On Sundays and other Festivals it is the duty of all parish priests, in their respective parishes, to teach children Christian doctrine (see Council of Trent, sess. xxiv. cap. iv. De Reform.): and all masters of schools are under the same obligations towards their scholars, and all fathers of families towards their children and domestics, &c. St. Pius V., in his Constitution Ex debito pastoralis officii, Oct. 6, 1571, calls this “a most holy work.” “His work is the salvation of souls and the preservation of Christian commonwealths,” says Paul V., in his Constitution Ex credito nobis, Oct. 6, 1607. For the same reason this Pope, besides erecting into an arch-confraternity, in the patriarchal basilica of St. Peter, a Congregation of Christian Doctrine, which was held there under the directions of the Padri Dottrinarij, or Fathers of Christian Doctrine, and endowing it with various privileges and indulgences communicable to similar confraternities aggregated to it in any diocese out of Rome, granted in the aforesaid Constitution, “in order to animate the faithful the more diligently to teach and to learn Christian Doctrine,” the following Indulgence –
i. An indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines, to all masters of schools who, on feast-days, shall take their scholars to be instructed in Christian doctrine, or shall themselves instruct them in it; and to those masters who, on working days, explain Christian doctrine in their schools, 100 days indulgence.
ii. The indulgence of 100 days to fathers and mothers every time they instruct their children and domestics in Christian doctrine.
iii. An indulgence of 100 days to all the faithful every that they employ themselves for half an hour in teaching or learning Christian doctrine.
iv. An indulgence of three years, on all the feasts of the Blessed Virgin, to the faithful of every age who are accustomed to assemble in school or church to learn Christian doctrine, provided they confess on the said feasts; and an indulgence of seven years to those who, being of age to communicate, shall on those days receive the Blessed Sacrament.
v. An indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines was added to these Indulgences by Clement XII., by a Brief, June 27, 1732, to all the faithful every time that after Confession and Communion, they assist at catechism, or doctrinal teaching, or catechise, or teach doctrine.
vi. He granted also a plenary indulgence, after Confession and Communion, to those who have the pious custom of assisting at or teaching Christian doctrine, on the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, on Easter Day, and on the Feast of the Holy Apostles SS. Peter and Paul.