Page 9, 19th October 1962

19th October 1962
Page 9
Page 9, 19th October 1962 — Pentecostal sects and Marxism in Chile
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Pentecostal sects and Marxism in Chile

PRGIESTANTISM is making rapid gains in traditionally Catholic Chile. Ten years ago, Protestants in Chile numbered 240,000. Today they number 620,000 out of a total population of 7,500,000. Chilean Protestants are divided among 77 denominations, but 90 per cent. of them belong to Pentecostal Sects. Most of them are members of the poorer classes. The figures come from a study of "Protestantism in Chile". by Fr. Ignacio Vergara, Si., which has been favourably received by Protestant groups. The book was written to improve inter-faith relations. Most of those who claim to be Protestants are in fact lapsed Catholics. This has occurred as a result of the nation's lack of priests and of insufficient religious instruction. Fr. Vergara also said, however, that Catholic Church organisation in the country is too dependent on the clergy. This leads to anticlericalism. Protestantism has given laymen more opportunity to be active, to use their talents in organising, teaching and directing groups. Yet Protestantism, says Fr. Vergara. has not great effect on the daily life of its members. There is no Protestant university (there ale three Catholic ones), no Important Protestant educational movement, thinker, sociologist, politician, statesman, writer, university professor of note, or labour leader. The Protestant influence operates primarily inside their churches. The leaders regard their role as purely spiritual. The Jesuit author, however, fears that Pentecostal Sects provide a climate favourable to the spread of Marxism, because of this complete separation between religion and daily life. External hostilities between Catholic and Protestant have ceased, though there are underlying antagonisms. Talks have begun between Catholic priests and Protestant clergy. A Protestant Association for young men recently asked a Catholic priest to bless the foundation stone of a new centre. and permission was granted for this.

MONTREAL

CATHOLIC hypocrisy and hardheartedness are keeping unbelievers away from the Church, says Cardinal Leger. Archbishop of Montreal. who recently told the Canadian Social Week. during a closing dinner. that "Christians must not he like Pharisees and think of themselves as the unsullied ones, cutting themselves off from the unbelievers". There is always, the Cardinal continued, "a dark area in our souls where unbelief resides. We. too, carry, in a certain sense, the guilt of unbelief. Our too negative concept of Christianity has, perhaps, obstructed our brethren on the road they so earnestly wanted to travel with a view to an encounter with truth. "Have we not made our faith into a fortification, that is to say a rampart behind which we take refuge, whilst God and the Church urge us to change the world by bringing more justice and love into it?" Rightly confident in the certainty of the Church's truth, a Catholic can easily relax into sluggishness, the Cardinal warned. By reducing the life of the Church to a juridical system and clerical organisation we make a caricature of the Christ we know and preach as one who is meek and humble of heart. Cardinal Leger insisted that the Church's true role is to be "a visible sign of Providential action in human affairs". It is not enough for the Church to have a base in each country. "There must be , enough charity in all our hearts

for our prayer to be able to catch up in itself the preoccupations and anxieties of the whole world."

Catholics must defend not only the Church, but the well-being of all men.

BURMA

THOUGH the Catholic population of Burma has gone up by more than 50 per cent. since 1939, the number of parochial clergy has increased by only 2.14 per cent., and they were already too few 23 years ago. Restrictions on visas have brought the number of priests below the pre-war proportion of clergy to the Catholic population as a whole. Last year there were 215,869 Catholics in Burma. There are also thousands of catechumens. In 1939. there were only 233 priests. And today there are only 238. Burmese priests now number 85 and will increase in total strength, but only gradually. Burmese teaching Brothers and teaching and nureing nuns are also increasing.

SEOUL

AN Army court-martial has sentenced former Premier John M. Chang, Korea's leading Catholic layman, to 10 years' imprisonment for "abetting a plot to overthrow the government". Two other defendants were sentenced to hang. Dr. Chang was alleged to have helped a plot for a coup &out by supplying funds. A leading daily paper in Seoul has suggested that Dr. Chang may not serve the full term as "the people are unconvinced of the allegation". The paper also argued that a man as astute as Dr. Chang would not have placed any hope in a plot which was very poorly constructed. During the trial, one defendant claimed that Dr. Chang had given him the equivalent of nearly £300 to finance the plot. Dr. Chang stated that the money was given to help the recipient, a former student and a godson of his. who was in financial trouble because of a business failure. Some reports state that Dr. Chang has already had the sentence entirely remitted, only a few days after it was passed; others state that he has refused to leave prison until the government publicly admits his innocence.

PRETORIA

THE South African vernacular ritual—in seven languages—is now complete. The Afrikaans translation has just been published, and will be added to the English and five Bantu language sections. Afrikaans. a South African version of Dutch. is spoken by 60 per cent of the white people in the South African Republic. The translation was made by the Dutch Dominicans of the Kroonstad diocese. The general editor of the South African ritual, and translator of the Zulu section, is Fr. Raphael Studerus. 0.S.B., of the Eshowe diocese. Zululand.

MILAN

THE Spanish foreign minister, Senor Fernando Castiella. has personally spoken to Cardinal Montini. Archbishop of Milan, about the telegram sent by thte Cardinal to General Franco, asking for clemency to be exercised towards three Spanish youths on trial for revolutionary activities.

As the public prosecutor has

asked for the death sentence in one case, the Cardinal, speaking. he said. for the Milan students, appealed for the life of Jorge Conti] Valles to be spared. The Spanish government's reply pointed out that the court had rejected the prosecutor's plea, and t at prison sentences had been passed on Conill Vallas, and also on Marcelino Jiminez Cubas, and Antonio Mur Peiron. Last Saturday night, a group of 200 students demonstrated in front of the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See, and were dispersed by the Roman police. Spanish officials point out that the three youths were involved in bomb outrages which killed one person and injured several others.

WASHINGTON

91-1-1E United States Supreme 1 Court has taken swift action on four test cases involving problems in the relationship of Church and State. The Court . Agreed to consider challenges to religious practices in the public schools of Maryland and Pennsylvania; • Refused to review an appeal from an Oregon Supreme Court ruling that lending textbooks to students in "religiously-oriented" schools violated the Oregon state constitution; • Refused to consider a case from Kentucky in which the leasing to nuns of a hospital built largely with public funds had been challenged on constitutional grounds. The Maryland and Pennsylvania cases turn on the issue that raised a storm of controversy in June. when the High Court ruled against a prayer prescribed by the New York Board of Regents for recitation in public schools of the New York State.

KHARTOUM

WHILE, in the Philippines, Bishop MeSorley is building schools for Moslems at their earnest request. the Government of the Sudan is stepping up specifically Moslem education on all levels so as to "re% ive the sacred fire of the Koran which imperialism tried to extinguish in the Sudan". Christian missionaries must now work in an atmosphere in which the Sudanese government is running a general campaign to get the people to learn the Koran by heart. More state subsidies are being poured into the small schools known as Khalwe. where only the Koran is taught, together with the elements of arithmetic, reading and writing in Arabic. Other proposals raised include evening classes on the Koran for adults; compulsory learning of the Koran by heart in secondary schools and universities,' also in centres for illiterates and domestic science schools for women; and electronic machines may be used to facilitate the memory work.

TANGANYIKA

THE bishops of Tanganyika have called on their people to give top priority to the spreading of the Church's social doctrine. In a message to all "clergy, religious, and lay apostles", the hierarchy has declared that "the spread of the Church's social doctrine is an emergency need today in Tanganyika, and one which. without doubt. deserves precedence over the claims of any other voluntary good work." Study sessions and "prudent campaigns" are to be organised by diocesan directors of the lay apostolate. under the Bishops General Secretariat. They are charged with the task of "bringing to light the likeness of God in a new-born nation, individual, imperfect, limited," But, the message concludes, "the likeness is there, and one day it will shine brightly. Meanwhile, surely the trials are worth while."

CAMEROONS

Nit rft. JULIUS PEETERS, of 1 the Mill Hill Fathers, was recently consecrated Bishop of Buea, W. Cameroons, West Africa, in the presence of representatives from 18 nations, including Britain and Ireland. The new bishop studied theology in Mill Hill and was ordained in Westminster Cathedral in 1938 by Cardinal Hinsley. He has lived a dangerous forest life, has built schools (even mixing the cement with his own hands), and eventually built the biggest church in the country — a blue and white stone edifice in the highlands of Bamenda. He was nearly killed when he fell off the roof during the construction. The Vice-president of the Cameroons was among those who attended the consecration.

BRIEFLY

111 Latin is not a dead language in the Cleveland Diocese of the United States. Fr. Henry Gardocki„ S.J. started, as an experiment, a Latin class with 24 school pupils. Now he has a full-scale project with 950 young Latin scholars from 35 parishes, attending Saturday Latin classes in 32 schools. Most of them are beloyv high school level. • A spokesman for President Ayub Knan has stated in Karachi that the recent press campaign against Christian institutions in the country "is not a genuine issue". The spokesman added: "We recognise the good work that these Christian institutions have been doing for the country, and we know that they cannot passibly pose a challenge to our way of life, our policy, or our socioreligious structure". • The Indian government has awarded a national award for teachers to Sister Mary Priscilla, of the Apostolic Carmel of Mangalore. She will receive it from the hands of the Indian President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. • Fr. Dan McLellan's self-help movement (credit unions) in tbe Andes mountains of Peru has leapt, in two years, from 35 members with £1,500 savings to 3,958 members with more than £250,000 savings. The credit onions help poor Peruvians to build and own their own homes. Banks and the U.S. Alliance for Progress are helping. • The Korean Family Planning Association is offering free sterilisation to men volunteers as a feature of the birth control campaign now being conducted in the country by the new military government. More than 180 birth control clinics have already been set up, and thousands of pounds distributed.worthof contraceptives are being • The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney and the Moderator of the Presbyterian General Assembly in New South Wales ordered prayers to be said in all the Churches of their communions last weekend for the success of the Vatican Council.




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