Page 5, 17th September 1954

17th September 1954
Page 5
Page 5, 17th September 1954 — IS INDIA GOING RED?

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Locations: Rome, Ceylon, Brussels, Chicago


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reviews a Jesuit's question and tells of a new hope in the Secular Institutes IS INDIA GOING RED? is the title chosen by A. Nevett; his book is published by the Indian Institute of Social Order.

There is nothing to indicate that A. Nevett is a Jesuit priest, his publishers the counterpart of our Catholic Social Guild. In the circumstances this is a good thing; it is an astonishing and most edifying thing that a book of 318 pages should cost k rupee (Is. 6d,). It is not easy in India to give effect to a policy, however necessary, of providing good literature very cheap. Fr. Nevett has already made his name for popularising expert knowledge, as in his companion volume, Too Many of Us.

The present book he bases largely on answers to a questionnaire presented to a wide range of people. The answers establish, as we would expect, the encouragement given to Communism by the extreme poverty of so many mullions, and the wide corruption in government.

The author also brings out well why Communist restrictions on freedom tend to be less repellent in India than in the West, for there is not, in fact, for most Asiatics any effective choice of wife, philosophy or religion; such is the effect of caste.

Dollar Imp erialisitn

FROM the point of view of missionary policy, present and future, by far the most important charge brought against us by the Communists is that of "Colonialism" or "Dollar Imperialism." Books like P. Thomas's Christians St Christianity in India and Pakistan (Allen & Unwin, 18s.) do indeed prove that Christianity in India is nearly 2,000 years old; but it must also record a long series of disputes all over the sub-continent stemming from the connection of this or that form of institutional Christianity with some European power.

Thus, the same record that would establish the immense contribution to Christianisation by Portugal must also set forth the story of the conflicts in South India between Portuguese missionaries and the "St. Thomas Christians,' tracing their churches to Apostolic

times. Still more is the Portuguese tamnection an embarrassment in Western India, where until recently the Holy See allowed Portugal control of appointments in Indian dioceses.

It is part of the legacy of this association in the Oriental mind between religious and political influences that Eastern Governments tend everywhere to exclude missionaries or put grave difficulties in their way.

Indonesia, for example, has just refused the Vatican plea for the admission of missionaries, even non-Dutch. India, very significantly, rules out, not British priests and nuns, but foreigners, most of whom have been, or are still. associated with "colonialism"; this is considered to have been freely renounced by the British, but to be still woven into the fabric of Latin relations with the Church.

For many reasons the growth of native clergy is a step necessary, but far from sufficient. Native Bishops are not now, and are not likely to he for a long time, independent of outside help. The older religious orders have still to build up self-contained native provinces or send out their British subjects— obviously very few.

Secular Institutes

A MONG the most promising racontributions to this problem is the remarkable effort of the new Secular Institutes. Here is an example, taken at random.

Teams of young women doctors and nurses, trained chiefly in Europe and America, discover the immense need of medical help in Asia. They offer themselves directly to the Governments of these countries for any work in any place; the Ministers arc not deceived; they really are about to receive an incomparable contribution of idealism and technical skill; that these doctors offer themselves simultaneously to the Church, to be controlled not by any central organisation in Europe but by native bishops, does not make them less efficient as doctors, but far


It has happened in the past to some religious orders that official "visitors" from Rome have contemplated closing educational institutions in the East because they did not fulfil expectations in the matter of conversions; these doctors are no less concerned with extending the Kingdom of Christ but recognise that the present climate of public opinion demands concentration on planting the seed of Charity; their trust is in God to give the increase in thc time and place of His choice.

Medical priority

READING of documents published by various secular institutes of this type suggests that there must be, scattered throughout missions of the world, a number of workers well up in four figures.

Their organisation is as vaned as the type of work to which they dedicate themselves. Every kind of medical work is included—this is perhaps the first priority,

Think of what women workers can do in the sphere of midwifery alone, from which nuns were excluded till as late as about 1937. Educational work is more delicate, as inevitably more suspect, but training and methods are designed precisely in view of such suspicions.

If only because the work offers so much variety of organisation. we must confine ourselves to a brief account of one* of the International Auxiliaries.

Founded in 1937, they now number about 150, from 12 different countries, with two main training centres, in Brussels and Chicago. They get at least two years of spiritual training in addition to the professional training fitted to the capacity and inclination of the individual. The emphasis is ever on initiative and intelligent obedience.

This particular Institute takes no vows, but at the end of her training. the Auxiliary takes an oath of fidelity to the statutes of the Society. involving renunciation of self to the apostolic ends to be en. trusted to her. This dedicated life includes celibacy and the spirit of poverty.

The oath is taken twice for periods of five years, the third time for life.

Their spiritual training rests chiefly on the Liturgical life of the Church. with special emphasis on becoming healthy cells in the Mystical Body of Christ. and contributing health to the whole. To them belong the team of doctors mentioned above.

The Society is also trying to cope with requests for assistance from Bishops in Africa, Ceylon, Pakistan, Vietnam, South America, Japan and the Near East. A booklet on Secular Institutes is available from the Blackfriars Press. information on the International Auxiliaries may be had from : Miss V. Nevile, 5132 S. Ellis Avenue. Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.. Jr Miss R. Arrighi, 90 Rue C;achard. Brussels. Belgium, Not all can be associated with such a work. but all can pray, and some can help financially.

*I do not speak here of the Grail because it is, shank God, already fairly well known in England. and more information is easily obtainable —for example, from a pamphlet just published by the Catholic Truth Society.

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