Page images




[ocr errors]

ISHOP Thomas F. Gailor, of Ten- ones has lost every semblance of sacred

nessee, recently delivered some re- To bring children up in such an markable utterances in a Sunday news- atmosphere and with so degrading an paper article on the subject of the remar- environment is to rob them of all sense riage of divorced people, which should of the sacredness of marriage or the beauty not remain unchallenged. Bishop Gail- of an ideal home life. or's views are shared by a large and in- The good but sadly mistaken people fluential body of ecclesiastics and are who allow ecclesiastical training and therefore worthy of serious consideration. dogma to shape their utterances, if not Moreover, the question which he raises their thoughts, on this question, are helpis an important one and bears directly on ing to perpetuate this very condition. the social status of many men and women, They are urging and imploring unhappy who, after having passed through the people to live together as man and wife fires of a deep experience, have found the even though that association be abhorpeace, the joy and inward satisfaction rent and distinctly immoral in its effects which right living and the consciousness upon both themselves and their children. of a true and consistent relation to their Bishop Gailor, go with me to the home God, to the world and to society, bring of a refined and sensitive woman whom Their children dwell in an atmosphere of I know. She is the very essence of virtue love and devotion rather than hatred and and goodness. When a mere child of contention. The little ones daily hear eighteen she married a man whom she words of tenderness and affection instead loved and trusted with all the wealth of a of vexation and bitterness.

first love. He was her knight-errant, And yet, Bishop Gailor says: “Hun- her king, yet an hour after their wedding dreds of little children who are to be citi- he confessed to her a life of lewdness, zens and voters in Tennessee, are every extending to the very night before their year condemned to the homelessness and marriage, which was appalling. The the immoral environment of a life where respect which she had for him fled at that the father or mother is living with a new moment, but she remained a true wife in partner while the first wife or husband spite of her breaking heart. In a few is still living.”

years the brutality of her husband beIs it possible that the people of Ten- came unbearable and she “left his bed nessee are the creatures which this asser- and board” never to return. In due tion would lead us to infer? Children time this man procured a divorce on the "condemned to homelessness and im- ground of desertion, and a year later the moral environment” forsooth! Not a divorced woman became the wife of a word about the immoral environment widower with several children. He is a which indeed exists in a home where good man, a devoted father and husband, mutual love and respect have flown or while the children simply idolize their never existed, except in some misshapen step-mother. Go to their home and you or mistaken form. Not one sentence will find it radiant with joy and loving from the Bishop regarding the utter tenderness, all that makes home a “fore“homelessness of a home where chil- taste of heaven.” Is there any “immoral dren must listen to language and observe environment” there ? And yet, this is conduct on the part of their parents which typical of hundreds upon hundreds of proves all too well that home to the older homes and no doubt they exist in Ten

nessee) where the husband or wife has the soul cries out in agony of despair, been divorced from a former companion. and the bondage robs life of all its sun

The ideal marriage is the one which is shine. dissolved only by death, and where mu- The laws of the Roman Catholic tual love and tenderness exist to such an Church relative to divorce and remarriage extent that no other agency can cause a are well known, but the recent action of separation. But such marriages are only the Right Rev. Bishop Richard Scannell, too rare and their number is likely to of the Nebraska Diocese, in excommudecrease in proportion to the efforts of nicating a number of prominent and influential people like the Tennessee wealthy members of his church for atBishop, who apparently see nothing tending the wedding of Congressman wrong in a marriage if it be a first union, Kennedy and Miss Pritchett seems to or no former partner of either party is demonstrate that the Roman Catholic living

Church is not growing less intolerant on Bishop Gailor has not a word in his this subject. Mr. Kennedy is a divorced article against the crying evil of youthful man. He is a Presbyterian and his and reckless marriage which is so preva- present wife is an Episcopalian. Bishop lent everywhere and which usually leads Scannell declared that the members of to divorce. Legislators fear to handle his church who participated in the wedthis evil and there is no organized moral ding ceremony and those who attended force to impel the lawmakers to act or to the reception which followed, are alike uphold preventive laws after they are culpable and have excommunicated on the statute books. Much can be done themselves by their action. He further by systematic educational work, by teach- stated that the attendance upon this ing the young the sacredness of marriage wedding was an act of sin on the part of in its highest sense and the wisdom of his parishioners and that any attempt choosing wisely, waiting in patience until to justify it on the ground of modern such time in life when blind and un- usage could not stand, because the law reasoning impulse, combined with selfish- of morals never becomes antiquated and ness, will give way to nobler feelings and that “the divine prohibition to put asunmore sublime intent.

der those whom God has joined together Bishop Gailor says: “Christianity de- is as binding to-day as it was twenty clares that marriage is not a contract but centuries ago." a state of life, the most intimate, the most In commenting on this action by Bishop sacred into which men and women may Scannell, the Catholic Columbian Record, enter, and only the most complete and vile of Indianapolis, said: dishonor can disrupt or cancel it.” It is this interpretation of Christian teaching "Well done, thou angel of the church that sometimes drives mismated people in Nebraska! It is time that our rich to crime in order to loosen their galling were taught that they have no more rights bonds. We may well pause and ask: Is in religion than the poor. It is time that this the doctrine that Christ taught ? we lived apart from the world and its

It is not an act of dishonor to withdraw way, a holy people, fearing the Lord and from any degrading association; not observing His commandments. It is discredit to separate from that which time that we gave public and solemn crushes hope, stifles ambition and de- testimony of our horror for the sacrilege stroys the highest aspirations; not de- of divorce!” basement to be divorced, if that condition means a purer life, renewed hope and And so the innocent Roman Catholics greater helpfulness. It is dishonor to who attended the Kennedy-Prichett wedremain in a state of marriage wherein ding have excommunicated themselves! Henceforth they may have no part in the bodies meet and declare that the Chriscommunion of the saints; they may not tian law admits only one possible cause approach the sacraments and their souls for divorce. The weakness of this stateare dead. If they were to expire as they ment is apparent by its constant reiteraare, unrepentant and unshriven, Christian tion. Comparatively few of the laity burial would be denied them!”

believe it. If only perfect people existed It is difficult to believe that this ex- such a law would not be thought of, and position of the workings of the law of as humanity at present is made up of excommunication will add to popular those who err, and whose judgment is respect for the Roman Catholic Church fallible, many matrimonial mistakes are -a church which has accomplished a certain to occur.

Shall these unfortugreat amount of good, yet which denies nate people be compelled to resort to the freedom of individual judgment and the “one possible cause” in order that they guidance of an enlightened conscience may become free when they finally deif these conflict in any degree with her termine that life together is impossible ? immutable laws. The claim that it was Or shall they be obliged to separate and

an act of sin ” to attend the wedding of live a life of self-denial, deprived of the Congressman Kennedy and that the “law blessings of home and love and remain of morals” was violated thereby will meet the constant objects of suspicion and diswith scant approval on the part of thinking trust ? members of the Roman Catholic faith. There

are many

who cannot see Divine That marriage is not so much a con- Mercy in this. An all-wise Father tract as it is a state of life, is sound Chris- judges our lives by the manner in which tian doctrine, for the ceremony, the legal they are lived. He interprets our ideals records, the publicity and the seal of the and measures our aspirations. He deals church, together with the vows of the in realities. “God is not mocked.” contracting parties are as nothing in the The most beloved life is the one which scales against the tiny God of Love-a is happy and makes others happy; the love so constant, so self-sacrificing and most useful life is the one devoted to true that right living must be the result. helpfulness, teaching others how to help Such love exists in stronger degree, in themselves; the noblest life is possessed greater measure, in one who has been un- by one devoid of selfishness, whose infortunate in a past relation and has found fluence goes out daily for cleaner living, at last the blessed contentment for which purer homes and a better race. his heart longed.

HENRY F. HARRIS. And yet representatives of religious Indianapolis, Ind.



NE OF the striking developments and colored races apart in schools, in

of very recent years is the recru- travel and in other matters. An interdescence of the prejudice against people esting phase in this development is preof African descent, as expressed in offi- sented in New Jersey, where a way seems cial action. In some states this revival to have been found of satisfying the apof color antipathy is manifested by stat- parently growing repugnance to contact utes avowedly intended to keep the white with colored people on terms of legal

equality, while at the same time keeping when a colored minister, Rev.J.H. Pierce, on the statute-book a law so sweeping in made application to the trustees of the its insistment on absolute equality that public schools of the city for the admisit can be shown to the most zealous op- sion of his four children of school-age to ponent of race distinction as proof that the public-school nearest his residence. perfect justice between the white and This application was denied, but the colored races is the cherished policy of school authorities offered to place the the state. It would appear from the case children in the colored school, then conwhose history is here given that New ducted by an admittedly competent teachJersey has, in the matter of its schools, er. Mr. Pierce insisted on his right, unevolved a system of theoretical admission der the provision of the then school-lawof colored children to white schools by substantially the same as above quotedterms of legislation and simultaneously to the admission of his children, under of actual exclusion by method of admin- terms of equality with the children of istration. Such an achievement can other citizens, into the public-school hardly fail to be of general interest, since nearest his residence, and secured counsel it may well invite emulation in other to present hs claims to the Supreme Court states,

of the state on an application for a writ of The case has its more serious aspect mandamus, compelling the school auin that it is another instance of which thorities to receive his children as dewe have had so many of late-of disregard manded by him. The matter was subin high places of obligation to observe the mitted to the court and argued on an law, a sort of official and high social an- agreed state of facts, and the court dearchy which cannot but tend to breed cided that the relator "was entitled to contempt for law among the humbler have his children educated in the publicclasses.

school nearest his residence, unless there The present school-law of the state was some just reason for sending them provides that “no child between the age elsewhere.” The court proceeded further of four and twenty years shall be excluded to state that the children, being excluded from any public-school on account of his because their father was a mulatto, that or her religion, nationality or color,” and ground of exclusion was not, under the provides penalties for violation of this statute, permissible. provision. This clause is a reënactment This decision, then, settled the question of a similar provision adopted many whether the school authorities could, years ago and which gave expression to under the law as it then was and as it now the then existing sentiment in favor of exists, exclude from a public-school any equality before the law.”

child because of color, even where a sepThe concrete case which reveals the arate colored school, reasonably easy of system by which all “mixed” schools may access, is maintained as part of the pubbe converted into "white" schools by lic-school system. Accordingly, from exclusion of colored pupils is furnished that time until January 4, 1904, colored by the city of Burlington. That city has children were admitted to the "white" six public-school buildings, three of which public-schools of the city of Burlington, are of the grammar grade, one of the latter although nearly all the colored schoolwith high-school grades. One of the children attended the colored school, combined primary and grammar-grade which was conducted by colored teachers. schools is the William R. Allen School, The school authorities of Burlington, which is used exclusively for colored *Ground for this school was donated by the man children.*

whose name it bears that there might be in BurlingThis colored school-building was in

ton a school for the education of colored youth.

The school now is part of the public-school system. existence and maintained as now in 1883, † 46 N. J. Law Rep., 76.


however, evidently determined upon the for the succeeding three years. There policy of separating the races in the pub- was no grade in the colored school correlic-schools, in spite of the law as thus con- sponding to the grade of the older child. strued. At the close of the school-year The father of these children resented the of 1903, two colored girls were ready for transfer as an infringement of his rights, promotion from the colored grammar- and more specifically because the lored school to the high-school, and received school was much farther from his resicertificates to that effect from the prin- dence, necessitating the crossing of a railcipal, but they were refused admission to road, and because the educational adthe high-school and the principal of the vantages for his children would be less colored school was directed to educate in the colored school than in the schools them in the high-school grades in addi- from which they were transferred. tion to the conduct of the grammar-school. Counsel was consulted and it was conCounsel made application to the State ceived that the exclusion, for no assigned Superintendent of Public Instruction, and reason, of these children from the publicpressure from that source induced the schools where they had attended, but local authorities to reconsider their action presumably because of their color, was and to receive the two colored pupils into directly in line with the case of Pierce the high-school classes.

above referred to. The colored principal of the colored The state school-law contains a proschool, who had filled that position for vision that “The State Superintendent more than fourteen years and who had of Public Instruction shall decide, subject championed the right of his pupils to to appeal to the State Board of Education admission to the high-school, was about and without costs to the parties, all conthe same time "given notice" and a new troversies and disputes that shall arise principal—a colored woman-substituted under the school-laws.” Opposition to the Board of Education's The petitioner's counsel, assuming transparent policy of exclusion was not that here was a "controversy or dispute assigned as a cause for removal, but the arising under the school-laws, applied on new appointee had abundant notice that the petitioner's behalf to the State Superher tenure of office would be secure in intendent of Public Instruction, and Febproportion to her acquiesence in the new ruary 16th submitted a formal statement policy, and her testimony in subsequent or petition asking for an order directing proceedings to be presently mentioned the reinstatement of petitioner's children. showed that she was not too dull to profit Two days later the State Superintendent by that notice.

addressed a letter to the petitioner's counOn January 4, 1904, the supervising sel, D. Cooper Allinson, stating that the principal, by orders signed by him, trans- action complained of was the act of the ferred all the colored children in the city local supervising principal, acting within of Burlington-some eight in number— his discretion, and saying: “I beg leave who were attending "white" schools to to advise you that the said complaint can the William R. Allen or colored school. not be entertained nor any legal action Among these were two, aged thirteen and taken in connection therewith by this eight years respectively, the children of department until presented as an appeal one James R. Stockton, a taxpayer and from a decision of the Board of Education, real-estate owner of Burlington. The the governing body of the schools of the younger child had attended for three city of Burlington. years a primary grade school nearest her Thus politely bowed out of the office father's residence; the elder had attended of the State Superintendent of Public the same primary-grade school for three Instruction, to whom the statute was years and the nearest grammar-school thought to direct, the petitioner promptly

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »