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We see the Catholic Hierarchy, both in England and Ireland, arc now making strenuous efforts to provide not merely primary schools, but high schools, or universities, for Catholic youth. The difficulties in the way are many and great — immense in fact ; but with ' the loyal and generous co-operation of the laity these difficulties are being conquered. The recent and unexpected addition of wealthy English noblemen to the ranks of the English Catholic laity will greatly contribute to the success of the efforts now being made in England to found a suitable Catholic educational establishment for the higher studies in the metropolis. In this Colony we have great difficulties in keeping up suitable Catholic schools even for primary education ; yet, with the willing aid of the laity, the clergy do succeed in that object. The difficulty in maintaining schools for higher education is greater here still. Governmeut have many advantages over us in that respect ; yet, in the face of all difficulties, Catholic schools far higher education are kept up in the Colony. Catholic parents should reflect that it is an incumbent duty on them to make an effort, and even some little sacrifice, to support them. If the teacher be competent, and certified by a Government Board to be so, why should Catholics take their children away from their own and place them at a Government high school ? la it acting a consistent and loyal part to the Church to do this ? Yet we see it often done. If the Catholic teacher of a high school be notoriously incompetent, and without a Government certificate of qualification, then of course the case would be different. But even then Catholic parents should, in concert with their Clergy, endeavor to place the school on a proper footing. The difficulty of keeping up a good Catholic high school is ▼ety great here, owing to the paucity of our numbers and comparative poverty, But that difficulty is greatly increased, and. may be Tendered insuperable by parents, without sufficient reason, withdrawing their children from it and sending them to Government grammar schools. The commissions lately appointed by Government to examine into the state of the Dunedin and Auckland high schools show that these schools are not always immaculate or perfect, with all their money advantages. If the Catholic laity of these Colonies were as zealous in the cause of education as their co-religionists at home, we should have less difficulty in keeping up good high schools, as well as primary schools ; yet, considering what they do actually perform in that way, perhaps there is but little cause to complain against them. Still they may do more, and no doubt will do more when they come to reflect upon the necessity of doing it for the honor of their religion. There is no reason whatever why our Catholic schools should not take first rank. The Inspector of Schools for tne Province of Auckland is a Catholic, and taught a school in Auckland before he was raised to the dignity of Inspector. See, then, what can be done', and what ought to be done, by Catholics if they were true to themselves in the matter of schools. A correspondent in one of the Auckland evening papers, I see, states that the Parnell Government District Scriool, under Mr. Leonard, is the first in the Province, and Mr. Leonard, I believe, is a Catholic. The Catholic High School in Auckland, kept by Mr. B. Hamil, is well managed. He holds a first-class certificate from the Irish Board of Education, and he is enthusiastically devoted to his profession. He is well supported, and merits all the support he gets, and more too. There is noticeable among many Catholics a disposition to run down or undervalue everything connected with their own community, and to run up whatever belongs to " the other side " not a very amiable trait in their character. The other day a Catholic teacher offered his services to his own people, but in vain. He was forthwith engaged as a Government teacher for a district school. The Inspector was ready to catch him up. Yet Irish Catholics will whimper and complain against their schoolmasters as inefficient, and starve them. They show little self-respect in this. English and Scotch Catholics would not act so shabby a part, saving Paddy's presence, and he is always blowing about his Catholic zeal. Considering the lavish expenditure of public money on Government grammar schools, it would be a shame to them if they did not have many more " hands," as a manufacturer would say, than private Catholic schools can afford to supply. The teachers may be more numerous and as good, or in some cases even better than are to be found in Catholic high schools. Still, if the fe? ?her in the Catholic school be sufficient for the number of pupils attending it, and if competent for his duty in all other respects, ■what more can be required ? It would be unreasonable to expect more. It is no fault of the Catholic school masters that the number attending his school is small compared with the pupils in Government grammar schools ; or that they belong to the humbler classes in society. Besides, is it the correct thing for Catholic parents to place their children at high schools in which the masters and the bulk of the pupils are the avowed enemies to the Catholic faith. In many cases no harm to their religious interests may come from this; but in some cases great harm may, and no doubt does, arise from it ; and it is acting in direct opposition to the mind and positive injunctions of the Church. History is one of the most important branches of higher education, and will any one pretend that history in Protestant or Government schools will be fully and fairly taught ? The most important parts of it will cither be slurred over, omitted, or misrepresented. What sort of Catholic must that be who wouid be satisfied to have his child taught so, or say it is of little moment whether his mind is poisoned by erroneous and garbled history or not. The confiding and unsuspecting mind of youth soon acquires a wrong bias in important questions, which can never afterwards be effectually rectified The seeds of heresy or even infidelity r-v thus be easily sown! and the Catholic parent may discover toe be that he himself has been accessory to sowing them by sending nis child to an unsafe school, for an imaginary advantage of a purely worldly kind. AxroKii^NP, l

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Bibliographic details

HIGHER EDUCATION FOR CATHOLICS., New Zealand Tablet, Volume II, Issue 96, 27 February 1875

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HIGHER EDUCATION FOR CATHOLICS. New Zealand Tablet, Volume II, Issue 96, 27 February 1875