Homeschooling, a divine institution?

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At the start of the 2022-2023 school year, many families must undoubtedly be cheered up. A booklet by Father Eugène Roquette, /School at home, a divine institution/ ( ), bringing together texts originally published between 1875 and 1880 will certainly make a powerful contribution to this.

Is ‘school in the family’ indeed only ‘a mode of implementation of compulsory education’, unnecessary and abolished without affecting the ‘freedom of education’? Thus ruled the Constitutional Council of the Fifth Republic… While the Church – like Abbé Roquette – has always seen in it only an inalienable right of parents, authors of their children.

Unsurprisingly, the government preferred to avoid a head-on ban of the “IEF” and went for a de facto ban, faster and more effectively, through administrative means. What is rarely known is that Hitler would not have acted very differently, with Article 2 of his Debt Duty of July 1938 stating: “The educational obligation is fulfilled by attending a German school in the Reich. The school superintendent decides on exceptions” (emphasis added) But there is no need for a reductio ad Hitlerum to attack these recent measures.

Without prejudging the final judgments that will set a precedent in a few months’ time, the summary proceedings that the administrative court issued this summer are largely negative. Apart from some judges who are less imbued with juspositivism, the tendency that emerges is to leave the responsibility for interpreting the law and assessing the ‘specific situation’ of the child to academies and rectorates.

In this complete oblivion of natural law and the inviolable prerogatives of parents, an oblivion whose consequences also affect other areas, one cannot drink too much from sources more certain than the National Assembly and the Élysée…

One finds, for example, the encyclical Casticonnubii of December 1930, recalled by Pope Pius XI:

“The welfare of the child certainly does not end with the benefit of procreation; one more must be added, contained in the proper education of the child. God, in spite of all his wisdom, would certainly have taken ill care of the lot of children and of all mankind, if those who had not been given by him the power and the right to beget also the right and the responsibility to do. . In fact, no one can fail to notice that the child cannot be self-sufficient in things pertaining to natural life: all the more reason he cannot be self-sufficient in things pertaining to supernatural life. : for many years, he will need the help of others, instruction, education. Moreover, it is clear that, in accordance with the demands of nature and the divine order, this right and this task belongs primarily to those who have begun the work of nature through generation and to whom it is absolutely forbidden to leave work undertaken unfinished and thus expose the child to some loss. Now this much-needed education of children has been taken care of in the best possible way, through marriage, whereby the parents, united by an inseparable bond, are always able to work together and support each other. to give. mutual support. »

The year before, the same sovereign pope had signed the encyclical Divini illius magistri (December 1929) on Christian education. It was thus:
“The family therefore immediately receives from the Creator the mission and consequently the right to raise a child, an inalienable right because it is inseparable from the strict correlative duty, a right that precedes any right of civil society and the state, therefore inviolable by any earthly power.”

Saint Thomas Aquinas also said in his Summa Theologica (IIa-IIæ, Q. 10, art. 12):
“It would therefore be contrary to natural justice for the child, before the use of reason, to be removed from the care of its parents, or to be removed in any way against their will. And Pius XI adds: “And since the parents have a duty to give their care to the child until he is able to support himself, it must be admitted that they retain the same inviolable right to his education.”

Forty years earlier, Pope Leo XIII protested to the parents in his encyclical Sapientiæ christianæ of January 10, 1890:
“Parents, therefore, must exert all their strength and persevering energy to ward off any injustice in this order of things, to have their right to raise their children Christianly recognized, in an absolute way, as it is their duty. and especially the right to refuse them to these schools where there is a danger that they will drink the disastrous poison of wickedness. »

Quotes from these and other popes could be multiplied; the list is long. They invite parents to use absolutely any means possible to exercise their most obvious right. It is in this order of ideas that the seven chapters of The School at Home, a divine institution are inscribed.

The family is the first school in history and the only one created directly by God. Education is only a ‘second creation’: it is the continuity of procreation. Being the authors of their children, the parents are their legitimate authority.

These common sense reminders will also show us that any supposed freedom of instruction, teaching and teaching is futile if a principle as important as that of the “IEF” is destroyed. We can therefore only congratulate the actors of the Waldorf School (nowadays we prefer to say: “from the world of non-contract”) who saw well and defended education in the family; and, on the contrary, to regret that far too many have acted as if nothing had happened, content to make earthly treasures of less and less “free” schools, not noticing the trap set for all French families.

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