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TRAJEDIES OF SCHOOL LIFE Much of the growing indifference to religion is due to the custom, now unfortunately so prevalent, of taking children away from school before they have mastered even the rudimentary truth of the Catechism. Both their religion and secular education are then cut short at a period in their lives, which their youthful and plastic minds are best fitted to receive what is most necessary for them to know. The parent who deprives his child of that amount of primary education which should at least be the portion of every intelligent human being in this age of schools and knowledge, is guilty of a grievous wrong. We cannot reiterate this fact too strongly – a grievous wrong; a wrong against his child whom he deprives of an invaluable aid to success in life and condemns to perpetual drudgery; a wrong against society which has the right to expect of its members intelligence educated in some appreciable degree. There should be some way of inflicting punishment on such a parent. This wrong is deep and black enough in all truth, yet there is a deeper and a blacker wrong, of which the same careless or mercenary parent is guilty in cutting short the period is guilty in cutting short the period of school life of a child. With the relinquishment of its opportunities to acquire necessary secular knowledge goes also the loss of opportunity to acquire that still more needful knowledge of the other and higher life. Children here scarcely memorized the great truths of the Catechism, telling them this life is only for a while and that we must live especially for another and better one, when their whole minds and all the energies of their undeveloped bodies are set to work so intently to acquire the things of this life that nothing else can be thought of, or talked of. Some religion remains for a time, of perhaps it is always a Sunday affair; but whatever be the case, it is always secondary and subordinated to the great work of making a living. We have known instances in this city of St. John where well-to-to parents were so eager to have their sons earning at an early age that the boys could not find time to be confirmed. Another evil consequence of a short school-life is that it contributes to that sadly great number of Catholics who made only a mechanical practice of their religion. They attend Mass, not understanding the ceremonies, having no knowledge of the meaning of the vestments, hardly able to connect the prayers they read in their little manuels with the corresponding part of the Mass. They never better this indifferent and meager knowledge of their religion, because they have no taste for reading. The daily paper is their only mental food, and its loose and sensational statements about Catholic affairs they take as true, because in many cases, their training has not even given them that sense which oftentimes enables one to discover error when the reasons for such judgment cannot be given, – and the truth may not be known. Catholic parents ought to allow their children all the time at school that can possibly be given them. With men out of work everywhere there is no real need of so many boys and girls at work in the stores and factories. Religion would meet with fewer obstacles and labor troubles would be much more easily settled if more of our children were in the school-room.