Then All This Happened
THE Communists often s e t
Christians an example in the infectious enthusiasm they show for their cause and in the sacrifices they make for their evil faith. But Catholics can do their share too.
Twelve months ago 1 appealed 'n this column for financial aid for the Little Sisters of the Assumption at Notting Hill, London, who we^e faced with the prospect of having their convent and chapel collapse about them unless several hundred pounds could quickly be found.
Their buildings, though badly shaken by bombs, were not technically bomb-damaged and so qualified for no compensation.
This is what happened:
Eleven hundred pounds were contributed in sums ranging from a few pence to many pounds. Donations came from every class of society, although it was clear that the majority were from those who could least afford them. Some came from oldage, pensioners, others from bedridden men and women in hospital; a woman in Scotland wrote to say that she would send five shillings a week until the necessary work was completed—and kept her promise.
Those who send their used Caitiouc HERALDS abroad will be interested to know that donations wet e received from Australia, Northern Rhodesia. and San Francisco, to name at random just a few of the many. Men on a U.S. air station here took a special collection at their Sunday Mass for several weeks in succession, then sent a cheque through their chaplain. Anonymous gifts poured in. One of £10 came from a building worker, with just "This will help you" written on a rough little scrap of paper.
Altogether 5.000 letters were received—the overwhelming majority directly the result of the note in this column—and answered. Not least among those who made sacrifices were the members of the Little Sisters' confraternity, led by Mr. E. McKeefney, who directed the fund appeal, answered the letters and saw the whole thing through.
LAST. week the newly decorated chapel was opened by Bishop George Craven, The work is finished. and there is now just £200 to find for it to be clear of all debt including the paying back of a
£300 interest-free loan which one C. H. reader put up.
' The cracked walls of convent, hall and chapel are repaired and tied against future subsidence. The whole exterior, walls and all, shines with bright new paint. And the eyes of the nuns shine, too. when they show you the chapel and hall, lovingly redecorated by Frames' craftsmen who live and work within the shadow of Parkminster Abbey.
Everything is renewed. even the asphalt path has been relaid.
On July 2 the Little Sisters are having a special Mass said for all their benefactors. And, seeing the teeming multi-national population in the area in which the nuns work, one realises that there are thousands who have cause to be grateful to those who with their pence and their pounds enabled the work to continue.
READERS of this column must by now be aware that the Indian Institute of Social Order is a body to which. young as it is, I frequently raise my hat. for over and over again it demonstrates that Catholic social 'thinkers are in a position to make vital contributions to the great discussions of our day.
The institute's latest effort is a book called Too Many of Us? by Fr. Albert Nevett, S.J., one of its staff, which deals with what might be called India's number one talking point, the population question.
In it he has restated in simple language the Church's teaching on marriage •and birth control. But he has not discussed principles in a vacuum—he has related them to population trends, to prevailing conditions and to the current discussion of the problem.
He has taken account, too, of the world in which Catholics there live out their lives, outlining the Hindu teaching on the question and paying handsome tribute to Gandhi's influence and ideas.
Here is his conclusion : "Were India as a nation ever faced with all the disasters which birth controllers predict lie in store for her, it would not he because she had refused to practise birth control but because men were too cowardly and indolent to devise new means of exploiting the riches and potentialities of the universe, because men were too sensual to restrain their passions and procreate as rational beings, because
they were too pleasure-loving, too selfish and avaricious to see that everyone gets an equitable share of the world's wealth which was created for the use of all men, in a word, because they refused to love their God and their neighbour."
Which incidentally confirms my view that our "progressives" are being downright reactionary when they campaign for birth control as a solution to the problem of Asia's hungry millions. Their "solution" is in fact simply an alibi for not getting down to fundamental social reform and for not facing up to the responsibility which the have-nations have for those who have not.
HERE is more evidence, from this year's trade union conferences to date, of the current Leftward swing in the organised Labour movement. The following have passed resolutions which are in accord with "Bevanite" and Communist policies.
On wages and conditions.—The A.E.U., N.A.O.P., U.S.D.A.W.. National Union of Agricultural Workers, Union of Post Office Workers. A.E.S.D., Association of Cine Technicians, Transport Salaried
Staffs, Plumbers Union, and the Amalgamated Union of Foundry Workers. All these, adding up to nearly two million members, have passed resolutions demanding substantial wage increases.