Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 2:
Experts are against you.
That is not true. The conscience of a child or its sense of responsibility, begins to develop from the moment it attains to its first conscious ideas. The basic general intuition that good ought to be done and evil avoided has not to be taught to the child at all, for it is the innate characteristic of every soul. Precisely what is the good to be done, and the evil to be avoided begins to be understood from the moment a child becomes aware that parents approve or disapprove of some of its actions. The apprehension that some actions are right and others wrong may be fairly vague at first, and insufficient for any serious degree of moral guilt. But a diminished sense of responsibility is not a complete lack of responsibility, and it is ridiculous to make the sweeping statement that a child's sense of responsibility "simply does not develop in its childhood."
Such an assertion makes no allowance for degrees of knowledge and corresponding degrees of moral responsibility. Does it follow that, because a child has less apprehension of moral values than a guilty adult, therefore a child has no moral responsibility at all?
That is an example of the folly to which your theories lead in the end.
Comment upon that is scarcely necessary. The "reductio ad absurdum" will be patent to all. When a man's theories arrive at such a conclusion they have refuted themselves. What is conscience? It is the human judgment applied to moral matters. The primary judgment that good ought to be done, and that evil should be avoided is natural to a human being—as natural as the judgment that the mouth is the proper receptacle for food. Moral training does not create conscience, it teaches what is the evil that should be avoided. It makes the difference between a rightly informed conscience, and a wrongly informed conscience. To say that a child's judgment in moral matters should receive no training, and that it should not be taught the nature and the obligation of virtue, is a disgraceful utterance to offer in the name of education. That "the child would not know the difference between right and wrong because he would not do any wrong" is absurd. The most that could be said is that the child, not knowing the difference between right and wrong through lack of moral training, would do wrong without knowing it to be wrong. Do you advocate that as an excellent result to be attained?
Do you think it a pity that innocent children should be left in dismal ignorance of reproductive functions for so many years before nature has fitted them for such capabilities?
To that let an expert in such matters reply. Dr. F. W. Foerster, who was lecturer in Psychology and Ethics at the University of Zurich, and Professor of Education at the University of Vienna, says of himself, "I come from the ranks of those who dispense with all religion." That profession of unbelief will possibly appeal to you. But it is too much to hope that the balance of Professor Foerster's remarks will do so. Here they are: "The foundation of all sound education in sex must consist in distracting the mind from sexual matters, not in directing it towards them. Moral preservation is a question of power far more than of knowledge. Our modern educators are no more than beginners in the great problem of the care of souls and the development of conscience; and they would have done well to have learned in this difficult sphere from the great spiritual and psychological knowledge and pedagogical experience of the Catholic Church, instead of attempting to act on their own ideas and on their own fragmentary knowledge. The more realistically the teacher grasps human nature in his study of the problem of sex, the more he will be constrained to abandon the materialistic standpoint, and to recognize the indispensability of the Christian ethic. The time is only too soon coming when those who are now the victims of folly and blindness will be compelled to realize that there are eternal truths which cannot be set aside with impunity by any would-be wisdom of today. The old idea of loyalty with its immense educational power, one of the pillars of all higher culture and civilization, has become a thing of mockery, and sexual purity is looked upon as unhealthy. All these concessions to the natural man not only tend to undermine character in the sphere of sex, but they help to destroy the authority of spiritual ideals in every other sphere of life." So speaks Dr. Foerster. When some fellow freethinkers condemned him for paying a tribute to Catholic principles, Dr. Foerster replied, "Is it in accordance with the spirit of free inquiry to reject a genuine scientific opinion because it happens to be in agreement with the stand of the Catholic Church?"
Is there no such thing as a proper sense of shame and modesty, that all sense of shame should be entirely eradicated? The virtue of purity or chastity is so important that God Himself has implanted in human nature a particularly strong sense of shyness and delicacy concerning sex matters, and shame in sins against virtue. This sense of decency is one of the strongest preservatives against depravity. But with the loss of religion, modern so-called psychologists and educators are attacking this sense of modesty in every mood and tense. Dr. Richard Cabot, a non-Catholic medical man, has this to say on the subject: "Nowadays it is said that there is nothing improper in itself, and there is no reason why we should not deal with anything in any company. The answer to that is contained in the relationship of our minds to our bodies. It is a general law that if our minds interfere in a province where they do not belong, we get into trouble. For example, we are not meant to be conscious that we have a heart. As physicians go through their work they see a good many sick people who are sick because they have been made conscious that they have a heart. As soon as a person turns the full light of consciousness on the state of his heart he begins to have trouble. The enormous effect ofmany advertisements we see in the papers is to dislocate consciousness. Concentration of attention in itself makes things actually work wrong. We are not meant to think, or speak, or write of everything in heaven or earth, in every company and at every time. A great deal said today contains the silent implication that the virtue of modesty is an outgrown affair, and that we today, in accordance with the revelations of science, have no use for it. As a result of this idea much is said under the name 'frankness' that does not deserve praise."
Sex inclinations are not "drives." Such terms convey a wrong impression, as determinists, of course, wish them to do. Sex inclinations are innate tendencies, if you like, or passions.
Out of what danger? Physical danger? That is denied. Moral danger? That is not admitted. Determinists at best can speak of "the good of society." But what influence upon a child will be exercised by the thought of the "good of society"? That awakens no fears in the individual where the sex problem is concerned. Dr. Cabot, the non-Catholic medical authority whom I have already quoted, writes as follows: "Those who are trying to prosecute the campaign for purity without manifesting at every point the Christian religion are acting to a very considerable extent upon the assumption that the motive of fear is the most important motive of which we can make use. But this is not only ineffective teaching. It does positive harm because it teaches us to believe in a morality of consequences. There is already too much tendency to believe that to be found out is the great sin. Christians have a special duty to insist on the religious view of this matter. Immorality is not primarily a matter of social disorder or inconvenience, nor a matter of personal misfortune or disease, but a rupture of the relation between the soul and God; and ultimately, nothing else." In other words, immorality is sin, and a violation of God's laws. But Christ would lift men's thoughts from the vice to the virtue, inculcating ideals of chastity, and giving the promise, "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God."