Page 8, 1st November 1940

1st November 1940
Page 8

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People: J. J. Finan


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From Our Own Correspondent


" There is little evidence that Catholic children suffered physically, spiritually, ar morally from being in the reception areas, though it must be noted that the majority of the children soon returned home."

Teachers' Associations in the country

and their observations and, if necessary, additions. Eventually it will be submitted to the Hierarchy with a view to promulgating a general Catholic policy for the whole of the country in the event of any future scheme to remove children to safe areas.

The document, the presentation of which has been the main work of the Guild during the past year, is divided into two parts. In the first place conclusions from previous evacuations are drawn, and, secondly, recommendations of any future evacuation are made.

The memorandum reads:

" ` A.' Reception areas.

1. " There is little evidence that Catholic children suffered physically, spiritually or morally from being in the reception areas, though it must be noted that the majority of the children soon returned home. But we assert as a general principle that Catholic children should be in Catholic homes.

2. " Many difficulties could have been avoided if Catholic authorities in reception areas had been consulted, as there seems to have been a serious lack of co-operation between the Cajholic bodies in reception and evacuation areas, prior to evacuation."

" B " Evacuation Areas.

3. ," Among children not evacuated, or who soon returned, there was a serious falling off in attendance at Mass and the Sacraments, and sometimes a complete cessation of religious practice. 4. " We consider that this state of affairs was not so much a result of evacuation as a condition of evacuation revealed. We believe this is due to: (a). " Lack of family religion.

(b). " Many parents ignoring their responsibility for the practical religious training of the children, and leaving it entirely to the schools.

(e). " Too close association In the children's minds of religious practice to school activities. Hence, when school influence is withdrawn practice of religion often ceases."

Turning to recommendations as to any future evacuation, the memorandum is

emphatic on the following point: Reevacuation should not take place except as a last resort."

" If re-evacuation should take place, the document recommends: I. " Catholic schools should be Catholic units; small numbers should be grouped to form a Catholic unit.

2. " Each unit should be evacuated to an area proximate to a Catholic church, and should be able to continue with full-time religious and secular instruction.

3. " All Catholic children should be in Catholic households, hostels or camps. (This is particularly necessary in view of the new scheme of medical classification. Children classified U.O.B. unfit for ordinary billets-'--will presumably be billeted together in special establishments. This is obviously undesirable for our children.) 4. " Catholic teachers should be represented on all advisory committees.

5. " Children of one family should be together or near each other.

6. " Contacts should be made before

hand with Billeting and Education Officers, School Managers, and Head Teachers in the reception areas.

7. " Billets should be examined beforehand by the Billeting Authority as to suitability of accommodation, occupants and distance from school.

8. " Heads of evacuated schools should have authority to make billeting arrangements or changes, should these seem advisable.

9. " Regular contact between children and parents should be encouraged.

10. " Speedy provision should be made for full-time education.

11. " Numbers in classes should not be greater than normal.

12. " Attendance and Juvenile Employs ment laws should be enforced."

Bishop Marshall has welcomed the findings of the committee. In a letter to the secretary of the Guild, Mr. J. J. Finan, he states: " I am quite in agreement with your Guild's memorandum on evacuation. It is well thought out and accurate. 'Tour Guild requires Catholic teachers' representatives in all advisory bodies. L take it by this term you include also the billeting and evacuating committees, because Catholic representation in these bodies is essential."

The document received the unanimous approval of a hundred members of the Guild at its annual meeting in the Houldsworth Hall, Manchester, last Saturday.

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