In the 1940s and 1950s, the Catholic Church enforced a hierarchical religious culture that emphasized the virtue of obedience of authority, rather than skepticism of it. In postwar New York City, parochial schools socialized students from an early age to respect religious, parental, and civic authority and to view the world as naturally hierarchical. This chapter examines the divergent views between the city's Jews and Catholics with regard to authority. It considers the dual themes underscoring Catholic education during the period: a concerted endorsement of social, political, and religious authority and an explicit correlation of morality and religion. It also discusses corporal punishment as the most extreme manifestation of the Catholic school system's overarching emphasis on discipline and social order.
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