For six years or so of my life I was a "priest-workman" in the Churchof England; and there arc -at this time-some six or eight men still doing the same work. I myself hope, God willing, to be a Priest before Easter.
It seems to me that there could be a fruitful field for "Oecumenical" co-operation in the matter of active Christian witness in places of work.
Anyone who works in industry knows well that the most obvious problem for Christians is not that of dogma, or various forms of worship; it is, quite simply, the problem of behaving like a Christian in the ordinary moral issues of everyday workshop life. In that question probably the various "churches" agree far more closely than in any other; there must be few Christians who would disagree with Pope John's Mater et Magisira; nor do confessional differences affect very often the ordinary issues of honesty and purity which so often crop up.
In fact one must admit, unfortunately, that the Catholic attitude to the commandment "thou shalt not steal" gives the impression of being far less Christian than that of other bodies, because of the nice distinction between venial and mortal sin.
I suggest that, working through any Catholic body such as YCW or Christian Action, either at diocesan or-better still-at parochial level, Catholics should promote some sort of association or society for active Christian moral witness at places of work. This should be primarily a matter for the laity (provided the clergy consented to the first steps); it need not directly be concerned with differences in doctrine and worship: and if and when common moral issues were seen to involve different dogmatic teaching, fruitful discussion and information could still be attempted.
But the main aim of such a body would be that all Christians should stand together in their conduct at their places of work; fortified by their own lives of prayer, and perhaps by such simple prayer in common as would be permissible for laity.
Collegio Bede, Rome.
UNION OF THE SICK
In reply to your correspondent X.Y. (February I) there is a Catholic Union of the Sick here in this country. In fact, contact has already been made some time last year with the American CUSA.
Catholics who are sick or disabled are very welcome to join one of the groups which consist of about nine members with a priest or nun as Spiritual Director. They keep in touch with each other by correspondence all the letters circulating round the group regularly.
The Union is under the patronage of Our Lady of Walsingham, and each group adopts its special patron and motto, for example, "Bear ye one another's burden" or "Watch and pray".
A special work of the Union is to pray for sick priests and religious, and to have a Mass offered monthly for them, and to pray for vocations.
The Union has the blessing and approval of the Bishops of Southwark and Northampton. Enquiries will be welcomed by the Secretary. Miss F. Carter. Flat 3. St. Andrews Road. Northampton.
National President. C.U.O.S.
Your correspondent might be interested to know about the Union of Jesus Crucified, conducted by the Sisters of the congregation for invalids. the Sisters of Jesus Crucified.
Members of the Union are encouraged by the help and example of the Sisters to try to make their sufferings and limitations fruitful by offering them in union with those of our Lord for the salvation of souls. They say a simple prayer at three o'clock each day. and receive monthly letters from the Foundress of the Congregation which are a mine of spiritual and practical wisdom and good humour. Some of them have been published in a book. "Joy out of Sorroiv."
There is no subscription to the Union. though members may make a contribution towards expenses. Further information about it can be obtained from The Prioress, St. John's Priory. Castle Cary, who is always glad to welcome invalid visitors
(Mrs.) Freda Rees Coventry.