find myself in agreement with most of what Mr. a W. Tenquist says in his letter. May 1 also add that it can be quite unrealistic to live for the ideal of converting "England"; we cannot but dwell on an abstraction with this in view. Individuals are converted to Christianity, not nations, and least of all "the world."
There is a paganism in this country which is harder, and more indifferent to the Catholic religion than anywhere in the world. We ought not to lightly presume; presumption leads to disillusionment and despair. It may be that we, the Church, will never number more than three or four million souls. The indifferent are not interested in ultimate questions; without interest there is no seeking and those who do not seek do not find. We cannot create an interest in others; this is as true regarding religion as anything else. Nor ought we to think that ceaseless activityoften for activity's sake-will of itself increase conversions.
There is also the "leakage" from the Church; we ought to ask ourselves seriously whether it is because of the state of the Church, or of some influence outside the Church that there is such an alarming drift from the Church. The world is coming more and more to see that we act according to what we really believe, not what we say. Lip-service to religion is all too marked in this century. If the world is going to think more of the Church, we shall have to give up trying to serve two masters. The next 15 years will see a challenge to the truth of Christianity as was never seen before, and not from the pens of scholars either. So let us forget about numbers, as numbers; they signify little in themselves. In medieval time Europe was Catholic, but much of it only nominally Catholic. Sanctity, not numbers, is what matters in the eyes of God; and our salvation, and not the future of the nation, is what we ought primarily to set before us.
Timothy Herlihy 37 Queensborough Terrace, W.2.
"Go ye, and baptize all nations . . ." Our Lord said, and very often the sense of an apostolic mission proves the best means to personal sanctity. But We agree that a sober estimate of possibilities is wise, provided it does not lead to apathy or disinterest in the reasons why progress is slow.-Editor,