FROM THE ARCHIVES: In his instructions for Lent in 1947, Archbishop John Charles McQuaid of Dublin set out uncompromising views on a number of his favourite concerns, including education and “mixed” marriages.
– PARENTS, THE Archbishop says, had a most serious duty to secure a fully Catholic upbringing for their children in all that concerned the instruction of their minds, the training of their wills to virtue, their bodily welfare, and the preparation of their life as citizens. In the education of Catholics every branch of human training was subject to the guidance of the Church, and those schools alone which the Church approved were capable of providing a fully Catholic education. Therefore, the Church forbade parents to send a child to any non-Catholic school, whether primary or secondary, or continuation or university.
“Deliberately to disobey this law is a mortal sin,” added His Grace, “and they who persist in disobedience are unworthy to receive the Sacraments.”
After stating that no Catholic may enter Trinity College without the previous permission of the Ordinary of Diocese, His Grace says that in the diocese it was reserved to the Archbishop to grant permission to attend Trinity College. Permission was given only for grave and valid reasons, and with the addition of definite measures, by which it was sought adequately to safeguard the faith and practice of a Catholic student. The National University of Ireland, with its three constituent colleges, was, by its charter, a neutral educational establishment.
“For that reason, it must still be regarded by Catholics as failing to give due acknowledgment to the One, True Faith. In view, however, of the measures taken by the Ecclesiastical authorities to protect faith and morals, University College Dublin, in our diocese, may be considered to be sufficiently safe for Catholic students.”
After referring to mixed marriages, His Grace say that a dispensation given by the Church was not to be regarded as an approval; it was rather a permission, sorrowfully and grudgingly given. No Catholic coming into the diocese and attempting, by reason of sojourn in the diocese, to qualify for the right to petition the Archbishop for a dispensation to marry a non-Catholic, would be granted a dispensation, except at the express wish and written request of his, or her, bishop.
A threat of contracting a so-called civil marriage – which, for a Catholic, was not a valid marriage at all – unless a dispensation was granted, was an immediate reason for refusing a dispensation.
His Grace warns parents that even though they themselves were not present, they had a grave and constant duty to supervise the amusements of their children. In particular, he referred to the adequate control of the place and the circumstances of dancing.
In a reference to forbidden societies, he said the Church declared that any Catholic who enrolled himself in an association which plots against the Church or against the legitimate civil authority, incurred, by the fact of such enrolment, the penalty of excommunication – reserved to the Holy See.
Having recommended to his flock the work of the Pontifical Work for the Propagation of the Faith, the Association of the Holy Childhood and the Apostolic Work, he said that in the desire to promote the wishes of the Holy Father, a branch of the Association for the Propagation of the Faith had been instituted in every parish in Dublin Diocese. Parish priests would cooperate with the Diocesan Director in promoting the meritorious work of spreading the Gospel in pagan lands. He recommended strongly to parents and heads of schools, the Association of the Holy Childhood, so richly blessed by successive Popes. They earnestly desired to see a branch of this Association established in every school in the Diocese, in order that the children might be trained to enrol themselves, on leaving school, in the parish Association for the Propagation of the Faith.
Since, in present circumstances, he added, young persons could procure and read many evil books, he urged upon parents and teachers the serious obligation of controlling the reading matter of their children.
Wed, Feb 17, 2010
© 2010 The Irish Times