By a Staff Reporter THE 1,250 members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of England and Wales attending the annual conference in Liverpool last week-end were told by the Bishop of Shrewsbury, Mgr. Murphy : "Side by side with State charity there exists a Satanic cruelty. Never have men's hearts been so arid, so suspicious of love."
The delegates were packed to standing room in the Picton Hall for their general meeting on Sunday afternoon. Canon Atkins, V.G., presided, supported by Mr. J. Dallas Waters, president of the Superior Council of England and Wales, Fr. R. More O'Ferrall, chaplain to the superior council, Mr. W. A. Kieran, president of the Liverpool Central Council, and representatives of national Catholic societies and organisations.
Bishop Murphy referred to the " tremendous changes" which all have witnessed in these days and spoke in particular of the advent of the State in the field of social service.
Charity formerly left to free enterprise, has now been nationalised, said Mgr. Murphy.
" The State enters more efficiently and more generously than we dolet us admit it," said Bishop Murphy. But, arguing against " these cold facts, so cold and so inhuman," the Bishop claimed that the S.V.P. Society " has something that the State never had and never will have-a love of men."
The State cannot help itself : whatever it touches ceases to be human. It becomes official. organ ised.
The State Ekes not make mistakes-neither loes it make any friends, said the Bishop.
" If anything is wanted in the world today, i is to treat a man as a man.
Christ war not taken with this mass producten method in human affairs. His arms first embraced the individual man. Your society has started of on the right foot: you cannot love a multitude before you Inc a man."
Making thre points, the Bishop said that the est, love of God, is taken for grated, because without that love the :.V.P. Society would merely reach the pockets of its clients and no their hearts.
Secondly, thre must be love of each other in te conference similar to that of theearly Christians, of whom it was said; " They loved one another bfore they appeared to know one anther."
Thirdly, thet must be love of clients. There s only one way to befriend the people, said the Bishop, and thi is to go into their homes and. sit nd talk to them.
Speed and hrry is the cancer of love. If visitin has to be rushed, it would he beer not to go at all.
" If a spirit f patronage creeps into your ork, you have destroyed it," urned the Bishop. " You might aswell become State relieving officers
" Let the loveof men be in your fingers. If it isaot, keep then] in your pockets al resign from the S.V.P."
Mr. Waters id that the society is progressing ith the extended volume of socit services.
Membership 9,158 shows an increase of 386,nd during the past year the memberhad made 281,225 family visits, an tcrease of 15,000.
He urged themembers to remember that ttir conferences are not " mere panhial units," but parts of a worhsociety.
" Whilst the mference must he the basic unit t the society, we must be ever omur guard against the defects of eessive parochialism, which leads isolationism."
Mr. Kieran, resident of the Liverpool CentraCouncil, outlined the history of thsociety in Liverpool and told ofthe work of the pioneers among 'or Irish people in the cellars of e city.
The conference the third the society has hel, in Liverpool, opened on Saturch in St. George's Hall, where the degates were welcomed by MgrCron Atkins, V.G.
High Mass waseffered for the conference on Sway in the ProCathedral by CanoGregory Doyle, assisted by the Revar. W. O'Leary, chaplain to the Mchester Central Council, and Fr. [Maguire, chaplain to the Liverpo Central Council.
The special preher, Fr. John Garvin, D.D., sai that if any society of laymen an rightly be called " the extend arms of the compassionate Chri" it is surely the Society of St. \cent de Paul.