EVERY , s death dirninisheth tne. To those of vs who through Christian tenets and God's grace have come to tread the. hard, unflinching path of non-violence, the tragic bulletins from
Nortl ...rn Ireland impart an added poignancy to John Donne's words.
How will it all end? It is all very fine for large-hearted and well-intentioned James Callaghan to tell us that we must rid both sides of fear: that we in the South have a duty to make friends with our Unionist fellow-Irishmen in the North.
Would that it were as simple as all that! But deep go the roots: and from them spring ignorance, suspicion, distrust, bigotry. hatred, violence—and death.
Has ghettned religion played a guilty part? Understandably, each side has stood than for denominational schooling. But could a friend of mine be right when he 'alleges that the result is that "you have good Catho
lics, good Protestants, good Presbyterians, good Methodists, but damn few Christians.
"Look at the Jews. Religion has its roots in the synagogue and The home; and surely these are the places for it. Their schools, where they have schools, are manned by the best non-Jewish teachers available." Mind you, there might be something in what he says.
It is possible that that prominent theologian, Fr. James Good, would agree with this view, for in his address to the Sociological Society of St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, he made a strong case for 'community schools."
Their -acceptance would, he declared, Jet the Church "off the hook." Otherwise it would have "a massive fight on its hands—but a -fight which he felt could not be anything more than a "rearguard lotion, and a disastrous one at that."
He went on: "The main fact is that, in the matter of the con
trol of schools at secondary level, we are fighting a losing battle in that are trying to spread an ever-thinning number of religious over an evergrowing number of schools, with the inevitable result that the layman must ultimately stand up and say J will not serve'."
I often wonder if members of the Hierarchy realise how widespread the undergrowth of this non serviarn attitude is to be found among the laity.
A painful example was furnished a few weeks ago in the troubled North when the "good Catholics" of Ballymurphy refused to listen to the warnings of their bishop. In the calmer South, certain -pronouncements have been treated with a placid indifference.
But to return to Fr. Good. He said: "The concept of corn
munity schools would make meaningful overnight such concepts as those of teacher-parent associations, parent manager associations. the duty of the State to involve itself in education, and above all the exercise of parental rights, which are laid down in the Constitution but ltotally ignored by us in everyday life.
"And we might add for good measure," he continued, that the very concept of community Is one of the leading concepts in the theology of today, and to many people a saving idea in the jungle created by extreme individualism on the one hand and totalitarianism on the other."
0.f course, as no doubt Fr.
Good well knows, "the theology of today" cuts little or no ice •with theologians of yesterday. However. there is always hope to be 'found in that unconsciously prophetic statement of those who were opposed to Pope John and his Council: The Church will never be the same again.
Ireland's retarded ecumenism has been given another push forward by the establishment of a non-denominational Adoption Society to help Irish parents who would like to adopt orphan children from abroad. The society, which is aptly named Cairdeas (Friendship) was officially. registered by the Adoption Board last December.
Its president is Mr. W. J. Meek, and its sponsors include Fr. Austin Flannery, 0.P.. the Rev. Terence McCaughey, the Rev. Ernon C. T. Perdue, Mr. Brian Caffinan and Miss Ita Coffey.
According :to its constitution the society's primary aim is "the encouragement of the adoption of children from abroad by married couples living in Ireland, such adoption to be in accordance with Irish Adoption Law."
Several families involved in the formation of the society have already legally adopted children from Korea. Since it has 'been reliably stated that Ireland spends £70 million more on drink than on lioroign aid (despite Cardinal Conway's appeal) the foundation of this society is to be welcomed.
The latest appeal to this country to implement the U.N. suggestion that it should devote I per cent of its Gross National Product to poorer countries came from Fr. Raymond Kennedy, C.S.Sp., of Africa Concern, in an address entitled "Mission and Missionaries Today" to the Methodist Missionary Society Irish Consultation at Dun Laoghaire a few days ago.
He described meeting an Irishwoman in Nigeria who invited him and a fellow-priest to tea. She was a Protestant from Belfast, and his corn
partion was a son of an absteutionist M.P. f ront Omagh. They both agreed that they would never have had tea together at home.
"This is a question -of distorted loyalties," said Fr. Kennedy. "We had to go thousands
7.!„tmwileesshifirr] sIo7dl sante agape. It is a scandal to preach the doctrine of unity and love abroad in opposition to each other." What a lesson for us all! But when will we ever learn?
The Protestant Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Buchanan. said in his address to the society that it was a scandal that while they -supported United Churches in India there was not sufficient co-operation in their endeavours at home.
There were many problems in common, such as -the fresh approach to non Christian faiths. He added that the East h-ad much to teach us in spirituality. It has indeed: but then there is still so much we have to learn concerning what we have already received from that part of the world.