SIR.—The Minister of Health, Mr. Ernest Brown, stated recently that the Evacuation venture—against all the odds—has been a success. He says that after-care and supervision by welfare officers will now be greatly extended. The scheme cannot be said to have been a success as regards our Catholic children, as there have been many complaints as to their treatment, not generally with reference to their home comforts, but that no kind of provision has been attempted to enable them to practise
their religion. One of our bishops has spoken in grave words of casts of proselytism known to him.
The time is over-ripe for Catholics as a body to take some course of action whereby the Faith of our children evacuated from the large cities shall be safeguarded. Further schemes are now in preparation, so it is time Catholics should wake up to the grave dangers from which many of our children are at this present moment suffering.
I shall only mention two instances amongst several which have come under my own notice. Some children from London were billeted in a small village several miles from a Catholic church. Hearing by accident of their whereabouts, the priest visited them and found they were being obliged to attend the C. of E. services with other evacuees. The priest told the foster-parent that this should not be allowed, as they were CathoHos. He wrote to the billeting officer to the same effect, the only result being an abusive letter objecting to what was called an unwarranted interference. In the other case, some mildly defective children taken from a public institution to a country place were also obliged to attend the village church " because there was no church of their own near at hand, and no distinction could be made."
If new schemes are to be started, proper provision should be made for Catholic children to be placed near enough to a church of their own; so far very little has been done in this way. Catholic parents should be advised to insist upon this provision and facilities made possible. To register them as Catholics is not a sufficient safeguard.
As there are abundant Catholic institutions up and down the country, children from public institutions should be billeted with these, or in the neighbourhood, in preference to other places.
A central council should be formed and the country divided up into districts with a diocesan committee, to which all cases should be referred. Amongst the new welfare officers there should be a proportion of Catholics. The whole matter is a grave one and may last for some years. The individual priest cannot be expected to take the whole burden.
A PRIEST—SOMEWHERE IN ENGLAND.