December 30, 2005

Speaking of Catholic Education...

Some excerpts from the Thomas Woods' book about Catholic intellectuals and the Progressive Era:

Aware of both the enormity of the task and of the opposition they had faced, American Catholics took considerable pride in the educational system they had erected...Paul Blakely called the Catholic school "the most splendid monument ever reared by any people to testify to their belief in God, and their unswerving devotion to His Son."

A striking proof, according to Edward Pace, that there could be nothing inherently radical or undesirable about integrating sound modern pyschological principles into Catholic education was that the Church's liturgy itself, which served a didactic as well as devotional purpose, had from the beginning employed these very principles. Each item of the Mass, Pace explained, "conveys a lesson through eye and ear" to the highest reaches of the soul. "Sense, memory, imagination, and feeling are thus aroused, not simply as aesthetic activities, but as a support of intellect and will, which thereupon issue in adoration and thanksgiving for the 'mystery of faith'"...The findings of modern psychology related to the use of imagery and sensory activities were vindicating the Church's approach. "Sensory perception, image, pleasurable feeling and idea must all grow into unity, and this must form, not a package of knowledge that the mind lays by for future use, but a living element in the living mind, a part of the mental tissue."

"The Church, in her teaching, reaches the whole man: his intellect, his will, his emotions, his senses, his imagination, his aesthetic sensibilities, his memory, his muscles, and his powers of expression. She neglects nothing in him: she lifts up his whole being and strengthens and cultivates all his faculties in their interdependence."

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