years for the Sue Ryder Homes, by means of second-hand shops has made many of us aware of the existence of dire poverty among families. Children's clothing always sold as soon as it enters the shops, has pinpointed where lies the greatest need.
Professors Abel-Smith's and Townsend's recent report. "The Poor and the Poorest", has revealed the size of this problem, by its estimate of 21 million children, living in the depths of poverty, although this number is reckoned as "being only the top of the iceberg".
A Child Poverty Action Group has been formed urging Government action. Members of this group are experts in social science and child health. such as Baroness Wootten, Dr. John Bowlby, Professor Titmuss, etc.
In a recent letter to the Guardian. Professor Townsend stressed the need for much more information, e.g., from teachers, to be on the lookout for signs of poverty a m on g schoolchildren, for reliable information to be obtained from various sources, educating politicians and the public. for meetings to spread knowledge of the physical misery among so many.
As the majority of the families concerned are large families and many probably Catholic. it would seem a matter of conscience and Christian responsibility to participate fully in action to alleviate the conditions as described in "The Poor and the Poorest".
Many readers are no doubt aware of all this. but to those who are not, and are concerned, the address for further information is: The Secretary, Child Poverty Action Group, 207 Marylebone Road. London N.W.1.
E. Galpin Cheadle, Cheshire.
Sir,—The question of a fixed Easter has come to the fore of late, and has been discussed in the Church Assembly this week. It is worth noting that in the current year of 1966 we have a model of what it would be like.
(1) The feast of Candlemas fell just as it should, namely between Epiphany IV and Septuagesirna, with no overlapping and no problem concerning Alleluia.
(2) Easter comes this year on the second Sunday of April, which seems to be the chosen date for the new system.
D. M. Rockford, 0.S.B. Liverpool 1.
Site—May I ask a corner of your paper to comment on the reports in the national press of the scenes at Westminster Abbey when Fr. Thomas Corbishley preached there during the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity?
I hope that your readers will appreciate that the National Union of Protestants represents only a minority of Nonconformists and that the vast majority are pledged to work and pray for the Unity of Christ's Church. I am sure that many of ,my fellow non-conformists will echo my regret that Fr. Corbishley was treated with such discourtesy.
The sincerity of the objectors is not in question but your readers should know that most of us who are convinced Protestants rejoice in the greater measure of understanding and friendship we have with our Roman Catholic and Anglican friends.
We do not under-rate the great differences which remain but believe in the power of Christ's Spirit Who will lead us into Truth and help us to overcome the bitterness of the past Sir.—Professor van de Pal says (January 28) that English Catholics tend to think of the decision on Anglican Orders as "irrevocable". Rut the Pope, who gave the decision, told us that it was irrevocable.
"Irrevocable", or course, is not synonymous with "infallible". But is it not time that we took the word of a Pope as true and final without having to prove every time that it satisfies the conditions for an ex cathedra decision?
From SIR ARNOLD LUNN
Sir, — During the weeks which 1 went in Rome last autumn I met many ecclesiastics who were disturbed by the contrast between the Communints, who now control a third of the world and who are Still advancing, and the ('heistsans whose influence is steadily diminishing.
Most of those whom I met had read the much-discussed article in Herder Correspondence, "Have Christians lost their nerve?", and none disputed its depressing conclusions. Herder Correspondence reminded the reader that the lase time that Catholics were itssociated with an unpopular eau* was during the Spanish Civil War.
There is little protest among modem Catholics against the economic persecution of Christians In Comnumist countries where no practising Christian has any hope of an important poeition. The kind of Catholic who is moved to indignation by the fact that the African majority is not in control in Rhodesia Is usually unperturbed by religious apartheid In Russia.
In our secular society it is increasingly unpopular to criticise Soviet Rinoia and no doubt politic to concentrate on associadng the Church with "new Christian dynamism in the fields of homing, race discrimination, social welfare and the needs of the developing nations."
If Christian esprit de corps were comparable with that of
Sir,—May I, a Dublin Legionary, comment on the recently reported replies of Mr. Duff to critics of the Legion of Mary?
Mr. Duff fails to meet the central complaint of many Legionaries. This is that the system of the Legion has become inflexible and fossilised. It is this general rigidity in attitude and in action that many feel to be at odds with the spirit of Vatican II.
Basically, the "spirit of the Legion" and its system have much in them to attract and to inspire. However. in practice, this potential dynamism is too often obscured by the undue legalism and complacency of Legion authority.
The "system" has become sacrosanct and the Handbook insists upon complete subjection to this system. No recognition is given to the demands of differing environment. special circumstances, etc. Such inflexibility reflects a conviction that the "system" is now perfect and that suggestions of change spring from "bad faith". Mr. Duff has used the expression "Satanic influence" in speaking of sonic critics.
wish to refer very briefly to one or two of Mr. Duff's detailed replies.
"The Apostolate was the main motif of the Legion .. ." Such a statement does not answer the great objection that much Legion "work" is not geared to actual needs and is, Sir,—The Catholic Church has a duty to spread the Faith, but in this country a growing section of the population is being completely ignored. I refer to the Indian immigrants.
I spent a short time teaching immigrant children in a nonCatholic school and I was surprised at the interest these children showed in the life of Jesus. I believe they have a deeper understanding of Christ's teaching than their English or Irish, classmates who, by comparison, are plain materialists.
The Indian child has a very high standard of morality which permeates his whole life. He is often a vegetarian, and has a highly sensitive nature. From my own experience I believe Indian children have all the virtues which we in the West usually associate with the saints.
To bring three children and their families to Christ I suggest the following: first, the appointment of a Catholic chaplain for each of the main areas of population. Secondly, the teaching of Urdu to Catholic social workers and priests. Thirdly. the publication by the C.T.S. of the Church's teaching in Urdu. And finally, I suggest that the Church allow its schools to be used by Indians at weekends.
There they could p la y gramophone records. watch films or put on shows of their own. There should not be any direct proselytising, for this would turn many away. It would be enough to let immigrants feel at home in a Catholic atmosphere. For the sake of Christ, the parish priest should reject any possible moans from either the headmaster of the caretaker.
Most of the Indians in the Midlands are Sikhs, and provided Catholic instruction is given in a sympathetic way by someone well versed in Eastern religions, I see no reason why Indians should not feel a desire to join the Church. Indeed, unlike Protestantism, there is no animosity between Catholicism and Sikhism.
An infusion of new blood into the Church in England is just what is needed now. I pray for the day when, the Indian children running about the back streets of our industrial
the Jews, who never allowed us to forget Hitler's antheemitism, we could, for example, use our potentially immense Influence In sport to outlaw all countries In which men were being persecuted for their beliefs.
The temporary reaction of the ski-ing world to the brutal suppresinon of the Hungarian rebellion convinced me that Christians could, if they were suffidently determined. revolutionise the position of Christianity In Marxist countries. There are, of course, many other means of bringing preysure on Communist controlled countries.
It is always tempting to conform to the prevailing outlook of the society in which we live. Secularism is today the dominant philosophy, and our world, though still prepared to tolerate Christianity as a purely personal belief, is increasingly resentful of any attempt to reinforce what little is left of Christian influence on our mores
Whereas most of the Marxists in our midst are active propagandists for their faith, m ost Christians nitionalise their reluctance to bear witness to their beliefs by suc h
in fact, a mere devotional exercise. The Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity stresses the need for research and, training in the programme of the organised apostolate. Such activity is regarded with suspicion and hostility within the Legion.
"Most of the criticism comes from people who like to think of themselves as intellectually superior"—this in respect of the Handbook. Such a remark is unfair and inaccurate. Many critics of the Handbook are in the rank of Junior Curiae and they seek simplification of a complicated, jumbled book in which many good things are obscured. The Handbook is not being attacked for reasons of intellectual amusement but out of a conviction that certain changes and additions would greatly enhance its usefulness in its role of constitution, statement of principles, guide in action and devotional manual.
I most earnestly desire the good of the Legion and its growth in membership and effectiveness. Change is needed now if this desire is to be realised. Greater flexibility, openness and realisation of the facts of life in a period of change will give all Legionaries the opportunity of working things out in a truly constructive, Christian manner.
Anthony Brown Blackrock, Co. Dublin.
cities, will grow up to find a home for themselves in the Catholic Church. Their gentleness and inborn peaceableness will give it a new Christ-like
image. Gerald Denley
Sir,—The third Sunday in February is each year designated as The Universal Day of Prayer for Students. In view of the increasing importance of students throughout the world, we feel that this occasion should receive the widest possible support.
May we, therefore, appeal to your readers to remember it? We will be pleased to provide leaflets about the Universal Day of Prayer, and about the work of the World Student Christian Federation, whic h sponsors it for anyone interested.
Philip Bryers, Margaret Morgan, Adrian Buchanan, Richard Gill, Evelyn Strum on ds, De yid Fletcher, Peter Scott,
Student Christian Movement Committee. Hull University Union Sir,—Two years ago your readers enabled me to send 1,000 rosaries to Uganda. Now I have received a request from India for 700 rosaries. Fr. Vadakkan, whose parish needs the beads, has a unique devotion to Our Blessed Lady. During the month of October his parishioners pray the rosary, every day from 7 a.m. to 9.30 p.m.
At the end of the month there is a prayerful and colourful procession of many thousands of people. each holding a rosary in their hands and reciting it continuously.
This year, Fr. Vadakkan intends to celebrate the rosary month more solemnly. He needs the beads for very poor families who cannot afford to buy them.
Gerald Breen 69 Heriot Street,
Liverpool. formulae as "Nobody is ever converted by argument hut only by the influence of good example."
What Communist ever talked such mbbish? A creed which men are no longer prepared to defend must inevitably decline. A Catholic politician has recently assured us that "for the educated Catholic, apologetics and polemics are out". It is "educated" to canvass for a political party but uneducated to canvass for the Church.
Many Catholics welcome the ecumenical movement for the wrong reason. because they want to be "with it" and disfike anything which creates a barrier between themselves and their non-Catholic neighbours.
When I recently urged the kind of ecumenism in which I cordially believe, a militant alliance of genuine Christians against secularism, I was gently reproved and assured that Christians should only unite for something, never against anything, but what then do we mean by the Church militant?
One makes war not only or something but against an enemy, in this case the Devil and all his works, for Catholicism is still committed to the increasingly unfashionable belief in an increasingly active Devil. Authentic Christianity has always been divisive. Christ predicted that be had .come to set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother. (St. Matthew X 35.)
This attempt to transfoem the Church militant into a Church appeasing coincides with a drop both in vocations and in conversions In Rome a Bishop told me of a potential convert who has decided to stop where he Is on the ground that as the C.atho'ic Church was becoming Protestant he could see no reason to become a Catholic. An American Bishop told me of a priest who three years ago was instructing thirty converts and now has none to instruct.
Sir,—When a convert is received ioto the Catholic Church he is baptised conditionally, it being implicit that a previous baptism at nonCatholic hands may well have been perfectly valid.
This prompts me to suggest that priestly ordination might in similar manner be conferred conditionally on non-Catholic clergy. This would emphasise that the Church considered their Orders doubtful, rather than condemned them absolutely as invalid, in view of the fact that the judgment of Leo XIII was not an infallible pronouncement.
Is there not a possibility here of a reconciliation in this most vexing question of validity, and a vital step towards corporate unity?
Sidney L. Browne Eastbourne.
Sir,—The enunciation of novel and often highly questionable views in matters of 'theology is now, since the Council, in full spate, and it may be that such widespread ventilation of ideas is not unhealthy. But one is struck by an omission common to all these utterances, and that is the complete absence of humility.
Increasingly, it would seem, a number of priests and laymen are ignoring authority and issuing their own Bulls or authoritative statements; frequently the book-reviewers in the C.T.S. magazine have to ask why authors have not sought an Imprimatur for their works; more and more news items from different parts of the world tell us of repudiation of authority on the part of Catholics, both lay and clerical.
Savonarola would have felt at home in the present generation: he had all the virtues— except one. But that one is also an essential ingredient of the love which is the fulfilling of the law.
If, as Chesterton maintained, humility makes giants, then it would appear that many of us have not merely ceased to grow, but arc rapidly dwindling in stature.
(Mrs.) Noreen White London, S.W.19.
Sir,—It is quite distressing the way compassion is being used today to justify sin. We are being asked to allow homosexuals to practice in our midst because of the tremendous psychological pressure these poor people find themselves under.
By the same token, must we now permit kleptomaniacs to steal, rapists to rape, and impulsive child killers to kill children to satisfy their perverted emotional needs?
Clearly this would be ridiculous and indeed when psychologists meet unfortunate people with any of these tendencies they do their best to cure these traits. In other words the psychologist works for a return towards normality and this is the Christian way of solving the problem of perversion.
A man cannot help having tendencies towards homosexuality, rape, child killing or stealing—but he can help it if he gives way to them.
In our world today many normal people are faced with temptations due to quite natural tendencies, such as making love before marriage. Out because this is a natural tendency our Church does not sanction it, but urges us to Wait until we are married.
hope and pray that the Catholic Church does not follow the Archbishop of Canterbury on this issue. Is it not the Devil that commands us to be tolerant of the sin around us?
(Dr.) D. R. M. Brown