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Friday, 21 August 2015

Catholic Taliban

I am very concerned about some Catholic parents, most likely not anyone who reads this blog, who have decided that their home schooled girls do not need academic training or education.

I consider not teaching your girls classical education as child abuse. Western education was created by the Catholic Church through the Benedictines, Dominicans, Franciscans, and many other orders featured on this blog.

The great heritage of liberal arts education was created by the members of these orders, as were the great colleges and universities of Europe. Catholic girls should be educated so that they can attend the great Catholic colleges of our day: Thomas Aquinas, Wyoming Catholic, Christendom and so on.

That Catholic parents choose anti-intellectualism alarms me, as to be a Catholic is to be educated in the glorious disciplines created and fostered by Catholics throughout the history of the Church.

Why would parents not want their girls to learn the classics? Disciplining the mind by studying grammar, music, math, art, literature, history, geography, and, of course, religion, have been part of our Catholic culture for over a millennium.

Do these anti-intellectual Catholics, many of whom are trads and charismatics, (sharing an odd ideal which they have in common), think that God does not intend us to use our intellect?

The intellect must be developed not only for skills, for logic, for rational discourse, but for prayer. The worse sins happen in the intellect, and all Catholics must learn to fight these sins in that part of our being.

Intellectual purity does not mean the absence of intellectual studies, on the contrary. Purity of the intellect does not mean emptiness, but a working with knowledge in grace, in appropriate studies, in the virtue of studiosity. In fact, this virtue cannot be ignored without sinning.

Recall my series on the Maritains, intelligence and prayer; recall my many posts on classical education. Follow the tags.

Virtue training involves the mind, not merely the hands. Virtue training comes with developing one's intellectual gifts, which we all have at various levels as God has given us, of intellectual abilities.

To ignore the disciplines of learning to is actually interfere not only with God's plans for one's life, but essential for coming to know God.

Few saints had infused knowledge. Most learned about God through the hard study and meditation, first of Scripture, and then of reading and studying the Doctors of the Church, and the writings and sermons of the great saints.

To deny children, especially high school age girls of the beauties of knowledge is, simply, child abuse. Some parents think that these girls or young women who only know how to sew, cook, take care of children will be good wives. Absolutely not. The Catholic husband needs a help-mate even in the area of intellectual discussion.

We do not need ignorant girls and ignorant women. We need savvy women, who can teach their children all the subjects in home schools. Of course, the skills of cooking, sewing and so forth can also be accomplished. All these skills can be learned well easily. Getting a higher degree does not mean one does not know how to cook or sew or can tomatoes. Many of us did all these things, and more. We made candles, soap, went back to the basics in household duties, and still managed to learn various academic subjects.

We learned how to properly entertain for visitors, and we learned womanly manners. We also learned that to be a woman meant learning our heritage, culture, faith.

Look at the writings of the great Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena.

We have in the Church, these women,  who are Doctors of the Church, not because they could cook and sew, but because they could pray, write, advise people, even popes. They knew the Scriptures, and much theology, as well a music.

To ignore the glories of our own culture, the Catholic culture, amounts to choosing anti-intellectualism and becoming a Catholic Taliban. Ignoring the intellect of young women does not prepare them for sainthood, but for stunted growth, and possibly, rebellion.