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Some Texts
of Fr. Calmel About Education

Various Disciplines Must be Integrated

"The Catholic school does not consist in a class of Catholic Doctrine, with an English class added on, plus a class of mathematics, all topped with a history class and some physical education, the whole thing interspersed with languages and natural sciences. The Catholic school does not consist in the presentation of subjects side by side, but in the presentation of the same, entire, beautiful and coherent truth, which is the constant nourishment of the teachers, and which they communicate to the children with serene enthusiasm, through the diverse disciplines, who different requirements are yet respected."

"At school, what forms children the most is contact with the beautiful works (and in the older classes contact with philosophical and theological doctrines). These works express man in the use of his liberty, and not in his knowledge of sensible nature. Consequently, the frequentation of authors, sacred or profane, ancient and modern, is of first importance. In this frequentation of authors we must be enlightened by the Faith and armed with Christian philosophy. And natural sciences are not excluded, but put in second place."

The Goal of Education Must be the Acquisition of Wisdom

"It is obvious that men and women whose minds are dominated by numbers, natural sciences and technology, are not truly civilized. They are ignorant of the main part of what we are meant to know, that is, our nature and the Lord God. They are in danger of becoming technical or scientific robots. Without changing, they cannot help to construct a human and Christian civilization. And so, whatever be the type of curricula, the dominating subject will never be scientific or technological. What will determine the orientation and the spirit of the school, what will put each subject in its place, will be Christian wisdom."

"The natural sciences by themselves pose only chemical and biological questions. By themselves, they do not pose the supreme questions of liberty, society, love, sin, grace, these vital questions that any literary work of value poses. We want our children to use their minds, their heads, that is, we want them to have knowledge about the world and about life, to recognize good from evil, true good and true evil, the noble and the vile. And this they will learn by frequenting great authors, who knew what there is in man. The human must prevail over the material. Literature must prevail over the natural sciences."

There Must be a Hierarchy in the Subjects Taught

"We must take a stand, we must choose a course of action: which one? The one in which not all subjects are put on the same level; in which their unequal dignity is recognized and respected; in which the childís interest is not overly captivated by the less important subjects. In practice, that means we emphasize the study of authors. But authors, it is said, form aesthetes affected fanatics of beauty, critical and sterile minds, unrealistic erudites. No: because we teach them in a climate of theology and spirituality, having ourselves a Christian experience of man, enlightened by healthy doctrine; because we teach authors in the context of the present era, remaining open to the principles of modern science and technology. But the sciences are taught by teachers who judge them in relation to manís true good an indispensable point of view."

"We take a stand for Thomistic philosophy, and before the senior year, a stand for English literature, as well as modern and ancient languages, the languages being studied for their culture more than for their usefulness."

Latin Must Have a Place in the Curriculum

"Our humanization is not accomplished only horizontally, through the knowledge of contemporary cultures and the study of modern languages. Our humanization is accomplished also in depth, by being rooted in our tradition. We shall not be cultivated if we remain ignorant of our fathers. The authors of the past attract us in that their works bear a message that is still and always valid and worthwhile. They are authors of the eternal, and so, in a certain way, authors of the present."

"It is not a question of short-sighted utilitarianism, of short-sighted practical usefulness. It is a question of humanization in the best meaning of the word."

The Study of History Must Form the Judgment

"The cities of the world, the homelands and civilizations, are never neutral. Whether they like it or not, they are under the influence of the City of God, or of the City of Satan. Of the City of God as Jesus made it forever, holy, immaculate, invincible, destined to be configured to Him by the Cross and by love, destined to carry the Cross as long as her pilgrimage lasts, but also assured of the infallible victory by the Cross; or of the City of Satan, her implacable enemy, with its false doctrines and its great prestige, which has set itself against the City of God, but whose attempts always end in failures."

Natural Science Must Lead Children to Wonder at the Divine Order

"Through very attentive observation of nature and life, we shall not be so interested in scientific laws as in teaching the children to admire the work of the Creator, and to learn to use it intelligently and religiously."

"Science as such is limited to what can be found out sensibly, with the senses. As such, science does not know that beings are creatures. Science textbooks do not know either that beings are creatures. But the teacher is not substantialized science; he is a man knowing deeper questions than scientific ones. He knows that beings are creatures, through his philosophic reason and his supernatural Faith. Science cannot give truths, but it cannot contradict them either, because it cannot positively demonstrate the contrary of what is true. Science has only to accept these certainties."