Page 2, 15th November 1946

15th November 1946
Page 2
Page 2, 15th November 1946 — AMERICANISM
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Organisations: Church Artists ' Agency
Locations: Coventry, Newcastle, Oxford

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AMERICANISM

From Christopher Dawson Sin.—In reply to your correspondent I can only repeat that the error which was condemned under the name of Americanism has nothing whatever to do with politics or with political demomu and that this is made perfectly clear in the tetteof Leo XIII to Cardinal Gibbons which your correspondent has evidently not read. But even the extracts which he has read arc sufficient to show the nature of the opinions condenmed, Americanism was a kind of moral activism which undervalued the contemplative life and the passive virtues as though they belonged to the past and advocated a new type of Catholic activism which would be more in harmony with the strenuous practical spirit of modern times.

Therefore Americanism is not, as Mr. Darwin Fox writes, " the counterpart or reverse side of Bolshevism." Its affinities are rather with Modernism and Pragmatism and it corresponds on the reverse side to the error of Quietism which taught (in the words of a Protestant hymn) that

"Doing is a deadly thing Doing leads to Death."

Catholic teaching has always steered mid-way between these two extremes. " Nec discrimen est laudie," writes Leo XIII, " inter cos qui actuosum vitae genus sequuntur, atque illos qui recessu delectati orando afflictandoque corport vacant.'

I don't know why we should bring Lord Byron, President Lincoln and Oliver Cromwell into this controversy. But I venture to think that the saying attributed to Cromwell is quite unexcepionable. If he had said " Trust in God to keep your powder dry," he would have been a bad theologian as well us a bad soldier.

CHRISTOPHER DAWSON.

Copse Side, Boars Hill, Oxford.

CRUSADE BY THE POSTER SIR, — We read with interest your correspondent's suggestion of a " Cru sade by the Poster." Nothing would give us greater pleasure than to help in putting such a " crusade " in motion.

We have already discussed with several people the idea of erecting waysick shrines throughout Britain with the double object of assisting the devotion of the local adherents of the Faith and of advertising to the forthcoming flood of overseas tourists we are led to expect, that there is in Britain an active and devout part of the Church. A fact of which many of our visitors are completely unaware; or so one would assume from their expressions of surprise when they discover Catholic action. Such a project would be impossible without enthusiastic local support.

A poster campaien would, no doubt, be an admirable substitute if the Church authorities agreed to allow it to be undertaken.

Among the members of our agency are many artists who could design posters which would be suitable for the purpose, but the cost of reproducing them in poster form and of distributing them would be very high. So high indeed that we alone could not support it.

Perhaps, to give effect to your correspondent's idea, some organisation or group of individuals would like to offer prizes in a competiron among Catholic artists to obtain the ten best designs which could be used for a " crusade " After which we could. no doubt, arrange for their reproduction and sale to those interested in their display.

PAUL MCLEAN,

Secretary,

Church Artists' Agency.

25, Ebury Street, S.W.1.

Sm.—Your readers may not be aware that giant posters have been use.d in the suggested manner ,throughout the United States on many occasions in recent years. They were of such a character and of such beauty that they merited and earned commendation from all. Unquestionably posters of similar types could carry a suitable message and have a vivid and reviving effect in this country.

Groens T. MILTS, Chairman & Managing Director, Mills & Rockleys Ltd.

21, Queen's Road, Coventry.

FOUNTAINS ABBEY SIR, — In your issueof November 8 you write: " Quite the best contribution to the Times correspondence on Fountains Abbey is also the shortest." The contribution itself reads: " ...which is the more important — the worship of medieval buildings or the worship of God?"

?" Is possible to consider the expenditure of £100,000 on the acquisition of a pile of ruins, not to mention the further sums that will be required for restoration, as itself the worship of medieval buildings. True and full worship of God is not to be defined in any single and narrow formula, but we ought to bear in mind the Epistle of St. James, i, 27. Catholic education and soMal work in this country is in danger of extinction and is certainly impaired because of lack of money. I would like to put before your readers the consideration that the available funds of a poor minority should be directed to these ends rather than to spectacular foundations which have the further disadvantage of irritating other sections of the nation.

It is possible to make a foundation for the purpose of prayer for war victims without incurring unseemly expense. It is not possible to do our duty to our people in education and in social care without much more money than diocesan funds can at present provide. To quote only one instance: the points raised by Miss Meredith in her letter to you a week ago on the Curtis Report — new buildings for children's homes, trained staff, both of religious and of lay people, and the development of methods for giving normal contacts to the children and for dealing with the " difficult " ones—will all require large E. SARMIENTO.

1, Otterhurn Terrace, Jesmond, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2.

THE "POOR OF THE SAINTS" IN GERMANY SIR—Is there any fund for helping our nearly starving fellow-Catholics in Germany and other countries? There are some which boast that they make no distinction on account of race, colour ix creed; this may be humanitarian but is not Christian according to St. Paul's direction to " work good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith" (Gal. vi, 10), it is better, however, than putting our fellow-countrymen before our fellow-Christians.

Surely St. Patti would have ordered collections " for the poor of the saints " (Rom. xv, 26) that are in Germany.

L. Pox.




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