Info

placed on the authority ofthe Catholic Church and on papal supremacy, with rote memorization playing an important role and public debate sharpening the pupils' competitive sense. Such religious education did not authorize direct contact with the Bible, except through commentaries given in the Sunday sermon. Nevertheless, pictures and engravings were hung in chapels and school corridors to excite the imagination. Their subjects often emphasized dogmas and scenes rejected by the Protestants: representations of the miracles ofthe Eucharist, depictions ofthe saints and martyrs attesting the necessity of good works, or celebrations of the Virgin's victories over heretics. Plays based on Old Testament stories, the lives of the martyrs, or the Jesuit saints, were performed on important feast days, thus providing visual and oral pedagogical models to be imitated. Spiritual readings and prayer books (many written by Jesuit fathers) were included as a means of reinforcing piety and encouraging pupils to pattern their behaviour on their belief. The fathers also gave spiritual guidance to pupils in their care, and Marian sodalities provided many of the boarders with additional spiritual exercises and an initiation into charitable activities. Pupils were encouraged to partake regularly in the sacraments, with monthly confession and weekly communion. An emphasis on the Eucharist was further promoted through frequent adorations of the Blessed Sacrament, the forty hours' devotion at Carnival time, and the celebration of Corpus Christi, with its grandiose town processions. The Jesuits also encouraged the worship of relics, which provided an occasion for magnificent ceremonies, particularly when the bones of saints were transported from the catacombs. In sum, the more sober and restrained worship of the Protestants was countered by a Jesuit-inspired triumphalism.

Beyond this division in the forms of religious worship, other distinctions cut across the various confessional boundaries. Everywhere, one could find a hierarchy of pedagogical institutions that broadly corresponded to the administrative, economic, and demographic importance of the towns in which they were located. In reality, the network of schools had been largely created before 1650. Thereafter, it was primarily reinforced by an expansion of teaching in the more advanced classes, providing university-level instruction, albeit without the authority to award university diplomas. In this way certain Latin schools were transformed into gymnasia illustria. Social demand for new schools came primarily from the elites of smaller towns who wanted their children initially to be taught close to their families, before being sent away to larger institutions. Financial limitations enabled remuneration of only one to three teachers in such towns. Inevitably, the quality of secondary schools (whether English grammar schools, German Latin schools or French, Spanish, and

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment