“A ‘Godless’ School” American Sentinel 3, 1, pp. 2, 3.

January 1888

THE following ringing sentences are from the New York Observer, and although Father McTighe is said to have abandoned his attempt, at least for the present, this is a sound opinion upon the merits of the case:—

“Pittsburg presents the climax of Roman Catholic arrogance in destroying or capturing our public schools. Father McTighe, of St. Michael’s Church, has actually succeeded in having himself appointed principal of the Thirty-third Ward public school in that city. This is the very consummation of unprincipled audacity. Having denounced the schools officially everywhere as ‘immoral and godless,’ a priest, sanctioned by his superiors, takes possession and pretends to administer an ‘immoral, godless’ school. Either he intends secretly to make it Romanist, or else he attempts to do precisely what Protestants wish, and therefore stultifies himself and his church as haters of our public schools. It is believed that he intends to keep what he and his church call a ‘godless’ school during the regular school hours, and then retain all those who will stay, for the purpose of giving them religious teaching in other hours. It is said that the nuns are to be employed as teachers. Such an illustration as this of the purpose and spirit of Romanists ought to rouse the nation. They ought to be taught a lesson now which will need no repetition. Our people will not tolerate this trifling with the very first principles of our polity, namely, that the State shall not in any way whatever engage in sectarian education, sectarian benevolence, or sectarian enterprises of any kind whatever. It is a disgrace to the civilization of any neighborhood, when it permits, for the sake of conciliating the enemies of the public schools, these gross violations of both the letter and spirit of our laws.”

But if this “be the very consummation of unprincipled audacity,” what shall be thought and said of the National Reform Association, which proposes to give the Catholic Church authority by law to do this same thing, or worse, in all places in the United States where the Catholics are in the majority? If this action of a single priest in Pittsburg ought to rouse the Nation, what ought the action of Herrick Johnson, Joseph Cook, and nearly a hundred other Protestant (?) preachers, under the lead of Secretary T. P. Stevenson, of the National Reform Association, in Saratoga last August, to do? That action was to adopt a motion requesting the National Reform Association to bring to the attention of “Roman Catholic authorities” a scheme of religious exercises, worship, and instruction, in the public schools throughout the Nation, “with a view of securing, if possible, a basis of agreement” between Catholics and Protestants, whereby the Catholic Bible, Catholic worship, and Catholic instruction, shall be established in the public schools, wherever the Catholics may be in the majority, provided the Catholics will help these Protestants to secure a like power for themselves wherever the Protestants may be in the majority.

In the Thirty-third Ward in Pittsburg the Catholics are in the majority; Father McTighe became principal, and his nuns teachers in the public school of that ward; had they remained they would have used the Catholic Bible, would have conducted Catholic [3] worship, and would have given Catholic instruction in that school; that is precisely what the Saratoga National Reform meeting decided by vote to secure if possible throughout the Nation; this action of the Saratoga meeting was taken expressly to “satisfy the Roman Catholics” and to “conciliate them to our school system.” By the action of the Pittsburg School Board Father McTighe, a “Roman Catholic authority,” is satisfied and conciliated with the school system in that city; Father McTighe was doing in Pittsburg exactly what the Saratoga meeting decided to get, if possible, the Roman Catholic authorities to agree to do throughout the Nation; therefore, as this case “is a disgrace to the civilization” of the neighborhood of Pittsburg, the action of the National Reform Association is a disgrace to the civilization of the Nation and of the age.

The National Reform Association “ought to be taught a lesson now which will need no repetition.” But, alas! “our people” do “tolerate,” and without a word or murmur of protest, “this trifling with the very first principles of our polity,” and” these gross violations of both the letter and spirit” of our American institutions. “How long, O Lord, how long?”

A. T. J.

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