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CHRISTIAN BROTHERS, Issue 15645, 9 November 1914
, THE NEW SCHOOL.
LAYING THE FOUNDATION STONE.
There was a large attendance of members of iho Roman Catholic Church yesterday afternoon to witness tho ceremony of laying the foundation stone of - the new Christian Brothers’ -School in Dowling street. A largo number of citizens of all denominations were also present, including Messrs G. M. Thomson, M.P., and T. K. Sidcy, M.P. At 5 o'clock a procession set out from th© old schoolhouse for the site of the now school. It was compcsSd as follows: Archbishop O’Shea, Bishop Verclon, Monsigror O'Leary, and the llev. Fathers Coffey. O’Neill, Lister, Morkane, and Kavamagh. Bishop Verclon then laid the foundation stone, using a handsome silver tiowel presented by the contractor (Mr W. M’Lellan) and tho architect (Mr H. Mander.o). Bishop Verdon immediately afterwards headed ai other procession round the present foundation work, and blessed tho edifice. Chairs bad been arranged on an improvised platform facing the people, and addresses were delivered by Archbishop O’Shea, Bishop Verdon, and Father Coffer. Religion and. Education.— “ The ceremony of tho laying of tho foundation stone of this fine new school,” said th© Archbishop, ”is further evidence of the great work that is being carried on by th© Catholic Church in New Zealand in tho field of education. It is another proof, if proof were needed, of.the groat sacrifices that we are making on’ behalf of a principle that tho Government of this country have not chosen to recognise. The principle for which we are contending, and of which this building will ho tho expression, is that you cannot have a mio or complete system, of education without religion. The entrance of the Catholic Church into the field of education is no now departure nor a ,now policy. All through the ages the Church has been the friend and patron of knowledge in all its branches. The proofs of this are clearlyseen in the records and monuments of the past. Of com,sc. th© promotion of secular knowledge and material prosperity is not the primary object of the Church'© existence. She was founded to do another work altogether. But us man is both matter and spirit, as he is both body and sold, united in th© closest personal union, and what affects the one affects the other, it follows, then, that all knowledge, even secular, is useful, and can, if rightly used, contribute to our happiness and welfare in this world, and also in tho next. Therefore the Church has always encouraged and festered such knowledge and the material progress it implies. In fact, the Catholic Church is the founder of European civilisation. She it was who, forced by circumstances, entered into a domain not exclusively her own. and saved Europe from relapsing into barbarism when tlio ancient Roman Empire was destroyed. But though the Church values ali knowledge and secular science, and gives it its proper place, she puts supernatural truth far above it, and looks upon the imparting of it to men as infinitely more important than anything else. That is why she will never be satisfied with a purely secular system of education. To b© worthy of the name, education should aim at developing the whole of a man’s faculties, not merely some of them. And as man possesses moral as well as intellectual faculties, education, to ho complete, must be able to develop both kinds. Man hj not merely a spirit, but he is also matter. Ho has a body as well as a soul, and the proper development of the body should foim a part of a liberal education. Hence, importance is rightly attached to physical culture as a part of all up-to-date systems. Snppr.sc you confine your attention to the development of the intellectual powers only, anil do little or nothing for the training ot th© moral faculties. Would this be a complete education? Certainly not, because tho whole of man’s faculties would not be developed under such a system. Now, this moral training, which forms an essential part of all true education, necessarily supposes religion or religious instinct, and religious instruction of such a kind that it occupies ;ust ns important a place on the syllabus ns any secular subject. But more than this: religion is necessary, because without it education would not only be incomplete, hut would eventually bo a positive danger to th© .State Ear the stability of the State depends upon the character of its citizens, and how can you build up a ration of strong characters under an incomplete system of education? It is true that tho evil consequences to the State may bo greatly lessened and postponed because of the religious atmosphere that will linger long after the State as a public entity has ceased to recognise religion, and because of man’s natural tendency to he influenced by religion. But gradually generations which are brought up without relitrion will lose all belief in a future life,' and will gradually become Jess and less influenced by supernatural motive©, and tho man who thinks that this world contains all th© happiness that he may aspire to will soon seek no nobler god to worship than himself. Might will be right, and the only law, to use the words of'the poet, will he the law of the jungle. The consequence will he that the very existence of civilisation wilt bo threatened. and when these principles capture those who control tho destinies of nations wo behold what we see in the world at the present moment. Solemn international treaties are broken and treated as mere scraps of paper, weak nations arc invaded, oppressed, and devastated, and ail the horrors of a savage, war are enacted in the very centra of civilisation. The Catholic Ohuich proclaims the necessity of religion in education for the welfare of the .State as well as for tho individual. This is why in this country, after being compelled to pay in taxation our proportionate shaic toward© tlea upkeep of a State school system that loaves out religion, wo voluntarily tax ourselves again to build, equip, and maintain our own Catholic schools, in which our children are taught all the secular subjects of lh© syllabus to the full satisfaction of the Government inspectors, while at tho same time they ait thoroughly grounded
in the doctrines ami practices of Christianity. We did not ask for ouo penny to be given to us for the leaching of religion, but wo feel that it would be only, fair and just on the part of the State to pay us something for the work that wo do in giving our children the fame secular instruction that is given in the public schools. Catholics contribute in taxation to the public education funds of this country something like £140,000 a year, Would it* be too much to ask that a portion at least of that money should be spent upon our schools, tvhieli arc doing the same work exactly as the public schools, ano are saving the general taxpayer many thousands every year. At the present moment Catholics are nobly taking their full share in helping the country with men and money in the life-and-death struggle that the war has brought. This is only our duty, and wc will continue to do it, no matter *\vhat happens. But would it not bo wise, would it not be profitable, on the part of our country, to treat us a little more justly in educational matters? • Would it not tend to make us, if possible, a more united people, and bring about perfect harmony between all classes at a time when complete unity is vitally necessary to make our success against the outside foo all the more speedy and effective? Wo do not ask for anything for ourselves that wo are not quite prepared to see granted to every other section of the community, provided that all arc treated alike, and that the conscience of none is violated. But, no matter what happens, it is the settled policy of bishops, priests, and people of this land to go on building our schools and to go on making the sacrifices necessary to maintain them. From this there will be no 'flinching on our part. And wc are certain of success in the end, because sooner or later right principles must prevail. Even without war, how much misery, poverty, discontent, and unhappiness there has been in the world ot late yours! Perhaps at no time in the world’s history has been seen side by side such great wealth and such dire poverty. Might was right in business relations as well as in the council of the nations. The voice of the Church would not be listened to by the great ones of earth,_ and her sovereign Pontiff was even a tew years ago refused a voice in the tribunal which they set up in the vain attempt they maria to keep the peace of the world. But out of all this turmoil and evil good will surely come. The Catholic Church i& immortal, and a chastened world such as ours ought to he, after the wav wil] be, more ready to listen to her advice than a proud ami materially successful world has been Tor tho last few centuries. Lot us hope that out of it all will arise a purified world, a world less intent upon mere material greatness, but more devoted to tho true happiness and welfare of the masses, a world in which there will be more honor amongst the nations and a complete repudiation of tho principle that might is right in all departments of life. But religion and religious education will be essential to all this, and it wi!i only be by a return to the principles of the Catholic Church that any lasting success will bo achieved. Tho late bishop of your city, tho lamented Dr Moran, fought long and bravely, as well as successfully, in the holy cause of religion and religious education. Your present Bishop, your devoted clergy 7, brothers, and ministers have, with you, nobly continued his work, ami this ceremony of to-day affords striking evidence of the- great success that has attended your efforts. 1 congratulate the Rev. Father Coffey on tho success of his efforts. I trust that you may 7 all Jive to see your expectations fully 7 realised and that the splendid and commodious school that will soon arise will be a training giound for many Catholic boys of the Citv.''
Bishop Vordon thanked the Archbishop for coming to Dunedin to assist them in celebrating the laying of the foundation stone. This, he said, was the first official visit tho Archbishp had paid them. Ho was very pleased to see such a large number of people present, ns it proved how united and determined they were to assist tho clergy in carrying out their Catholic system of education. Tho Christian Brothers’ schools were known all over the world, and the teachers in the Dunedin school had carried# on a great work, and had been thoroughly cuccesstul in their efforts. Tho speaker then paid a tribute to Father Coffey for the energy ho had put foith in getting a start made with the school, and also in getting in subscriptions. The speaker felt sure that enough money world be secured to enable the school, when erected, to bo quite clear of debt. (Applause.) Mr T. J. Hussey read an address to Archbishop O’Shea, .congratulating Jlim, on behalf of the laity, on his elevation to the episcopate.
Father Coffey, in one of his characteristically humorous speeches, referred to the need of more funds fox the school. "It was a lent; way ,to Tipperary," ho remarked, amidst laughter Twelve months ago. he said, they had had nothing—not even a sito —hut some £4,000 had since been raised from the bazaar they had held. After deducting from this sum the •amount—(over £I,OO0 —required for the sito, they had at the present about. £3,509 in hand. A further sum of £I,OOO had been donated, and another £I,OOO promised, hut sosn-o £2,C00 was still required. They had no resources, but in making his appeal he said that he would iike to (joint out that every penny of the money was to be spent in Dunedin, practically all the material would be provided in Dunedin, and the workmen all lived in Dunedin. He, considered drat those who gave towards the cost of erection of the school were not onlv assisting a religious work, but sincerely helping, at tho present time, in a patriotic movement (Applause.) Tho Christian Brothers’ choir (under Mr Dillies) then rendered musical items, and the ceremony concluded. As a result of the collection taken up, over £4OO was collected, and this, with the amount collected in the last three or four weeks brings tho total sum up to over £4.500.
CHRISTIAN BROTHERS, Issue 15645, 9 November 1914
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