demanded loudly, agreed upon the day before and torn apart the next, bloody revolutions and always the insatiable thirst for change and novelties, such are the infallible symptoms of a great social deviation.  What is the cause?  We have lost God; our fathers have banished Him from the world.  However, we begin as unfortunate children under the blows of misfortune, lifting our saddened eyes to the sky.  An unknown power pushes the Prodigal Son to the paternal home.  Day by day ever more striking signs manifest welcome changes among human minds.  Yet the conversion of society will be long; the morals of nations were not corrupted in a day and will not be renewed in a day.  Like an old tree, past generations have contributed their folds and wrinkles:  They died as they lived.  The rising generation remains:  And they shall save the world or the world is condemned.  But how shall they save the world?  As one saves the patient who struggles with death, by reviving in his heart the life that has been extinguished.  Though what is life for society?  Life is God; from that principle emanate true beliefs, pure morals, the spirit of disinterestedness and sacrifice, and finally order, the basis, condition and location of every society.  For them to continue through this world everything must first descend down into the hearts of the new generation.  But by what means shall they penetrate?  By education, and what education?  A Christian education.  Yes, in truth, for us that is the question of life and death; there is the one thing necessary for our age.

Education is simply the development of every human faculty; it is in God that every faculty must grow; which is to say?  That every science must be taught in the Christian manner.  Vain to claim a religious education if religion only appears in human development as a science set apart and in no way the alpha and omega of education.  Magnificent unknown, she must be the last word of every research, the final solution of every problem; without that we cast dust in the wind, we perpetuate the fatal divorce between man and God, we kill science:  Instead of Christians we produce deists and atheists, and our dying society perishes.  If the atheism that consumes us requires that education be above all religious, the rationalism that divides us should make education synthetic in order to reconnect the links broken by error, whether by giving science a more solid foundation than the variable reason of individuals or by sorting through the suspect teachings of the past.  In turn materialism, which by exaggerating the development of the animal man makes society into a monstrous being, imposes on education the duty to be complete, through the restoration by harmonious development of the natural equilibrium between moral life, intellectual life and the purely physical life of man.  To apply these different characteristics to education is to communicate the spirit that must revive her.  Thus is youth saved and through youth science and society.  Such is our faith; such is the goal of this book.

To achieve this goal we must attempt to understand what the teaching of the various sciences must be, which is that they must be true.  Able to know and love, man requires a dual food:  Truth must be presented both to his mind and to his heart.  As the medium prior to any communication, language must first fix the attention.  The role of ancient languages has changed from the priority they once had to their having become no more than an accessory.  At present the sciences speak modern languages and therefore the care once given to the former must now go to them.

The most noble use man can make of the word is to enter into communication with essential truth, with God.  Manifestation of God himself, religion is the first study.  Every truth derives from there where intelligence and love correspond with the needs and faculties of man.  This knowledge stands for everything such that nothing can stand for it; religion is a duty, the first of the intelligent being; religion cannot be complete unless she embraces her entire object.  In education religion is everything.

Based on the nature of God and man, religion is as old as the world.  As immutable and universal as God, religion may develop, but not change.  Like man, of which religion is the light, she has her different ages:  Every century before Christ was only a preparation for the Gospel.  There were the figures, here are the realities, but reality veiled by mysterious clouds:  Clear skies disperse them.  The intermediate state in which we are between the past and future shall have its end:  The day of manifestation shall arise and we shall see truth face to face.

A dual spirit has successively dominated religion, once fear and at present love.  Luminous principle that must enlighten and vivify every other diverse teaching.  God known, truth is known in its source; there remain to be studied the two great deposits where truth is now to be found, to contemplate truth in the two great mirrors reflecting her image:  Man and God.

Composite being, man first presents his intelligence.  History teaches us at the same time his origin, fall, hopes and combats.  I am fallen, but I regenerate:  I am fallen from the skies, but I climb back; that is what mankind cries out to us.  To show every event coordinated by an admirable wisdom for the fulfilment of this grand design, there is the entire philosophy of history.  However humanity is almost a moral person; he is constantly dying and he forever lives.  His existence is composed of every existence from the generations that are born and disappear.  Hence that perpetual circle of death and rebirth, youth and decrepitude; from thence a constant immobility and also a perpetual succession.

Through war man reaches his goal.  When truth is vanquished error rules and with error the body.  Everything becomes material:  The spiritual world is then only a chimera and the future nothingness.  But mankind cannot perish:  God sees to the conservation of truth on earth; He wishes that immortal men transmit truth from one generation to the next.  The first object of literature is to make men understand themselves; the second, to initiate them into the knowledge of masterpieces they have left us.

These great men are of every time and every nation; thus they must be searched for in every time and country; our heritage is the truth of which they are the instruments.  Richer in truths because they come after the Gospel; more useful to us because they were our fathers and as the historians of our religious and political life as well as our Christian and national authors they must above all be our oracles and models:  True Romanticism calls us to them.

Our whole future is in their triumph, but their triumph depends on Christianity:  Let him understand!  Let him achieve!  He depends on us to help him in his work of restoration.  That the classics become Christian and the spirit of youth, literature and society become the same.  The habit of giving to youth the pagan authors of Athens and Rome as the models of taste and eloquence has caused and may cause the greatest evils.

After knowledge of God and man must come knowledge of the physical world.  How many useful truths that world preaches!  No, nature is no atheist.  It is a crime, the murder of science to have stopped the hymn of adoration, praise and glory that the universe sings on her own to the creative unity and trinity. Honour to the scholar who now looks into the works of God for anything but material results; he will have deserved well of science and society.  Easier and more attractive, natural history must open the career of this new study; here Providence herself has blazed the path.  To proceed from what is most known and most interesting for us to what is less so is the secret and condition of success in such studies.  Language of the body, mathematics is necessary for the practical study of the forces of nature; it is wrong to exaggerate its importance:  Mathematics is only a means.  Like all the others, and perhaps more than the others, its study is dangerous if it is not directed by religion.  Mathematics falsifies the spirit, dries out the heart, and conduces to sophism and soon to disbelief.  Equipped with every key to scientific treasures, what will the young man do with them?  It is for philosophy to teach him these things.  General explication of things, philosophy takes us from intelligence to the intelligence of truth.  She embraces God, man and the world, the relations that unite them, which is to say the fundamental laws of the various societies to which man belongs.  Thus she teaches the degree of importance of the various professions, the talents they require, the duties they impose, finally the numerous careers open to the intelligence that pass before the eyes so the young man can recognize his own, or the truth for which he was born, the portion of the common heritage of which the culture has fallen to him as his portion.  From the meeting of every individual vocation must result the general vocation of mankind and the transmission of every truth necessary to his existence, conservation and perfection.

The teaching of philosophy divides into two distinct sections:  History of philosophy and philosophy proper.  The most useful result to be derived from` the history of philosophy is the demonstration of the following three truths:  Human reason abandoned to itself can only go astray; providence has always shown an admirable concern for the conservation and defence of truth; truth is only found unmixed and without vicissitude in the Catholic Church, whether for the spirit, for love and gratitude and for the heart.  Founded on doubt, pagan philosophy consecrates dualism in the intellectual order, as original imperfection or sin has in the moral order:  From there every error.  Man was separated from God and the disastrous consequences were successively spiritual pantheism, materialist pantheism, anarchy in the State, divorce in the family and disorder everywhere.  Founded on faith, Christian philosophy everywhere restores unity and trinity; then truth, peace and order are again regenerated in man, the State and family.  This philosophy must be our own; the salvation of the world and the progress of science are won only at this price.

Philosophy is not the search for truth, in the sense that truth will be known before
the study of philosophy; it is only the explanation and development of truth already known.  There is no truth that is not revealed, which is to say received, because man has no truth in him.  There is no revelation but by authority, and for man after
Christianity there is no authority properly so-called but that of the Church.  Every contrary philosophy, or those inconsistent with the teachings of the Church, is therefore false and doubtful.  Infallible oracle, the Church tells us what God is, what are His attributes, what is man, what is his nature, what is his destiny, what are his relations with God and his fellows; what is the world and what are the relations among physical beings, whether among themselves or with man or with the Creator.  Philosophy shows us only the conformity of every one of these teachings with the ensemble of our being, with the facts of history and the beliefs of mankind.  As divine wisdom she, so to speak, plays in the universe, descending as much from the principle to the consequence as going back up from the consequence to the principle.  Browsing through every general truth, she classifies them, coordinates them, in fact sees the hierarchy and in consequence the relative importance of each.  The young intelligence who sees them thus pass before his eyes is in the state to distinguish the one among them whose conservation and transmission is destined for him:  She is the path of his vocation.  Immense service philosophy renders to him and thus worthily crowns every benefit of education. The young man has only been enriched with knowledge to fulfill his duties.  If he ignores the use he must make of them his lights will be useless and dangerous:  Unfortunate soldier, he will be easily defeated by evil and error if he does not fight from his own place.  A blind traveller, he may make great strides, but outside his

path he will end on a precipice; with broken bones he will suffer and cause his entire body to suffer.  Decisive knowledge, infallible recompense of a pure heart and virtuous youth.

If the young man is fortunate enough to acquire it, if he enters his vocation, if he makes use of the means he has received to accomplish his own duties, he is in order, he is well.  And if the same holds for everyone, harmony reigns everywhere, the world is in progress, the earth is like the heavens.  A single will, that of God, runs through every form, through thousands of diverse wills and conducts the entire creation to the final unity; sublime return of every creature to their eternal source from whence they emanated; ultimate goal of every science, every labour of humanity, last word of man and the world, Finem loquendi pariter omnes audiamus.  Deum time et mandata ejus observa:  hoc est omnis homo  (Ecclesiastes XII, :3).

Such are the great principles with which the masters must be well-penetrated; such the spirit under whose influence they must act and teach; and they must ask for this through a continuous, humble and fervent prayer:  Lord, grant me that wisdom seated with you upon your throne; may she become my companion, my guide; may she work with me and teach me what I must do to be pleasing in your eyes, and save the souls Thou hast confided to me.  (21)

“But this spirit that makes good teachers is received into a great brand,” says Charles Rollin, “when you feel a great zeal for the salvation of children; when we are touched by their dangers; when we are sensible to their faults; when we often reflect on the price of the innocence they have received in baptism; how difficult to repair once lost; what account we must render to Jesus Christ who has placed us like a sentinel to guard them, if during our sleep the enemy steals so precious a treasure.”

“Thus should a good teacher apply these words of God continually heard in the ears of Moses, the conductor of his people:  Carry them in your bosom as a nurse is wont to carry her small child.”  (22)

“They have experienced something of the tenderness and anxiety of St. Paul for the Galatians, for whom he felt the pains of childbirth until Christ was found in them.”  (23)

To these touching words we add the counsels of a man who was at once the enlightened tutor, the tender friend and the devoted apostle of youth.  In a letter addressed to a superior concerning his obligations (Letters of Piety and Religion), Fenelon gave the following advice to every teacher.  One cannot reread and meditate on them too often.  We abbreviate.

“The first way to conserve the deposit confided to you and multiply it is to work with a renewed zeal for your own sanctification.  You are the instrument God wants to serve Him for the salvation of these children:  It is necessary for you to be closely united with Him. The second way is not to hope for fruit if you do not work in the name of Jesus Christ, which is to say like Christ Himself worked for the sanctification of men.  He began by giving the example of every virtue he commanded.
The third way is to expect nothing from your cares, your prudence, your lights, your labours, but only from the grace of God alone.  He rarely blesses those who are not humble. We water and plant in vain if He does not give the increase.
If God blesses your speech and your cares, do not attribute the success to yourself.  If your work seems useless to you, do not be discouraged, do not despair either of yourself or of others.  Do not be a slacker and not at all. God alone knows the moments He has reserved…  The cares were recommended to you and not the success.”

That is what it takes for us to save ourselves.  But, O God, there are difficulties to conquer!  How many gaps to fill to smooth the way!  How our present means are disproportionate to the goal!  Can he who gives this religious, scientific, strong, constant impulse to education save us on his own alone?  Where are the men who comprehend the necessity?  Where are those who ask for nothing but to devote themselves to the success of this great work?  Our saddened gaze searches for them in vain.  Everywhere, it is true, arise groans and complaints, but what is the result?  Discouragement, disgust, despair, and we scarcely see a few isolated attempts here and there.  Honour to them nevertheless!  They may save some youth from the vast shipwreck in which the rising generation perishes.  That is everything they can do and it would be unjust to ask more from them.  To do more there must be the ensemble, the union, and there is none.

Deplorable isolation, yet not surprising.  We lack the principle of any union, the religious principle; until such a principle is reestablished we shall remain deprived of teaching congregations.  Education will sink back into the muddy rut where selfishness on the one hand and despotism on the other compresses and suffocates her.  Vain our groans, vain our wishes and efforts for rather than save us education will kill us.

Yes, without teaching corporations education shall perish.  That is what in our century the men most opposed in their opinions and conduct have said.  Who has not heard the grave and solemn voice of the Viscount de Bonald demonstrating the impossibility of every conscientious, vast and profound science outside those institution that, never dying, inherit the work and spirit of each one of their members!  (Législation primitive, partie relative à l’éducation).  But here is another testimony that may seem less suspect:  “Since the suppression of the teaching corporations, instruction has had practically no place in France.  Not that there do not exist in Paris or the departments many professors capable and zealous for the progress of their art, but these precious men, scattered and dispersed, do not assist each other and are like so many sparks which, if not gathered around a common fireplace will give but a weak and dying light.  Ingenious theories and useful methods pass away with those who invented them; no tradition forms, no system is transmitted; the experience of an able teacher contributes nothing to pave the road for his successors, no one gathers the traces and practical parts of education when they are no longer based on habit and imitation so that each enters on his own career in isolation, reduced to his own ideas and finds himself from the first given to the uncertainty of inexperience and the hazards of his own random attempts.  With a great people for whom institutions are fixed, national education must be in harmony with these institutions; the principles must not be left to chance; they must not depend on men to determine and confound them; here the thing subsists before the isolated individual and education receives neither direction nor form.  On the contrary the nation should fashion education into a permanent institution.”  (24)

There is no doubt but that religious corporations, reuniting the spirit of the Church and current needs with modern science are alone able to save education, yet in vain do we search for this at the present time.  France is a widow.  However the tasks become day-by-day more pressing and what shall we do?  Must we abandon ourselves?  God forbid!  Discouragement never solved anything.  Until we possess the reality we should try to have the image and this will always be a great good.  It is sufficient that some religious commitments, although temporary, fix the teachers in their interesting career.  The time expired, an honourable departure would give the exiting teacher, not the salary but the recompense for his devotion.  A savings bank formed in each diocese would pay the debt for this process of reconnoitring. (25)

Without this we shall never have union or stability or discipline or unity of views.  Our establishments only present some aggregations of individuals that, momentarily close together, come apart at the slightest breath.  Make no mistake:  The mobility of teachers is the ruin of studies.  Moreover the ranks of the clergy are complementary; the poor and little ones no longer ask for the bread of life without finding a person there to break it with them.  And then, what is the most pressing need of our time?  Is it not to save the rising generation, that generation on which alone rests the future of religion and society?  But who will understand this need?  Who can satisfy it?  The university?  See its work.  No, the clergy alone can still save the world, for they alone are capable of dedication, they alone preserve the words of life.

Allow us to express yet another wish, though that for us is perhaps only a sterile one.  Alas!  It is for others more fortunate to see the accomplishment.  Be that as it may, it is always good to sow seeds of salvation in the heart of society; sooner or later a day comes when, fertilised by time, they bear fruit.  Thus persuaded, with every friend of science, that an education such as it should be, which is to say a religious one, is impossible in France with our monopoly and our collegial organisation that is at the same time so petty and so corrupt.  Hence with loud cries we call for the reestablishment of the magnificent scholastic hierarchy of the Middle Ages:  Gymnasiums or preparatory houses and great provincial universities.  First, this is the only means to give our studies the superiority that once attracted the elite of youth of every country to France and contributed so powerfully to establish the empire of our literature and our manners over Europe.  (26)  This is also the only way to save our youth.

Honour to you, virtuous teachers devoted to teaching in the provinces!  Redouble your zeal and vigilance, but know you shall never gather the fruit of your long monitoring and your cares.  At the moment of crowning your work the sons of your solicitude escape from you.  The great city calls them and they go to Paris.  For three or four years they breath away from the paternal eye, at the terrible moment when the passions begin to bubble in their soul amid the reeking air of this immense Babylon.  See them on their return to the provinces.  How pure gold is changed into base lead.  What has been done with your advice?  What have they done with their mother’s lessons?  Where are their beliefs?  Where their manners?  What has become of the lily and rose in their faces?  Pity them, their parents complain, but do we not hurry to condemn them as well?  What do we want them to do?  Noble son of France, is he not under the pain of being a helot in his own fatherland sent to pass through one of the four great filters of despotism:  medical school, law school, military school, polytechnic school?  Thus they go to sink in the abyss of corruption and with them the faith and virtue of youth and the hope of parents and the glory of the provinces.

In the name of innocence, in the name of the tears of families, in the name of the fatherland, in the name of science herself, this infernal system must be abolished.  Give us back what Catholicism had given us, the ancient organisation of studies at once so liberal and so conservative.  Yes, under the rule of faith education was a great work among us, holy, impressive, worthy of the first and most religious of nations.  Daughter of the faith, on her august forehead shone the two great traits that Christianity imprints on every of her works:  Unity and universality.  Unity in the goal, universality in the means.  She understood with great power that man has only one purpose to which everything must refer.  And to the young minds in our universities every science appeared like so many sisters among whom the most perfect union prevailed.
However they are despite this consanguinity an august hierarchy, the perfect expression of an eminently philosophical thought because eminently Christian with the various faculties subordinated one to another.  Each was placed according to her position of importance; which is to say following their more or less direct relationship with the general purpose of beings.  On solemn occasions honours and precedence revealed to youth the first of the sciences, she whom every other science regarded as their queen.  Such was the science of God, theology, she who walked in the first place.  After her came the science of man and human society, jurisprudence.  In the third line came the science of the human body, medicine.  Finally there came the sciences, letters and the arts having a less direct relationship to the perfection and well-being of man, and thus occupying the last place in this admirable hierarchy.

What better way than this often repeated viewing of these public tributes to in this way regulate the judgments and esteem of the young intelligence?  How could his respect not have been forever given to this science of God before whom he saw the human sciences bow so deeply?

Nor is this all:  There in those ancient universities, like in august temples, every faculty was found reunited.  Theology, jurisprudence, medicine, philosophy, mathematics, fine arts, taught in the same places, thus offering to the pride of the students the imposing image of the entire sum of human knowledge, and to their ardour the vast career the spirit of man is called upon to undertake.  What a high morality for youth who are at once so ardent and so vain!  Such were our ancient universities then thus called to the universality of the sciences taught there.  Magnificent creations of Catholicism, they exercised the most salutary influence over Europe and thereby increased and regularised the movement of the human spirit.

However since the Reformation these powerful institutions, born from the alliance of reason and faith, have gradually declined to the extent that this alliance itself was dissolved.  But with what was this replaced?  By colleges, petty establishments where from the start teaching was truncated, distorted, made puerile by a sectarian spirit and later by a pedantry that became proverbial until at last the colleges became a branch of commerce; they have been arranged like sugar and tobacco and sold by patented industrial companies known as the Imperial or Royal College that resolves with perfect desperation the dual problem of learning as little as possible while corrupting as much as possible in the time given.  Incalculable evil which, each year, weighs down on fifty thousand intellects, choking them in
the cradle and thereby handing over the future of a great people to irreligion and immorality, pending the barbarism that will cover them with debris.  Moreover this eventuality would in no way prejudice the occupations of the mind which would be one of the recreations consecrated to such a suspension:  The health of the students would perhaps benefit more from gymnastic exercises rather than suffer from these degenerate colleges.

Take a glance at the French University student.  Where are his strong, well-nourished and conscientious extended studies?  Where are the men of vast and deep wisdom, those men of sense and reason who were the glory of the Christian centuries?  Those vigorous minds which, if they were not in the lead of every science then at the least they reasoned over the general principles of each science with a rare accuracy, thereby understanding the relationships between them through the appreciation of their importance?  In their place what do we see?  Swarms of false minds, narrow, shallow, stupidly proud, who not suspecting anything outside the narrow horizon in which they live profess an exclusive esteem for the science of their choice while full of contempt for the other sciences and for those who cultivate them, walking alone and thereby condemning themselves and their science to vegetate in an eternal childhood.  From there no unity among scholars, no exchange of knowledge and understanding; specialties everywhere, genius nowhere.  But enough weeping over the ruins; though our voice cry in the desert distracted by business and pleasure, the world has no time to hear us; happy are we if only our voice reaches the ear of our friends in the priesthood.  The clergy of France, universal repairer, can still raise up a new temple above the debris with which the earth is covered.  Why can we not do what our brothers in Belgium have done?  Let us wish:  For those who desire nothing is impossible.

We conclude this writing casting a final glance over that society at once so unfortunate and so worthy of compassion.

Prodigal son of the most tender of fathers, she has left the paternal home, but the excess of her evils seems to awaken somewhat in her the memory of her first happiness; thus she calls God.  Sophists answer her voice and lead her to new depths.  Thou who art the Way, the Truth and the Life, rise up and hasten to meet her.  Catholic priests, in exhorting you we exhort ourselves.  That in the light of your teachings the darkness of error may vanish like shadows in the desert beneath a bright cloud.  Once convinced that you are not only masters of virtue but also the pontiffs of science, the world will be saved.  Angels of the Lord of Hosts, may your lips thus be the repositories of science:  Such must be; it is the necessity of the times.  Never has it been more necessary for you to present yourselves to the world with your foreheads adorned with a diadem marked with this description that the high priest of the new law carries engraved on His chest:  Doctrine and Truth (Doctrinam et veritatem.  Exodus XXVIII, 30).  You especially who are still young, what powerful motive do you not have to redouble your zeal for science?  Climb alongside a generation that will walk the career of life with you; a generation that shall travel as must be beneath the penalty of calamities without end, so may you adjust their ideas, may you direct their conduct as a generation that breathes science and searches for her with indefatigable ardour night and day, a generation that knows much and grows to know still more.  How shall you win the esteem and confidence of this generation, to whom the future belongs, how shall you exercise over them the ascendancy necessary for their salvation and the salvation of science and society, if you are not at least their followers, if you are not their maestros?
If at times this high estimate of science is an exaggeration on their part, then be this exaggeration, weakness, whatever you please:  Are we not duty-bound like the Apostle to share in their miseries and in the infirmities of our brothers?  Have we not seen the men of God throughout the ages be everything to every man to win everything?  Have we not seen missionaries become skilled workers to save souls?  Ah!  Let us learn this well since science is the weakness of the current generation.  Thus is it not our duty to make ourselves knowledgeable to save them?  Indeed are we not debtors to everyone, to the Greeks as to the Barbarians?  Ah!  Let us learn this well:  At present there reigns in the world something that opposes the regenerative action of the priesthood with incalculable obstacles.  What is it?  The unfortunately so accredited opinion that science has deserted the sanctuary:  That the clergy is not on the level of the century.  Hence on the one hand we hear the sound of sarcasm in the scientific world at the mention of the name of the
contemporary clergy, and on the other hand we see the deplorable ease with which proud sophists cover themselves with the mask of science, thus casting thousands of intellects created for truth in the abyss.  Where are the priestly entrails not moved in heartfelt ways by this spectacle!  Like Jeremiah seated on the ruins of Old Jerusalem we weep between the entrance hall and the altar, but let us
remember our sole mission is not to cry; we have another, that of the Levite repairer of the temple.  And this mission is less difficult than we think.  The most painful work has already been done.  For fifty years the men of science, Protestants and others, have worked for us.  Yes, it has been for us that they have searched the bowels of the earth and for us that they went into the depths of the Orient and Antiquity, for us that they deciphered the hieroglyphs of Egypt.  Thanks to their labours every stone of the building is taken from the quarry, the ground is covered and just waiting for the hand of the architect.  In this respect we recognise the merciful designs of Providence over the world; we understand what Providence asks of us.

Yes, if science and society have a future, that future is within Christianity, and O priests, Christianity is in your hands!  May I have a voice strong enough to make every one of my brothers in the priesthood hear me, and everyone reread those words of the Apostle:  “It is more than time, rise up from your sleep:  Have faith alone, and if you have it then nothing is lost!  Lazarus can still revive and throw off the shroud of indifference and disbelief that envelopes him.

Prophets of the New Alliance hear the voice of God, and understand the vision of the Lord:

“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and the Lord carried me out in the Spirit, and set me down in the midst of a valley; and it was full of bones. And he caused me to pass by them round about; and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and behold, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, Shall these bones live? And I said, Lord, thou knowest. And he said unto me, Prophesy over these bones, and say unto them, Ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live. And I will put sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you,
and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live: and ye shall know that I am Jehovah. And I prophesied as he had commanded me: and as I prophesied there was a noise, and behold a commotion: and the bones came together, each one to its joint. And I looked, and behold, sinews and flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. And he said unto me,
Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. And I prophesied as he had commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. And he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off! Therefore
prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O my people, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord God, when I have opened your graves, and have caused you to come up out of your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I will place you in your own land: and ye shall know that I have spoken, and have done it, saith the Lord.”  (Ezekiel XXXVII.)

(21)  Da mihi sedium tuarum assistricem sapientiam, ut mecum laboret, ut sciam quid acceptum sit apud te.  (Wisdom 9:4,10.)

(22) Porta cos in sinu tuo, sicut portare solet nutrix infantulum. (Num. 11:12.)

(23) Filioli mei, quos iterum parturio donec formetur Christus in vobis. (Galatians, 4:19.)

(24) Rapport du ministre de l’Intérieur présenté aux citoyens consuls.  The Minister of the Interior who spoke thus was Prince Lucien Bonaparte.

(25) Allow us to propose here an improvement of another kind.  At first glance it may seem minute, but on reflection we find it is far from lacking importance.  This would be to teach a trade to young people while they are studying.  England has long had this brilliant idea and that may be a major reason for the superiority of its industry.  Indeed it is conceivable for a young man, rich and the master of his leisure time, to perfect the art in which he is engaged much more easily than the worker can do.  The worker exercises his art for a living, whereas for the man of leisure the art is a relaxation.  Nothing presses him to finish so he can give all his works every care necessary for their perfection, which the worker cannot do.  And in addition the man of leisure will be much more capable of directing the work of those who may one day work for him.  But it is above all the moral that we want to consider.  How many times in even the busiest life do men not know what to do!  And the proof is the crowds every day engaged in performances, public games, the numbers of countless readers of newspapers and novels, these idle men belonging to every class.  Oh!  How the morals of families would gain if for all these treacherous recreations education could substitute, while giving knowledge and taste, other recreations more useful and sweet because they are much more innocent!  And then the knowledge of an art and a trade is a resource in the day of necessity.  During the stormy times to which we are condemned to live who can flatter themselves to always have the wind in their sails?  Do not even the finest sailboats sometimes sink?  Look at the beach; it is littered with debris.

(26) There was a time when the University of Paris alone had as many as 25,000 students, and we have twenty universities!
CHAPTER ONE.  Look at the current state of society.
CHAPTER TWO.  General considerations.  Definition of Education.
Characteristics of education.
CHAPTER THREE.  Religious character.
CHAPTER FOUR.  Continuation of previous chapter.
CHAPTER FIVE.  Character of universality.
CHAPTER SIX.  Need to study languages.  Which languages
Should be studied.
CHAPTER SEVEN.  How to study languages.
CHAPTER EIGHT.  Teaching of religion.
CHAPTER NINE.  Continuation of previous chapter.
CHAPTER TEN.  Teaching of history.
CHAPTER ELEVEN.  Continuation of previous chapter.
CHAPTER TWELVE.  Teaching of literature.
CHAPTER THIRTEEN.  On Romanticism.
CHAPTER FOURTEEN.  Character and tendency of Romanticism.
CHAPTER FIFTEEN.  Classical books.
CHAPTER SIXTEEN.  Study of the physical world
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.  Continuation of the previous chapter.
CHAPTER NINETEEN.  Philosophy.  Historic part.  Time of faith Before Christ.
CHAPTER TWENTY.  Time of doubt Before Christ.
CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE.  Time of faith After Christ.
CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO.  Time of doubt After Christ.
CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE.  Philosophy.  Positive part.
CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR.  Continuation of the previous chapter.
CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX.  General summary.  Conclusion.

Published in: on May 8, 2013 at 3:29 am  Leave a Comment  

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