AT Paddington Station last Sun day morning some workmen were busy erecting a giant crib. Waiting for my train to Birmingham, I had an opportunity to observe the reactions of the public to it
Very few people passed without a look. Most not only stopped to watch the men at work (a favourite pastime the world over) but walked around the crib to view it from all sides. I heard no one ridicule it; there were no wisecracks. Many left discussing it seriously together.
The attitude of the majority might be described as respectful; a minority viewed it with obvious reverence.
It may be possible to read too much into such reactions. but they are straws in the wind. I doubt whether the reactions would have been as encouraging in the 1930s. Certainly few people would have expected at that time that those responsible for the running of a socialised industry would sponsor anything of such religious significance.
HERE is good news from Mrs.
Maisie Sliced. Readers will recall that in our issue of November 29 1 gave the distressing case histories of some of the people who had asked the Catholic Housing Aid Society for help in the solving of their housing problems. The C.H.A.S. tries to help people to buy their own houses. Its ability to assist was, and is. however, limited by its lack of funds.
In response to what I wrote, CATHOLIC HLRAI.O readers have already, Mrs. Sheed tells me, sent her some £800 and the money is still coming in. As a direct consequence of your generosity several Catholic families whose plight was desperate will now enjoy Christmas in the knowledge that spon they will have homes of their own.
Any other readers who feel moved to help along this grand work should send their gifts direct to: Catholic Housing Aid Society, 33, Maiden Lane. London. W.C.2.
Strong team FOUR Jesuits are to defend the Faith against all corners in an I.T.V. programme on January 5, I learn from Tom Singleton, who produces the " Living Your Life " series in which I took part last Sunday and of which this will be a part.
The four are Fr. Bruno Brinkman, Fr. William Donnelly, Fr. Bernard Leeming and Fr. Paul Brassell. Viewers are being invited to send in their criticisms of the Church which the team will answer more or less "off the cuff ".
A.B.C.'s programmes cover an area which extends from the South Midlands to the Scottish border.
THE Communists on the Execulive of the Electrical Trades Union are, as was to be expected, hitting back after the exposure in the press and on television of their methods of dealing with their opponents.
The E.C. has declared null and void the result of a ballot in five anti-Communist branches of the union, E.T.U. members, however, have it in their power to make the Executive think again, provided 10 per cent. lodge their protests within a month of publication of the E.C. minutes.
These shduld appear later this month. Those who are tired of the Communists' domination of their union should be on the lookout for them.
AT Baguio, summer capital of the Philippines, I bad a grand opportunity to see the South East Asia Treaty organisation at work. I had gone, on behalf of the Government, as a member of the United Kingdom delegation and lecturer at a seminar which SEATO had organised. It was this which took me on the trip to the Far East from which I returned is week.
Present at the seminar were strong delegations from each of the member States: France, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Thailand, the Philippines, United Kingdom and the United States.
All the members of the delegation from Pakistan were Muslims, those from Thailand were Buddhists. I was appointed chairman of one of the four committees set up by the Seminar. As such I had to prepare, and gain acceptance for, a report on the psychological answer to Communist subversion. On the committee were members of all the various races and religions represented on SEATO.
. I took the view that no "answer" would come near to reality unless its starting point was that Communism is basically a spiritual problem which calls for a spiritual answer. The problem, I felt, would be to get this and similar points accepted by such a mixed group.
In practice it proved entirely possible. My very sincere allies from the start were the Muslims, with the Buddhths very soon backing them up. At the end of four days of discussion we achieved unanimity, without having to compromise on fundamentals.
It is doubtful whether anything short of the Communist th;eat could have made such unity possible.
THE attempt to And religious formulas acceptable to widely differing religious groups does not always bring such happy results. For example, the proceedings started with an "invocation", read by an army chaplain. It began with the words: "We thank Thee, 0 Heavenly Father, for SEATO I doubt if even our own Agreed Syllabus could outdo this.