Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 12, 1955

"Public Schools . . . A Mortal Sin" Says Catholicism

Luther Martin, St. James, Missouri

The Liguorian, a monthly Catholic publication, "published with ecclesiastical approval" at Liguori, Missouri, had the following statement to make concerning the education of children:

"There are certain clear-cut mortal sins that parents can commit. The chief ones are:

"(1) Refusing to send a child to a Catholic school, when there is no good reason for not doing so, and no permission of their pastor for not doing so. If the parish to which Catholics belong has a school, it is not for them to decide whether or not their children shall go there. (Emphasis mine. L.W.M.) If, without consulting their pastor, and for subjective reasons of their own, they send their child to a public school, they are guilty of a mortal sin, and ordinarily cannot be absolved in confession until they have placed their child in the Catholic school or obtained the permission of their pastor or bishop not to do so"

Sins ... 'Mortal' And 'Venial'

The Apostle John informs Christians that "sin is the transgression of the law." (I John 3:4.) However, the Bible is silent upon such a distinction as sins that are 'mortal' and sins that are 'venial'. Therefore, we must go to a Roman Catholic Catechism in order to determine just what the degree of sin is, for a Catholic parent to send their offspring to an American Public School.

On page 27 of my "Advanced Catechism, Of Catholic Faith and Practice," by Thomas J. O'Brien, we copy as follows:

"How many kinds of actual sin are there?"

"There are two kinds of actual sin — mortal and venial. Mortal — that which deprives one of life; Venial — that which may be easily pardoned."

"What is mortal sin?"

"Mortal sin is a grievous offense against the law of God. One commits a mortal sin when he knowingly and wilfully breaks the law of God in a serious matter."

Thus, we find Catholicism attempting to legislate and bind a 'law' invented by the 'Church', and terming it 'a law of God' . . . that Catholic children must attend church-operated schools, unless given special exemption.

Catholic Parents Given No Voice In The Matter

Did you note the statement quoted from The Liguorian which said: "... it is not for them (Catholic parents) to decide whether or not their children shall go there." The impression is left that an unmarried (and thus childless) priest, sometimes fresh out of seminary, knows more and has more wisdom in regard to the education of children than the Catholic parents, who may be many years his senior in years, and whom the priest will never equal through the actual experience in the rearing and education of children.

More Than Elementary Education

The final paragraph of the article entitled, "Mortal Sins in Education", published in the September issue, 1950, of The Liguorian, states: "Strictly speaking, these principle apply to grade school, high school, and college education."

Roman Catholicism cannot afford to endorse free and uncensored education . . . if she did, she would lose her power over her subjects. In Italy, the nation that has known the Roman Church for the greatest length of time, 33 per cent of the inhabitants can neither read nor write. That's one person out of every three . . . unable to read or write . . . yet living in a nation that has known Catholicism for the greatest period of time. The same facts can be determined from other 'Roman Catholic' countries. The Roman Church breeds censorship and lack of education. We repeat, Catholicism cannot stand free and unshackled education!

"Bitter Lesson From Belgium"

Recently, in the State of Missouri, a bill has been introduced in the Legislature calling for State support for the transportation of school children to private and parochial schools. The interest built up, both for and against this measure has become one of the most controversial matters faced by Missouri law-makers in several years. As usual, the Roman Catholic Church has been going 'all out' urging her membership to harass their respective Representatives and Senators to vote in favor of the bill. The St. Louis Register went so far as to publish a list of all the Legislators, and indicated which law-maker had been reported as favorable or opposed to the legislation.

The title of this article, "Bitter Lesson From Belgium" is the name given an excellent editorial published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sunday, March 27, 1955. We copy it in full:

"Distressingly bitter controversies are raging in both Europe and South America over the question of government support for church schools.

"In Belgium approximately 1,000,000 children were kept out of Roman Catholic schools last Thursday in protest against the Government's proposed $5,000,000 reduction in the $92,000,000 annual state subsidy to parochial schools. According to the Associated Press, in Brussels, Louvain, and other cities, groups of demonstrators clashed with police.

"In Argentina the Peron government and the Catholic church are in a battle over church schools that is but one phase of a long church-state struggle. Dictator Juan Peron's government charges that Catholic schools have fraudulently collected money to pay teachers who did not exist, and otherwise engaged in 'abuses and irregularities.' The Superior Council of Catholic Education says that Argentina's Catholic schools will present evidence to disprove these charges.

"The lesson for the United States in these lamentable controversies is that in this country the public should support the public schools which are open to all regardless of church or creed, race or color, and that each religious sect with its own funds should support whatever it wishes in the way of denominational schools. The Government that supports a church and its schools can turn about face and either cut off support or harass the church.

"This is one reason why no steps should be taken, however small and well-intentioned, that will lead to a church-state struggle in the United States.

"This is why the Walsh school bus bill, humane and harmless though it appears to many Missourians, should be rejected at Jefferson City — rejected in the interests of continued religious freedom for all.'

Since the foregoing Post-Dispatch editorial was written, when the Legislative Committee conducted a hearing to offer an opportunity for the bill's opponents to be heard, over one thousand people jammed the hearing chamber in order to voice their opposition to allowing Roman Catholicism the opportunity of grasping Missouri Tax Dollars.

Citizens of the United States must constantly be on guard against any encroachment that would tend to wed government with religion. Catholicism is no less a threat to this nation than Communism.