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best be justified by each priest's doing his own allotted share of the work as effectively as he possibly can.

To come to the nature of that work, and to speak first of the pastor who belongs to what we have called the happiest of the three categories into which, for the purposes of this essay, all American priests may be divided,—the one whose parish school is attended by all his children. It goes without saying, of course, that such a pastor here and there may object to our characterization of his lot, may deem that lot anything but an enviable one. We can readily fancy hearing him (as a matter of fact, we remember hearing him) exclaim: "Happy! My dear fellow, if you had the job of looking after my school for six months, and knew from experience ever so little about the endless worry connected with finances, with teachers and pupils and parents, with the upkeep of the building and its furniture, etc., you'd be apt to call yourself, not happy, but miserable." That, however, is most probably merely the expression of a passing mood. At heart he is, and has every right to be, thoroughly well satisfied that his parish church has its normal complement, the parish school; and his satisfaction is doubtless all the sweeter if the establishment of the school has entailed some such personal sacrifice as the giving up of his commodious rectory to the Sisters for their residence, while he temporarily betakes himself to less comfortable quarters. And if he is, as we suppose him, fortunate enough to know that none of his young people are attending the public

school but are all daily under his hand and eye, he can hardly compare his lot with that of his brother priest not all of whose children frequent his own class-rooms, still less with that of the school-less pastor none of whose little ones enjoy Catholic training, without thanking God heartily for very evident mercies.

That these mercies are tempered with not a few trials and annoyances we have no intention of denying. A parish school, even be it ever so well organized, is a charge, and no light one, on any father of souls. It involves care and thought and the expenditure of considerable time, even when the financial conditions of the parish give no cause (as they frequently give all too much cause) for anxiety and worry. Just how much of his time a pastor should give to his school is a question that admits of a good deal of permissible, if not always profitable, discussion. In a free country and about debatable matters, every man is of course entitled to his own opinion; and as to this particular matter the present writer has in his time heard and read opinions diametrically opposed to each other, as far apart as light from darkness or North from South. Some pastors go so far as to maintain that the priest should steer clear of his school altogether, consigning all that pertains to its activities to the Brothers, Sisters, or lay teachers who have been engaged to conduct it; while at the other extreme, are disputants fully as dogmatic in asserting that the pastor should not only be familiar with all the details of his school's active life, but should himself be the prime mover in

directing those details. It is a case in which Ovid's medio tutissimus ibis seems clearly applicable. The golden mean lies between absolute non-interference and perfervid officiousness. As against the position of those who hold that sole and exclusive charge should be left to the Brothers or Sisters, we have the directions of the third Plenary Council of Baltimore to the effect that the pastor shall not only organize a parish school, but shall familiarize himself with the principles and methods of education in order properly to discharge his duties in connection therewith. And an adequate reply to those who would have the pastor become the school's be-all and do-all would seem to be that his other pastoral duties do not permit such engrossing of his time.

Few will be inclined to oppose the contention that the school which is being conducted by lay teachers needs, and should get, more of the pastor's supervision and co-operation than the one whose teachers are religious, Brothers or Sisters. While these latter are not always perhaps so thoroughly competent as is desirable in the whole range of scholastic and pedagogical requirements, the presumption is decidedly in their favor; and as regards the really essential point, the distinctive attribute that differéntiates and sets off the parish from the public school - the Catholic atmosphere-the Brothers and Sisters are clearly the ideal teachers. If there be any justification for the pastor who visits his school rarely if at all, it is perhaps to be found in the fact that his children are under the control of devoted

religious. Yet the justification is not adequate. The utmost devotedness and competency on the part of his teachers cannot relieve him of his responsibility as spiritual father of the little ones of his flock. In the matter of religious instruction especially, the specific catechism lessons, it is advisable, if not imperative, for him to take a personal interest in the matter-to do some of the teaching himself. At least once a week, if not more frequently, he should supplement the teachers' explanations and the usual question and answer routine by a familiar exposition of the doctrine or doctrines that are being studied. Such personal instruction is a fortiori necessary if his school is conducted by lay teachers. In this latter case, indeed, he can hardly be said to be fulfilling his whole duty to his children unless he visits the school several times a week, if not daily, even should his visit mean simply a few brief moments spent in each of the class-rooms.

As for the pastor's personal intervention in purely pedagogical matters concerning the secular branches, much will depend of course on his own equipment in pedagogical knowledge and his competency to select the best of the different methods advocated by various educationists. If, as is probably the case with the average pastor, his knowledge of pedagogy is somewhat superficial rather than really profound, it will be the part of prudence for him to adopt a suggestive instead of an authoritative attitude in discussing the processes by which his teachers seek to achieve the desired results in directing "the young idea how to shoot."

Notwithstanding the so-called progressiveness of this country in most matters, and not least in matters educational, a judicious parish priest may well advise conservative rather than strictly up-todate pedagogical methods. Fashions in teaching vary almost as much and as often as fashions in dress; and for both kinds Pope's rule is still a good

one:

Be not the first by whom the new is tried,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.

As a case in point, it is altogether doubtful that the oldtime method of teaching orthography, by means of the spelling-book and "dictation," has been improved upon by any of the substitute or makeshift processes of recent years. The "look" of an English word as written or printed, not the sound of it as uttered by the voice, is what the boy or girl needs to retain in the memory.

Just here the writer may be permitted to pay a well-deserved tribute to the effectiveness of the instruction given in the average American parish school. It is part of my daily work to examine a considerable number of newspapers, religious and secular, published throughout the United States; and if there is one fact about education that is being continually forced upon my attention by one and all of these papers, it is that our Catholic schools, primary and secondary, are the most thorough in their methods, and the most efficient in securing worth-while concrete results, of all the educational institutions in the country. Hardly a week goes by in which I do not read of prize con

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