AND AN IRISHMAN CONSIDERS WORLD YOUTH
THE Youth Movement having
come to—and having stayed in—nations of diverse ideologies, BrItish democracy has thought that it, too, ought at least to try it, to see whether itifits. Well, it is being Pied, and I believe it makes a nice lit in our democratic frame, Our nascent Youth Movement is so democratic both in coneeption and actual working that its chie7 chataeter istie, namely, the feet of its being voluntary, marks It as unique among
the uniform types in Europe, • But will our Youth be given an ideal, as in Russia. for instance? Will its new Movement he Christianised? Or will it, on the courtrary.
remain ainiless? British Christians are anxious on the .se ore. The Board of Education's markedly negative attitude on the point. however, should not denote opposition to the Weal of a British Christian Youth Movement.
Can We Christianise Youth ?
We have had many instances in the course of this year of non-Catholü. lecturers, many of therm officials on pulite: Youth Service bodies, addressing priests and Youth Workers ol England, and approving and complimenting them on"thc part the Chureh plays in the Movement Though they are not Board officials, the Board knows of it and does not disapprove. It also probably knows a: the end of a year of feverish activity by Catholics that the Church will tight staunchly to
preserve the Catholic charier-to of its Youth Movement, just as it battles with undiminished zeal for the preservation of the same character in its schools.
Catholic, concern for its own Youth, it may he argued, will not Christianise Britain's Movement as a whole. Or will it?
I think it can go a long way in helping. Notice, or instAnce. as you
Level our suburbs, the greet number of Youth Centres attached to Protestant places of worship; bear in mind, too, the fact or the new spirit of collaboration between priests and ministers, an increasing number of whom meet very often these days on local Youth Committees; remember, finally, that the Chinches to El large extent began England's Youth Movement, just as they b gen the schools.
won't labour the pdint, and challenge my optimism if you like ! But I hope, and believe, that thanks to the inevitable influence of our zealous. young priests working among the ministers and on • local bodies, the Movement, unlike the schools in general, will stay by the Churches,
Consequently. 1 feel that the tendency to increase State-control, if it exists, will be checked, the democratic character of the Movement preserved, and a good augury for an, eventual conquest. in God's own time, of all our Youth to Christianity established.
Our Catholic Youth are being encouraged by the Bishops to join certain pie-military Service organismions, such as the A.T.C. Anything hut encouragement would be forthcoming were the authorities to do anything that militated against the lads religion. if. fol instance, parades were to be compulsory at times that prevent attendance at Mass. Quite the contrary. we find a readiness to comply with Catholic requirements, to the extent that in several dioceses, notably Liverpool. the authorities have agreed to the appointment by Bishops of area chaplains for Catholic lads in these bodies.
An Absorbing Book I have made the above points hecause they occurred to me as the result of my reading Challenge from Youth,* a wonderful and absorbing -volume by the Irish Jesuit, Ft. Richard S. Devane, who has made history by being the first to write the story of Britain's Youth Movement. True, it ie dealt with in one chapter of fifty pages, but it gives a, prominent place to the activities of Catholics in this country.
The remainder of the book, mainly
histeny of Youth Movements throughout the world, is frankly beyond praise. The author's concern in, and Obvious sympathy for, what we try to do here is delicately expressed in his Pleface, where he says: " Owing to the grave issues involved for Britain, and for the countries thisi look to hes. for guidance, the position of religion in the British Youth Movement bus beets discussed in some detail. If. by doing so, some little help may be given to those who are fighting to restore religion to Britain, I shall be very pleased Indeed."
But those fifty pages whet the appetite, and leave one hungry for more. Fr. Devane was breathless to keep abreast of fast-moving events in this country, and in fact brought readers up to October, 1942 I Here and there paragraphs occur obviously inserted long after foregoing passages had been set up. Such haste has meant too slight an emphasis on considerations which, because of their importance, 1 have tried to bring out at the beginning of this article.
He is rather anxious to suggest that Britain's Youth Movement was influenced by Germany's, and quotes passages from -a report made after a British Board bf Education delegation of ten experts had returned /torn see.ing the Nazi Movement at work in 1936. That view will not be poplar its this country.
Ireland's Youth Movement
Challenge Not Youth is intended as a challenge to Fr. Devaness own coontty, which so far has not had a National Youth Movement. True, the existing organisations, Scouts, the Legion and so on, cover only part of the ground, as Bishop Lyons of Kilmole says in his foreword. There is need for something mole, and the Ministry of Education has recently taken steps in this direction. Yet, it seems to me, tribute should be paid to the nearest thing approaching what is needed in Ireland, and which that country has possessed for a number of years—the Gaelic Athletic Association, approved wholeheartedly by the Hierarchy, and as successful as it is popular among all Irish Catholic young men, end with a quotation from one of the most significalot chapters of Fr. DC Vane great. book.: '' Against totalitarianism," he writes, "
and exaggerated nationalism. we should set the Chrinitte teaching and phitosophy. adjusted and adapted ro the special and pectilior formation of Youth in a national organisation. Chivalry and romanticism and colourful ritual must be necessary and prominent elements. The ' toughness of will that is involved in the acceptance of Christ's invitation ' Come road follow Me; inusr find an outstanding place in the development and formation of character, and 11111.11 be constantly srresled in various ways in she daily lives' of the young members of the " The academic drabness of • teaching the Catechism ' should be replaced by methods ;store suitable to our modern young folk, mid following ost lines parallel to those fournied in the ldeoroeicar training of the modern yoUth Movements—Christian doctrine being translated into Christian action, " We must team to adjust and adapt religious training to the peculiar mentality, ideas and conditions of presentday yoitth. al national movement of this kinel can he a most valuable
* Challenge irons Youth. By Fr.
Richard S. Devane. (Browne and Nolan, 10s. 6d.)
U.S. Catholic Flying Hero's Adventures to be Filmed
The American film Bombardier (which has not yet come to Britain] portrays the life of Colonel John P. Ryan (Paddy Ryan). director of the bombardier cadet treining school at Albuquerque, N.M.
Colonel Ryen, a native of Baltimore, has had it long and exciting career in the flying branch of the United States Army. Once as a lieutenant he was piloting is plane fl Ore ('hicago to Langley Field, Va. He was thrown clear of the plane when it struck a tricky down current of air and found himself in the air above the bomber
3,000 feet ovet La Cresse, Intl. The plane suddenly started up again as Lieutenant Ryan was coming down. He managed to grasp a part of the windshield and swung up to the fuselage. As he did so one of the propeller blades struck his right foot. The plane descended safely and Lieutenant Ryan was given medical treatment.
He graduated from Loyola College. Two years. later, in 1929, he received his commission as a seeond-lieutenant in the army, His brother, the Rev. francis P. Ryan, is a parish priest in Ba I Lenore.