Source: Catholic World
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial column
Document title: “Editorial Notes”
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 74
Issue number: 439
|“Editorial Notes.” Catholic World Oct. 1901 v74n439: pp. 136-37.|
|McKinley assassination (religious response); William Montague Geer (public addresses); society (criticism).|
|William Montague Geer; Jesus Christ; William McKinley.|
Editorial Notes [excerpt]
There has been a great deal of sentiment expended over the assassination of President McKinley, and justly so; but we have watched with no little interest for some statements from the leaders of the people that will go beyond sentiment and touch the real cause of the national difficulty. There is an Episcopal minister in New York City, Rev. W. Montague Geer by name, who has had the courage to strike the keynote and to sound it loud and long. In an address delivered in St. Paul’s Chapel, before the New York Society Sons of the Revolution, he made use of the following words:
“This dreadful calamity looks very much like a visitation upon us of the wrath of the Most High. The nation must realize that it is alone with  an angry God. We must get back to the foundations, back to the guiding principles of our forefathers, to find out wherein we have offended Him. God expects much from us. He probably expects more than from any other nation on the globe.
“The acts of God do not always work out to our understanding. We know that we have not sinned or erred in twice electing to the Presidency the great and good man in whose honor we have gathered here. We must look elsewhere for the fault that has led to this manifestation of the wrath of the Almighty. The sin of slavery we have expiated and wiped out. The sin of intemperance we can master and are mastering. The sin of allowing the abomination of our city government to continue here in New York rests with the citizens of this municipality. It is not national. Is there, then, any evil in this land so widespread as to call the wrath of God down upon us?
“Our Godless system of education is a far worse crime than slavery or intemperance. I believe that the United States are suffering from the wrath of God to-day because our people have consented to the banishment of Jesus Christ from the daily lives of our children. If to-day Christ were on earth and should enter almost any public school-house in the country the teacher, acting on his instructions, would show Him the door. If, on the other hand, He were to enter any of our private schools, He would be worshipped by teacher and scholar on bended knee. To see the awfulness of this comparison and its significance we have only to realize that the private schools of the land are the schools where the sons of the rich and well-to-do are educated and the public schools the nurseries of the poor. Do the children of the rich need religious instruction more than the children of the poor? Why does Christian education come so high that it is beyond the reach of the children of the poor? Here is the sin—here the fault. And close upon it follows the speedy and appalling decline of religious life in the home.
“The question now is, to what extent can we remould and remodel our educational system? To solve this problem we must put forth our best energies. Almost any system is better than the present one. It were infinitely better to divide up the money received from the school-tax among the various Christian denominations and the Hebrews than to continue the present irreligious system.”