for the elderly A new committee has been set up to awaken the conscience of Catholics in England and Wales to the needs.. of the elderly. It will reinforce and co-ordinate local efforts made by Catholics on their behalf.
This latest venture in Christian caring was decided on at a meeting of the Social Welfare Commission in London early this month.
Bishop John Brewer, auxiliary of Shrewsbury. will head the committee.. Well7known workers in the care of the elderly have already agreed to serve on it. Among them are Joan Bartlett, founder of the Servile Homes and Institute: David Hobrnan. director of Age Concern; Lord Hilton, Chairman of the National Federation of Housing. Societies, and Richard Best, Director of the National Federation of Housing Societies.
Other members of the committee will be people active in the field of care for the elderly al national or regional level. or in the field of housing for the elderly. They will advise the Social Welfare Commission on all these needs, and are to provide a feasible plan of action for the commission to follow.
Already the Committee for the Elderly has ideas for the future. It will need first of all to establish the facts of the
situation. it nceds to know the size of the problem and all relevant statistics. It needs to know* what is already being done by civil authorities or voluntary bodies. And then it must find out the extent of local Catholic efforts and what Catholics are doing in co-operation with nonCatholic bodies.
Existing agencies can provide many of these facts, but local contacts will be needed to discover some others. The committee believes that a national network should be set up officially. These local contacts would be people actively involved in care for the elderly and could link up with the committee.
The committee hopes that its fact-finding exercise would lead on to a conference of these local contacts, when they can fully explore the national problem and find how the Church can help the elderly. Then the committee would be able to prepare a statement appealing to all Catholics to wake up to the needs of the elderly.
The problems of pastoral care of the handicapped have concerned the commission for well over a year. The Committee for the Handicapped is working on ' two important projects. One is a guide for priests on how to approach families which might have any handicapped members. The other is a pamphlet on "How to Give
Religious Instruction to the Hand i capped."
In this second project, members from the committee have joined forces with catecheticalexperts appointed by the Council on Catechetics to form a -joint working party. The pamphlet, when published. will include chapters on the nature of retardation (slow or imperfect development), advice on how and what to teach a child up to and including preparation for Holy Communion and Confirmation, and advice to parents and priests.
Five members of the Commission completed their period of service at this meeting, One was the Chairman, Miss Una Cormack, The Commission members unanimously elected as her successor Norbert Winstaaley, 50, who is Adviser for Secondary Education to the Catholic Education Council.
The five new members of the Commission are: Carton John Murphy, Administrator of the Leeds Diocesan Children's Society: Sister Aloysius, in charge of residential work of Salford Diocesan Children's Society: Miss Zophia Butrym, head of Applied Social Studies at the London School of Economics; Mr. Michael Carey, Deputy Director. Social Services Department, City of Westminster: Miss Mary Sherlock, Social Work Education Adviser, Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work.