Paul Blanshard, author of "Communism, Democracy, and Catholic Power," heightened the debate caused by President Conant's remarks last week on the necessity for increased public school education last night by supporting Contant's stand and denouncing statements made by Archbishop Cushing.
In a cablegram from London to the CRIMSON Blanshard stated that 'the battle between public and Catholic education is an irrepressible conflict in which 90 percent of the American people will agree with President Conant instead of Archbishop Cushing."
Meanwhile, James M. O'Neill, head of the Department of Speech at Brooklyn College, sharply attacked Conant-at-the forty-ninth annual convention of the National Catholic Convention at Kansas City.
He said that Conant was adding "the influence of his name and position to those who have been trying to scare the American people into believing that religious education is harmful to democracy."
"If we are to have only one school system in which all the children of America are educated according to the pattern set up by the people government, If that is to be our only pattern of education," he stated," we will in essence be following the pattern of all the totalitarian countries. We will be turning our backs on all that is best in American freedom, the right to be different--even the right to be working in your neighbor's opinion."
The convention is being attended by bishops, monsignors, and priests from all parts of the country.
Cushing made his rebuttal of Conant's speech in an Easter Sermon. Replying to statements that dual education in this country may eventually prove harmful to American democracy, Cushing stated that Conant "wants to close all parochial schools," claiming that parochial schools "promote the common good of our children."
Blanshard, outspoken foe of the Catholic hierarchy, said Catholics have "every right to organize a separate and partisan school system in opposition to the public school, but they have no moral right to maintain such a system by coercion."
Archbishop Cushing last night refused to comment on Blanshard's statements.
Continuing, Blanshard said: "At present the church's canon law takes away from American Catholic parents the right to choose public schools for their children and gives the choice to Bishops appointed by Rome. The American Catholic people have no represented assembly which they can use to force the termination of this separatist policy in education."
Singling out Boston and particularly Cambridge as places where public schools have been "decimated" due to "un American Catholic pressure," he stated that "it is a vital injury to America when millions of Catholic children are taken out of the main stream of our culture at just the moment when they need to be members of the community."
He concluded: "We must resist the attempt to get public money for such a competing school system and we must protect our democratic education again the selfish and alien philosophy represented by the parochial schools."
Most faculty members contacted agreed with Conant in his stand and pointed out that perhaps. Archbishop Cushing entangled himself in a peripheral argument.
Three professors interviewed last night sided with Conant. They were Perry G. E. Miller professor of American Literature; Phillippe E. Le Corbeiller, professor of General Education: and George La Piana, John H. Morison Professor of Church History Emeritus.
All praised Conant for his courage in bringing the controversy that surrounds public-private education out in the open and Le Corbeiller held that the Archbishop was not arguing on the same topic.