Page 4, 14th December 1945

14th December 1945
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Page 4, 14th December 1945 — IN A FEW WORDS
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Organisations: Church administration
Locations: Surabaya, Vienna

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IN A FEW WORDS

What it Really Means TWO stories reported straight from

Vienna by a soldier on leave: (1) Woman in the street, looking like death. distraught. pushing a pram. Heavy rain soaking the inside of the pram. Within it: a baby, dead. The mother did not apparently know. (One hopes some of our readers who say we are too badly off to help will meditate on this scene.) (2) Two young women walking along a street. Army car driving past, brakes fiercely. Two soldiers jump out and carry the women screaming into the car. The party drives on.

Revolution In Tunbridge Wells 1

HAPPENED to hear Mass last Sun

day in that always welcoming (and well-heated) Italianate church in Wonbridge Wells. But 1 was not prepared for what retrospectively seemed almost like a revolution. The parish priest announced, first. that he had been made aware of the difficulty some of the congregation engaged on special work had in getting to the first Mass. ('This, by the way, is a point often made in !otters to our paper. but I should have thought was less applicable to a Spa than almost anywhere else.) Hence he proposed to cater for their needs. Second, in order the better to learn the needs and tastes of his people he was arranging a parish poll to decide which times l'or early Mass suited his congregation best. According to the results the times of the Masses would be arranged.

What a simple and sensible idea! Yet I doubt not that the Reverend Canon stands in a very small minority indeed in the whole country in consulting his congregation on a matter like that—or even perhaps in thinking of such a thing. Why?

Oddly enough I have just received a letter from another priest, discussing the " Simple Souls " point made in a recent letter. t" Simple souls need to be given the worst in art, liturgy. etc.. because they are not up to anything better,") He says: " I used to solve prohlems by a democratic vote of the congregation and impose nothing which the Church did not impose." So perhaps the idea is commoner than I hought, and I shall he made to look silly I

Another Simple Soul ?

THE way in which some continental Catholics are educated in their religion is brought home by the following true story. An Italian prisoner ot war working on a farm in the south of England never went to church. A Catholic visitor. chatting with him, asked why. " Simple " the prisoner answered. " Italy is a Catholic country and England is a Protestant country. England won the war and Italy lost. If Catholicism were true it would have been the other waO round. I'm not going to church any more" Moral of an Intelligence Test IKNEW I was on to something in that intelligence test, for Professor O'Rahilly (writing before the two letters were printed last week) now extracts its real lesson—that the examiners themselves didn't know the answer and shows why. Gratefully. I band over: " Jotter " gives an intelligence test which was recently set in British schools for boys of 11 to 15 years. Changing John and Dick to A, B. C, 1 reprothree the question as follows: A gives a coin (a half-crown) to B in exchange for a pocket-knife. B lends the coin to C. Then C uses the coin to buy an old cricket bat from A. A then finds that the coin is bad or counterfeit. " Which one of the following is a fair way to settle the dealings?" (I) A returns the knife to B. (2) A simply keeps the coin. (3) C does not pay to B the half-crown he owed him. (4) C returns the bat to A. Obviously the adult deviser of this conundrum for testing the intelligence of young boys assumes that one or these four solutions is fair. The " Jotter " and two of his family tackled the problem; it was decided by a majority that (3)

was the right answer. Whereas I, inside of five minutes, decided that none of the solutions is correct! Perhaps I lack what they call " intelligence." But I venture to give my reasons. The "Jotter " crowded the room with gadgets representing boys and the objects bargained for and with. I simply drew a diagram. Here it is.

The dotted lines show the travel of the coin: A to B to C and back to A. The inner lines show the reverse transit of the goods and services. A bat goes from A to C, a chit goes from C to B, a knife goes from B to A. Observe that I say a " chit "—an IOU, a promissory note, a verbal promise— is given by C to B, in return for the loan of the coin.

So now you can see my reason for being interested in this little problem. It is not just a test of intelligence; it is a small-scale model of the function of money. A issues money, he is a miniature bank of issue. Of course, not being a bank. he has no licence to issue counterfeit or privately manufactured money, But, acting in good faith, he issued what he took to be a valid half-crown. The money circulated and eventually came back to him; just us the overdraft issued by a bank is ultimately liquidated by presenting an equal amount for cancellation. The coin went through a cycle without mishap and is back again in the hands of A. But it has done its work. A is minus his hat, but he has gained a knife. B has parted with his knife, but holds C's IOU for its value. C has secured a bat from A, but is in debt for its value to B.

Let us now ask : What is the fair way to settle the dealings? The answer seems perfectly obvious to me: C should pay his debt—a workable halfcrown—to B. Otherwise C would have gained a bat unjustly. and B would be deprived of his knife without a quid pro quo. And the real interest of this intelligence test is not that it was set for children. but that the examiners did not see the answer!

One possible objection: Why should C pay a good half-crown to B when he was lent a bad one? Answer: B acquired the coin by parting with a half-crown's worth (knife) and by means of the coin C acquired a halfcrown's worth (bat) : both in good faith took the coin and the IOU to be 2s. 6d.

Dutch East Indian Missions IHAVE received enquiries about 1 the missionary situation in the Dutch East Indies and bow far present troubles may affect the missions In answering I have had to rely on the statistics in that excellent little reference book. Orbis Catholicus, no one else appearing to know In the Dutch East Indies there are only 112.000 Catholics and the Church administration is divided into four Vicariates and seven Prefectures. The Capuchins run two of the Vicariates Dutch Borneo and Padang Batavia and Manando are the others. Surabaya is a Prefecture Apostolic in the hands of the Lazarists, All this represents about 140 years' progress. as the missions were stetted in 1808.

JOTTER




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