Page 2, 20th July 1962

20th July 1962
Page 2
Page 2, 20th July 1962 — NEED FOR THE PARISH CENSUS
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'newman' Explains Scope Of Parish Census

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NEED FOR THE PARISH CENSUS

S',-Your correspondent Mrs. Holland (July 6) asks if she is alone in being opposed to the Newman Demographic Survey and determined not to fill in any form should it come her way. Let me reassure her at once and say thetas far as the Newman Parish Census Service is concerned-she is certainly not alone: the experience of the Survey over the last fifteen months shows that between one and three per cent of parishioners refuse to co-operate, no matter how carefully the reasons for the parish census are explained to them by the parish priest. But 97-99 per cent do appreciate the parish priest's need for detailed, accurate and up-todate information about his people.

The tide of social change is flowing so fast that only by careful study of the situation of the Church in his little corner of the world can the parish priest hope to provide the needs of the present and anticipate those of the future. But is it precisely now when he need,s to know more about his people than ever in the past, that the parish priest finds it most difficult to acquire this knowledge: not only is the world changing rapidly but his people too. They move from place to place and change their occupations far more readily than ever in the past. Free education for all means that it can no longer be taken for granted that sons and daughters will follow in their parents' footsteps.

The object of the Newman Parish Census Service is to help the parish priest to conduct a really effective parish census, yielding. a card index of parishioners which is as complete as possible and containing the answers to most of the questions that are likely to have some bearing on his pastoral duties.

To this end the stock cards deliberately ask more questions than any particular parish priest is likely to want. This is much cheaper than getting a special print for each parish.

The Newman Demographic Sur

Architecture

Sd R. May I begin by congratulating the CATHOLIC HERALD on giving so much space to the subject of Church Architecture and at the same time, make a plea for sustaining this interest in so vital a matter? The Church in England is faced with enormous costs in providing churches and schools for the rapidly expanding Catholic population* and it is well that the quality of our buildings, on which so much hard-earned money is expended, should be the best that circumstances can provide.

The Catholic Church is undoubtedly one of the largest patrons of architecture in the country, and for Mr. Gibberd to say (June 29) that the Church is "a thoroughly had patron" is less than fair. It has certainly not heen my experience. A critical survey of building work shows that church building does not compare unfavourably with the secular buildings under construction.

In building a church, the expectation of useful life is very different from houses, where, for example in the New Towns, the capital cost is reckoned against an expected life of sixty years, or of office buildings, which are frequently pulled down when only fifty years old. For this reason it is understandable that diocesan commissions would not want to experiment in any building of any size and long life. nor to use architectural "gimmicks" sometimes only employed in international exhibitions.

Contemporary architecture must be good in itself and have a quality of permanence, appropriate for its use. It , is noteworthy too, that some of its ablest exponents are men of mature years. Mies Van de Rohe, Le Corbusier, Arne Jacobsen, are still in the vanguard of internationally famed architects.

Those architects, young or old, who are dedicated to their vocation, who are immersed in the spirit of the Liturgical Movement and one calls to mind men like Rudolph Schwarz and Hermann Bauer and their beautiful churches in Germany and Switzerland must be capable of producing a high level of architectural quality, appropriate for the Church.

John Newton (Buries & Newton). London, W.C.I.

Schools: a Victory?

place ?? after your front

page headline, SCHOOLS: A MAJOR VICTORY, in the CerHoeic HERALD of June 29, for, like your correspondent, P. Rogers of Chingford, I question its exactitude but for very different reasons. Far from "a sympathetic Government giving us more help than we deserve' we do not receive the opportunities of education to which we are entitled.

I was brought up under the "Scottish System" of equal rights for an children. regardless of religious persuasion and today, receive news of young relatives enjoying these equal opportunities. Meanwhile, our children after completing their Catholic primary education have no secondary modern facilities whatsoever and are not granted the 11-plus scholarships, when won, to the Catholic grammar schools of the area.

I should like to know what, in Mr. Rogers' opinion, we do deserve?, for when many nonCatholics become acquainted with the above facts, they are as critical as I.

(Mrs.) Mary A. O'Garr Exeter.

Voice of Church

Sm.-In his note on the "outspoken and thoughtful" book by the theologian Hans Kiing, Fr. Basset writes (July 13) that a priest said, "This is only what many of us have been thinking and saying in private for years."

Why do such matters have to be thought or spoken of "in private"? Such is not the spirit of the saints and martyrs.

The Holy Spirit pervades the whole Church: priest, laity, men and women and the voice of the whole Church should be heard. His wisdom is frequently shown to those outside the Church, too. It is what is thought and said rather than thc status of the person saying it that matters.

C. M. Cheke Wembley, Park, Middx. vey does no "sell" palish priests "dossiers" about their parishioners. The census is conducted by the laity of the parish under the direction of the parish priest. The "Survey" come into the picture as the suppliers of stationery and "know how". A priest on the staff of the "Survey' advises on how the census should be carried out and supervises its progress. Then the cards completed by the parishioners are taken to the "Survey's" headquarters and, under the supervision of the same priest, they are checked, coded and "punched", and statistical tables prepared for the parish priest. There is thus no need for any layman in the parish to scrutinise another parishioner's card.

Your correspondent remarks that "any priest who can pay from £70 to £200 for this is clearly not in urgent need of financial support from his parishioners". I would be much more inclined to apply this remark to a parish priest who embarked on capital expenditure on a school or church casting several hundred times as much Without first providing himself with detailed information about the structure and trend of his parish population.

Many parish priests are now paying £700-£2,000 to fund-raising consultants to put the parish finances on a proper long-term footing. Planned giving campaigns cannot be expected to run smoothly if the parish records are out-ofdate or inadequate. We should however remember that schools, churches, parish finance and even the parish itself, are not ends in themselves hut the material and territorial base from which the Church carries on her apostolic and pastoral mission, the framework for her feaching. her worship and her sacramental life.

The central role in the parish is that of the parish priest. He cannot adequately do his work unless he and his curates know a great deal about their parishioners. and this is particularly difficult for a newly-appointed parish priest. or in a new parish, or in one where the people are continually on the move as in so many of our big cities.

In these circumstances a thorough parish census can help the parish priest tremendously by-giving the laity the opportunity of telling him about themselves.

am sure that the overwhelming majority of parishioners recognise this when it is explained to them and are ready to help.

A. E. C. W. Spencer, Director, Newman Demographic Survey. 31, Portman Square, London. W.I.




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