Page 1, 18th October 1940

18th October 1940
Page 1
Page 1, 18th October 1940 — Y. C. W. WANTS:

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Locations: London


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Generous Souls, not the " Sacristified "

. The great importance being attached to the Young Christian Workers

movement in this country was made clear this week in the course of two meetings of the London clergy.

The Archbishop-Bishop of Southwark, who presided at the second meeting, said: " I admire the courage of the Y.C.W. It has been a huge problem to get the boys together after leaving school. As a young priest I dedicated myself to work for men and boys. I bless you with all my heart. There must be something in every parish for the boys. Your movement promises great things, and I wish you all success. I have seen thousands of your young

workers at Lourdes, apostles in their factories and workshops. The Communists are trying to do propaganda through picked members in every workshop. They are getting success. We must counter that by the influence of our trained leaders."

Cardinal Hinsley was prevented from taking the chair at the first meeting, his place being taken by Mgr. Mathew, who stated that the Cardinal " deeply felt the need of the Y.C.W."

In Middlesbrough the Bishop, Mgr. Shine, also presided at the Y.C.W. Rally on Sunday.

In view of recent discussions about Catholic workers and Trade Union membership, an official spoke.sritan for the Y.C.W. told the CA1 HOL IC: HERALD that " the Y.C.W wants all their members to fobs Trade Unions The Y.C.W. would betray the working classes if they failed to take their places fir the Trade Union movement. NearTy all their nembers belong to it."

One of the National Chaplain's points was that the choice of future leaders should be from generous souls rather than from those who " arc always willing to join in any parochial scheme," the " sacristitied "—to use a word coined by another speaker, Fr. Vincent Rochfand.

CLERGY AT WESTMINSTER CLUB " There is nothing arbitrary or artificial about the Young Christian Workers' movement," declared the Rev. G. Rimmer, National Chaplain of the Y.C.W., at the meeting of London clergy held at the Westminster Catholic Club on Monday ; " the movement is determined by the problem of the Church herself regarding her young people—call that problem leakage or the Youth Movement. It is the problem of the young wage-earner which is inseparably bound up with his age, with his surroundings, with his contacts.

" Even the Government is interested," went on Fr. Rimmer, " as witness its present concern in Youth organisation. Now no one can replace the young workers themselves in solving these problems, for just as the apostle of the working man is the walking man himself, so the first and immediate apostles of the young workers are the young workers themselves."

THE GENEROUS SOUL The meeting, at which some twenty priests attended, was presided over by Dr. David Mathew, Bishop Auxiliary of Westminster, in the absence of Cardinal Hinsley, who, said the Bishop, " deeply felt the need of the Y.C.W."

The debate that followed on Fr. Rimmer's address was joined in by most of the priests present, and showed their practical interest not only in the aims of the Movement, which they seemed to appreciate, but more in the working out of the scheme. Various priests atressed the impoi lance of latitude being allowed to individual chaplains in the application of principles in their respective sections.

Two important points were cleared up, first, that boys chosen for future leaders should not he ' altar-boys,' that is. those always willing to join in any parochial scheme the priest may propose. but rather tile boy who is typical of the district, who is not necessarily a good Mass-goer or assiduous in the reception of the Sacraments, but who possesses a generous soul."

The second point is that the Y.C.W. is not another society whose aims are personal sanctification first and specifically, but a movement whose object is the re-christianisation of the masses.

RURAL v. INDUSTRIAL Further points of interest raised at the meeting were that the ideal parishes for the formation of sections were those in industrial areas, rather than in rural, the problems being more readily found in the foimer. As one priest said : " We are working in a country of industrialised capitalism, in itself more reason for the existence of the Y.C.W."

Finally, Fr. Ramer reiterated the need of the Y.C.W. particularly in war-time, when difficulties of youth are more patent, with the strain on life, with the prospect before young boys of national service which will lake them away from home influences, and added : Eight English Bishops have now diocesan chaplains, some of these Bishops have themselves attended boys' meetings, all our seminaries have taken up the movement, and Mr. Resin has obtained a further estension of leave from national service for the Y.C.W. National Secretary (Mr. Pat Keegan). which is a recognition on the part of the authorities of the significance of the work being done by the movement for the Youth of the country."

Fr. Rimmet repeated : " We would rather train as leaders boys who belong to the Soul of the Church lather than to the Body, provided they are generous."


.40 address was also given by the Rev G. C. Davey. Chaplain of the Westminster section of the Y.C.W., who said, " Hitler and Stalin have said. ' It is Youth that matters.' They gained their success because they did not try to convert adults who were already set in their convictions, but concentrated on forming the youth. the future generation, the men of tomorrow. They learnt to do this from the Catholic Church itself, or at least from the principles of Cardiht, founder of the Jocists. It was he who elaborated the scheme for the training of leaders, who instituted the factory tells, who conceived them as small Christian communities, id. • those of Ephesus and Corinth, permeating the pagan atmosphere about them."


A second meeting of London clergy was held on Tuesday at Holy Trinity, Bermondsey, at which Archbishop Amigo presided, and when the Rev. V. Rochfortl, formerly chaplain of the Poplar section of the Y.C,W. and author of The Priest and the Y.C.W.. a pamphlet which has appeared this week, spoke on " The Aims and Ideals of the Y.C.W.'

He said: " Great revolutions of modern days have been the work of small, intensively active groups fired by an ideal peri ,Head Office :

aonified in a Leader, and the Y.C.W. aims It forming apostles among the youth

What has to be influenced in the young worker is his real life and his whole life. For he meets a thousand personal, concrete situations and problems during his domestic life, work, leisure, courtship, etc., which he himself must solve. Clubs, etc., which arc additional to or alongside his real life are a plaster on a wooden leg.

" It is no use trying to get him to live behind a moral Maginot line. It will prove as delusive as its prototype. Instead of trying to preserve him front evil influences we must help him to change them, penetrating his environment with his Christianity."

Fr. E. Mitchinson, in charge of Gravesend section, said that the condition of the youth of the working classes was due to this, that at the age of 14, at the very period when a lad's mind was developing, all education ceased and all support was withdrawn front hint. " He is thrown into the factory or workshop, where he finds an atmosphere of selfishness, immorality and godlessness. These ideas are taken for granted all around him, and he is powerless to resist them. This explains why so many boys who arc promising at school, fall away from their faith and live as practical materialists."

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