Great Halifax C.P.E.A.
By a Staff Reporter The Victoria Hall, Halifax, claimed to be the largest in the North, was packed on Sunday last for the annual rally of the Halifax Catholic Parents' and Electors' Association.
It was the biggest demonstration the Association had ever held, made so by the presence of large numbers of Displaced Persons now in the area.
Hundreds more, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Poles and Lithuanians, from miles around, went straight to the hall.
The E.V.W. banners provided a colourful backcloth to the platform party, and a further touch of colour was added by the presence in the body of the hall of women and girls in their bright national costumes. This year's speaker was Douglas Hyde; his subject "lhe Answer to Communism."
The politicians, he said must be brought to see that Catholic schools had a unique and vital part to play in the defence of Britain against Communism.
Catholic schools were no longer something which was the concern of Catholics alone. Because their peculiar function was to assist in tilling that spiritual vacuum which had paved the way for Communism they were essential to the fight for the preservation of Christendom.
The politicians had a responsibility, too, he said, to keep democracy fresh and virile but he did not think that this was helped by the conclusion of " hole and corner secret agreements " between the major political parties aimed at frustrating the wishes of an important section of the electorate. Yet this was precisely what had been done on the Catholic schools' question.
Five-minute speeches followed from leaders of the European Voluntary Workers.
First was a Byelorussian, who told how eighteen millions of his people have been enslaved in the Russian " prison house of nations."
Then came a Lithuanian, with a vivid description of how, after the Red Army marched into his country, Lithuanian's four Catholic bishops and 800 priests were sent to Siberia, where they were to this day.
A Ukrainian followed and again his tale was one of bitter religious persecution. All the Church leaders in his country bad been arrested in a single night and imprisoned. Last of the E.V.W. speakers was a Pole. In predominantly Catholic Poland, he said, the Communists were using slower tactics than else where but their aim was the same.
His declaration that " they can arrest all our priests, close all our churches, but the Polish people will still remain true to their faith," brought loud applause from the thousands present in the great audience which rose tier on tier to the high ceiling.