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he does not preach about politics, talk about it on the streets or in the homes of his people, or bring it up in the confessional.

To do so would simply weaken lis influence on the people for good, and they would in fact be scandalized at a priest's devoting much time even to talking about it, and still more if he should be a political worker. Of course there are such cases, and the Catholic people do not admire them.

And if Protestants would inquire a little, they would also find that priests who do take interest in politics are on both sides, both Democrat and Republican; that they sometimes get into quite animated discussion among themselves about political matters; and that the same is the case with the Catholic people. The priests may have political opinions, of course, like any other American citizens, but they cannot force them on the people for the very simple reason that they disagree with each other, and cannot speak in the name of the Church about these matters because the Church does not tell them what to say.

But in connection with this general subject there is one special point deserving of a more extended discussion; one which has excited a good deal of interest, and never more than at present, in the minds of Americans; and that is the position the Catholiç Church takes with

regard to education, which seems to many Protestants unpatriotic (if they do not call it by some worse name) and full of danger for the future of the country.

As this matter comes right in our line at present, I will devote a chapter to it, though it has no very direct relation to the substance of the profession of faith which we are occupied in considering.

CHAPTER XIV.

CATHOLIC EDUCATION.

AS

S we enter on this subject, I shall first

endeavor to dislodge from your minds a strange idea which seems to have settled quite firmly in those of many American Protestants; that is, that the main point Catholics are anxious about in educational matters is the driving of the Bible out of the schools. Our Protestant friends start with the assumption that we detest the Bible, and do not want our people to read it or even hear of it. They believe that Martin Luther dragged it from the obscurity to which it had been consigned for centuries, and that one of the principal efforts of the Church has been ever since then to get it back, at least as far as Catholics are concerned, into that obscurity.

In fact, the effort of the Church has always been the other way; that is, to induce her children to read the Bible. It was, of course, rather difficult to do much at this before the invention of printing; Bibles, though commoner than other books, were rare enough, necessarily. But when printing was invented Bibles were immediately printed, and Catholics were encouraged to read them.

It is strange how hard it is to get solid, hard, historical facts into the heads of those whose previous ideas do not fit in with them, and how the most absurd legends are accepted in their place. As to the facts, I quote from Dr. Maitland's Dark Ages the following, which may be inore convincing, as the author was a distinguished Protestant clergyman, librarian to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He says: "To say nothing of parts of the Bible, or of books whose place is uncertain, we know of at least twenty different editions of the whole Latin Bible printed in Germany only before Luther

born." Again, Seckendorf, the biographer and admirer of Luther, confesses in his Commentaries on Lutheranism that three distinct editions of the Bible translated into German were published at Wittenberg in 1470, 1483, and 1490. Now Luther was born in 1483. In all, about seventy editions of the Bible, translated into the

was

vernacular tongues of Europe, were published before Luther had got out one copy of his German Bible.

The Bible that Luther found, and which it is supposed was such a great discovery, was a Latin one; it will be seen from what has just been said what nonsense it is to suppose that he found it by a rare chance, and rescued it from obscurity. And yet he had the audacity to say, in his Table Talk, that he was twenty years old before he saw the Scriptures. This, no doubt, may impose and has imposed on many; but to those in possession of the facts it must be evident either that he was singularly ignorant or indifferent in his early life about the Holy Scriptures, or that when he made the above statement he was simply telling a lie.

I said above that the desire and effort of the Church is, and always has been, that Catholics should read the Bible. But she desires that they should read it reverently, not twisting it to support their own fancies, but understanding its more difficult passages as they have been understood by learned and enlightened Christian commentators. Catholics, however, have never been so anxious to read it as the Church has been that they should do so; and indeed the reason is not far to seek. For they know that no passage of the Bible is contrary to their faith, or can teach them anything

absolutely new or startling in the matter of religion, when it is rightly understood; so it becomes to them a book of what we call spiritual reading, very excellent no doubt, but in most of its parts differing principally from other spiritual books (of which we have, by the way, probably a hundred to every one possessed by Protestants) in its being absolutely authoritative and inspired, whereas the others are only practically sure to be free from error. In other spiritual books the truths of the Bible are presented more fully and in a more modern and familiar style, so that we can hardly wonder that they are, as a rule, preferred; and that though good Catholic families generally have a Bible, it is more venerated than read. But none have any principle against reading the Bible; and all know that their pastors would like them to read it.

But why then, you will ask, did they, and the priests too, object to reading the Bible in the schools? This is not a difficult question to answer. One reason was that the Bible used was the Protestant Bible, to which we have objections on account of its not being an authorized, or in all respects a correct translation, and also on account of its leaving out a number of books which we consider as the word of God. Also we object to the Bible, a book confessedly hard in many places to understand, being read

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