THE PRECEPTORS’ ASSOCIATION.
To the Editor of the Advertiser.
Sir I would crave the indulgence of your valuable journal to reply to a Mr.King, of the Preceptors Association, who made some allusions to my name in reference to a meeting held at Mintaro, October 5, at which meeting I stated that the educational system in Ireland was fast becoming defunct. Mr. King says he cannot understand the meaning of this term as, used by me. As our learned preceptor cannot understand how such a calamity could befall Ireland, I will tell him that the archbishops and clergy throughout the length and breadth of Ireland held meetings, and unanimously condemned the mixed system of education, as being dangerous to the faith and morals of Catholic children. If this Mr. King had seen or read the Telegraph, Freeman’s Journal, or Nation, for the last nine months, he would be more enlightened than what he pretends to be on the subject, and I would presume to say he is well aware of the retrograde state of the National Schools in Ireland, so far as the Catholics are concerned.
Yes, at the warning voice of their Bishops, who are to give an account of their souls, the poor persecuted Irish have taken the alternative of knowing nothing rather than knowing evil. Mr. King says he did not wish to make use of any language insulting to his fellow-colonists. Immediately he gives the insult, he says, “He thought the Irish Catholics knew well when they came here that this colony was eminently a Protestant country, and when they arrived they should expect to subject themselves to Protestant laws.” Now, that this is eminently a Protestant country, as Mr. King would have it, I will again enlighten him by telling him that this is a free country, to all adventurers without distinction, to all creeds and classes who settle down here, and without any dominant Church. Again, Mr. King betrays his prejudice and bigotry, in advising Catholics to subject their creed and conscience to Protestant laws in matters of religion. We appeal to the colony to show in what instance have not the Catholics shown themselves obedient, and respectful to the laws of the country. Mr. King cannot understand how the denominational system could be carried out here. I will enlighten Mr. King’ on this point also. As he is so fond of papers and statistics, let him look over the histories and statistics of the Continent; he will then see how Catholic Sovereigns provide for their Protestant subjects, without tampering with their faith or conscience, or without raising such a conservative grumble as has been raised here against Catholics for asking their portion of the educational grant, which, in justice they are entitled to. With respect to the Bible being excluded from schools as a class book, I am sure our Bishop cares not how much all denominations may feast on the Bible, but it must not be a Bible with seven hundred errors. This Catholics conscientiously object to.
It is said that Catholics are prohibited from reading the Scriptures. Now what the Church disapproves is the indiscriminate use of the sacred text without explanation by those who are not sufficiently instructed to understand it properly, and this precaution the Church learned from the Scripture itself. I ask Mr. King if the Bible is so clear in every text that every cobbler may read and expound it How is he to reconcile those contradictions? For instance, Bishop Short reads the Bible, and he finds divinely instituted bishops in it the Rev. Mr. Gardner reads it; he finds no bishop in it; Rev. Mr. Woods, Unitarian minister, finds even no Trinity in it. The Word of God cannot contradict itself, and yet the religious system of each contradicts that of his neighbor. The Catholic Church, with those countless millions of her children that constituted her body, has been reading the Bible and studying it these nineteen hundred years, and never yet with all her learning could find two opposite meanings to one single text never once contradicted herself. Such unanimity has preserved the Church of God and will for ever.
I am, Sir, &c.,
Mount Carmel, November 7, 1860.