Both the method, used in the presentation, and the agenda, developed in Ehe Catechism of the Virtues, respond to well-defined criteria. They were adapted to the training of the target audience. And to the needs of the moment.
Fifty-two were the lectures. Like the Sundays of the year. The final index is reduced to three basic sections: virtues in general, Christian virtues in particular and virtues in their subjects.
With the catechism, Palau wanted to teach how to live a Christian life. To this end, he set up the School of Virtue. He wanted to show the mysteries of our religion and the duties it imposes: the practice of the virtues, the goal of which was personal happiness and that of the ecclesiastical body. His was a profound vision: human and transcendent.
Yes, in the School of Virtue the people were trained in the transitory and spiritual. Above all, in the eternal. The catechism responds to this aim of clear, orderly and systematic teaching. Teaching that asks to become life. The exposition was clear, simple and methodical. The doctrine was sure.
The Catechism of the Virtues adopts the classic structure of catechisms: questions and answers. Palau had a tendency to use the dialogical form, it is true. But here he does it in a systematic, direct way. This is a masterpiece of its kind. A model example. It is Palau's best compendium.
We know of two editions, 1851 and 1852. They contain no textual differences.
At the beginning of the School, the work was not written in its entirety. When Palau accumulated numerous booklets, he put them together in one body.
According to Fr. Alejo, he wrote it in the space of four months. He had to attend to numerous occupations. He then printed it in book form. The print run was large. After distributing it to all: pupils and bookshops, Fr Palau kept 1,500 copies in stock.
We can conclude that it is the work that best achieves the author's aims.
Parallel to the teaching of religion, Palau was planning another series of lectures on the most important issues of the moment. They would be given in the 2nd phase of the School's Sunday lectures. The best teachers of the Catholic press were to speak. He drew up a summary of topics, also adapted to the 52 Sundays of the year. For this, he planned to produce another manual of greater scope. The aim was to demonstrate the perfect harmony of Catholic dogma with science and progress. The violent closure of the School put an end to this macro-project. It was a very interesting project.
If the drafting of this corpus was the exclusive work of Palau, we would have proof that he possessed a broader culture than we think. Perhaps it was the work of a team of collaborators -Vilarrasa, Gatell, Gras, etc-.
Two things were clear: Francisco was the organiser of this 2nd section. And the text remained in draft form. Alejo copied the list of themes that could become the body of the new catechism. At the time, it was the canvas of the new catechism. Such a list gives us an idea of its breadth and topicality. And he did so at a time of abundant ideological confusion and anti-clerical fury.. The project was therefore urgent. Bold, even.
The School of Vindicated Virtue. It is Palau's least widely circulated work. The work fulfils a dual purpose: document the School of Virtue initiative and defend it. The existence of the School was highly justified. The Church had to be free to present its gospel message. The title of the work is eloquent.
It contains the greatest dialectical rigour, the most sophisticated literary writing and the most select documentation. The doctrine revolves around two questions: the concept of pastoral care as a mission and the relationship between it and political activity. On the part of the Church and its ministers, of course!
The booklet is a faithful and strict account of the facts. From the institution itself. From the condition of the author, who is mainly responsible for the work.
It demonstrates the School's independence from the political dimension. Palau was only interested in the mission of the church - alone!
By faithfully recounting the events, the slander against the institution and its leaders will be exposed. Its opponents presented it as a political club. Palau demonstrates that it is an institution free of all suspicion in this respect. The core of the work consists of combating, with clarity, simplicity and vigour, the attacks to which it has been subjected.
He was always jealous of his good name as a person and as a priest. Poor and insignificant, yes, but honest, he even tried, as usual, to save the intentions of his persecutors. As usual, he even tried to save the intentions of his persecutors. Great soul, very great! Let's imitate her.