What's in a name?
A I the annual general meeting A of the Sword of the Spirit last week two practical points were raised for discussion, The international work which the Sword accomplishes—so much of which is due to the devotion and untiring work of Miss Margaret Feeny, cousin of the equally untiring Fr. Clifford Howell, S.J.—appears to be rather better known outside the Catholic Church than within it. Catholic membership, despite the small subscription and the large amount of excellent free literature, is far too small. The first point was whether the name was in part responsible for this. One argument against it is that it is really a borrowed name. The original "Sword", so strongly supported by Cardinal Hinsley during the war, had for its object co-operation between Communions for Christian social justice. Those were the days this cause was regularly promoted by bishops, clergy, and laity of different denominations, speaking from the same platforms for a better post-war world. Many regret that the idealism engendered in the crises and the sufferings of war was allowed to lapse after it. The name does not so easily fit what is in effect a Catholic council for international relations, and one wonders whether the use of some such title, bracketed with the "Sword" title, might not help.
'Sword' Masses THE other question was how to bring the work of the Sword to the notice of far greater numbers
of the faithful, a much higher proportion of whom could join—to their own benefit and to that of the Sword itself, constantly hamstrung by lack of funds. One would have thought that international questions, which include to some extent foreign missionary questions, would more and more make their appeal to Catholics. This would be particularly so where an active and practical society is concerned — promoting personal relations with distinguished and important guests from abroad, arranging lectures, promoting great international causes, supplying literature, often helping the Catholic press (a point I can be certain of). 1 would agree with those who took the view that special "Sword" Masses should be arranged in larger churches with membership forms being handed out at the end. After all. this is not a charity (though there is nothing wrong with charity) but a practical means of promoting under Catholic auspices the work of peace and international understanding.
New 'Church Times' editor
TT struck me when I was a guest 1. last week at the annual dinner of the Association of Church Furnishers that in this sphere of Christian trade there was scope in plenty for Christian unity. Indeed, the point was brought home to me by the arrangements and the speeches where there was no note of disharmony and lack of charity, though experts in ecclesiastical art and architecture had plenty to argue about in their speeches. There seemed, however. to he general agreement over what in fact has come to be the Catholic teaching in this matter—a reasonable via media of sound work and craftsmanship in a contemporary idiom, eschewing the latest extravagances and avoiding commercialism that is cheap in every sense. A more personal unity aspect was to be found in my being seated at the same table as the new editor of the "Church Times" and the director of Mowbrays. The new editor is the Rev. Roger Lewis Roberts, who was headmaster of Blundells and Vicar of St. Botolph, London. He succeeds Miss Rosamund Essex, whom I knew when she was Sidney Dark's secretary— and that is going hack a long time. It is surely a good augury that last week's "Church Times" had for its main story: "Vatican Sets Up Christian Unity Secretariat—Move is Welcomed by Anglican Leaders."
She only asks ..
THE novelist Miss Pamela Frankau has written a leaflet entitled "Letter to a Parish Priest" raising the acute problem of whether Catholics can honestly detach themselves from the dilemma presented by nuclear warfare. She asks three questions, and I cannot do better than print them for each of us to study: "(1) Can a Catholic, with his belief in the sanctity of family life, condone a weapon which, in its very testing. before it is ever used, threatens the adult with sterility, the children yet unborn with disease? (2) Can a Catholic, instructed in the great encyclical Rerun( Novartun to work for the improvement of social conditions, sit back and accept the spending of colossal sums. not to better God's world. but to destroy it? (3) Can a Catholic rest easy in the belief that, since Communism is the enemy of his faith, he must accept the enemy's choice of weapons; meeting evil with evil, fleeting mass-murder and mass-suicide with their own vile counterparts? When, in all history, has he been counselled to compromise with the Devil on the Devil's terms?"
LETTERS have reached me drawing attention to a publisher's advertisement in our columns of a book called "Marriage and Periodic Abstinence". The advertisement refers to "the 'Safe Period' method of preventing conception". One writer comments: "My humble knowledge of the subject is that the 'Safe Period' is safe. by virtue of the fact that there is nothing to prevent." This could not he better expressed. One often gets letters drawing attention to the resourcefulness of "Planned Families" advertisers as by placing them in a shopping guide or other free literature that is put through letter-boxes. One wonders sometimes at the planners' zeal—or is it profits they seek? I don't know what one can do except write sharply back to say that one will resolutely avoid buying anything advertised in the shopping guide.