Safeguarding Innocence

Rev. Robert Brucciani

For the last ten years, an agreement which engages parents to forbid popular music, television and immodest fashions in their own homes has been a condition of sending a child to St. Michael’s School. The agreement faced considerable opposition at first because it was misunderstood by many as harmful interference by the Society of St. Pius X into the private family lives of its faithful. Another argument against the agreement was that it reduced the practice of Catholicism to trivial material observances. Another still was that the agreement shouldn’t be imposed because it might cause resentment in the children; the habits of sane media and fashions would develop naturally, it was argued, once the children had been made into good Catholics. Despite this opposition (even from the author of this article at the time), the contract stayed.

Over the last ten years, the school has gone from strength to strength. The number of pupils has risen steadily, the stability of the staff must be among the best in the country, there is now a steady trickle of vocations from among pupils and staff, and many families have moved, or want to move, to be near the school.

In contrast, over the last ten years, the world has become a darker place. Consumption of pornography, moral depravity, religious ignorance and cultural bankruptcy are the hallmarks of modern society (the astonishing popularity of the pornographic novel, Fifty Shades of Grey is a recent example). In the light of this degradation, the agreement does not seem radical at all. It sends out a strong signal that we believe modern “trash culture” to be corrosive to the intellect and the will; that teaching children who are immersed in this culture is largely unsuccessful and that welcoming children whose parents do not share our ethos is against the common good of the school.

For some, however, the agreement still raises eyebrows because it is deemed anachronistic. Well, it is indeed anachronistic, not least because our Catholic bishops have remained silent on the dangers of modern media and fashions for the last 50 years.

The agreement has proved to be both a banner and a shield for our school and for our children. Deo gratias for those who embrace it; their children shall be blessed.

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