Primate’s strident claim

Catholic archbishop the Right Rev Dr Mannix (seated) at St Dominic’s College, Dunedin with pupils...
Catholic archbishop the Right Rev Dr Mannix (seated) at St Dominic’s College, Dunedin with pupils and other visiting dignitaries. — Otago Witness 19.2.1924
The Roman Catholic community in our midst is doubtless deriving much satisfaction from the visit of Archbishop Mannix, of Melbourne.

Its satisfaction will probably not be diminished by the encouragement he has offered it to continue harping upon one of its ancient and apparently unforgettable grievances. Except perhaps in the minds of the Roman Catholics themselves the question of State assistance for Roman Catholic schools is not regarded as a live issue.

The people of New Zealand gave their decision on this matter years ago, and all attempts to convince them that the question should be reopened on the ground that the position is unfair to the Roman Catholics are doomed to disappointment.

There are countries on earth which are described as being Roman Catholic, but New Zealand is not one of them, and the Roman Catholics are not content with the liberty which is theirs to establish schools of their own in this part of the Empire without let or hindrance.

They desire to be relieved of a responsibility that is shared with them by the rest of the community in relation to the maintenance of the system of State education, free and secular, which is one of the valued institutions of this country.

They are permitted to send their children to their own schools in lieu of the State schools.

Their persistence in asking for more is based upon a point of view which the great majority of the population cannot accept, and is, in the circumstances, so much beating of the air. Archbishop Mannix, who is an outspoken representative of his Church, affirms that it is shameful that the Roman Catholics should have to support their own schools without help from the public, and that they should be "robbed" through money being taken out of their pockets in taxation which goes to the upkeep of the public schools.

"Robbery" is a strong word.

The Anglicans and the Presbyterians who build schools of their own and pay for every brick of them out of their own funds do not talk of being robbed, nor do they complain of shameful treatment.

They take a reasonable and logical view of the position, recognising that if they choose to spend money upon scholastic institutions of their own that is entirely their own affair and that there is no shadow of obligation upon the community as a whole to give them assistance.

The Roman Catholics, however, are not likely to relinquish their grievance as long as their leaders encourage them to believe that they are being robbed.

Yet, utterances like that of Archbishop Mannix will not help them in a community in which, whatever may be said or implied to the contrary, a sense of fair play and justice strongly prevails. — editorial.

Memorial disgrace

The people of Dunedin are not "absent-minded beggars" but they are rather too apt to  forget that such enterprises as a Soldiers’ Memorial and an International Exhibition cannot be consummated without an appreciable degree of communal work and pecuniary liberality. It would be a disgrace to Dunedin if the Exhibition were not to be a success; it would be infamy if the history of the Soldiers’ Memorial movement were to be an everlasting by-word. "Pay, pay, pay!" — by ‘Wayfarer’

ODT, 13.2.1924  (Compiled by Peter Dowden)