Jcsivimasv Irish Communism
T" present situation in Ireland is reviewed in the current issue of World News. which is the British Communist Party's journal for party members.
As was to be expected the writer, who signs himself A. Raftery, places his main hopes within Ireland itself, upon the Irish Worker's League. In his concluding paragraph he writes:
" The consistent campaign against anything liberal or progressive carried out by the spokesmen of the most reactionary capitalist elements. cynically using the deep religious feeling of the people, has largely succeeded in preventing the development of an organised progressive movement in the Republic." For " progressive," of course, read "Communist." The tribute to the " deep religious feelings of the people " is significant. So is the fact that arty sort of optimistic note is conspicuously absent from the article, But who. I wonder. had he in mind when he wrote of those spokesmen of reaction? I seem to remember the same words used to describe the Bishops and clergy in those places where the Communists rule.
HONGKONG'S Catholic Centre must surely he one of the most active bodies anywhere. When I visited it last summer I was amazed at the extent and diversity of its activities and the range of the publications which the Centre and the C.T.S., which has its headquarters there, publish between them.
Among the latest batch of its publications to reach me is " The Year of Mary." It is an ambitiously produced pictorial record of the Marian Year celebrations in the tiny colony which stands on the edge of the Communist world.
Like most of the Centre's publications, it is in both English and Chinese.
Hongkong, like the cities of South Korea and Formosa, is packed with homeless refugees from Communism. many of whom arc coming as converts to the Faith. In "The Year of Mary " is published a poem by a Maryknoll nun which has been inspired by Hongkong's refugees but which takes on a particular poiganey at this moment when literally hundreds of thousands of others are making their way at enormous risk from Communist North Vietnam to the South.
Here are some lines from it: " Lady of Nazareth. in the sacrifice of your home in Galilee, you are the mother of refugees, who, to escape from Red Terror, must needs leave everything too, home and field, church village. market and native land. Lady on the Road, to Egypt, you pave the way to the hearts of refugees. For, your dark path of pain and tribulation is just like theirs. as they flee from friendly climes to strangers' shores.
They carry the barest essentials. They tread wearily under burning skies. They walk TO uncertaint,
feeling separation and desolation. Lady on the road to Egypt, how great must be your compassion for refugees. . .
How to help
ASMALL pamphlet entitled "Crisis in Vietnam," is due to become available for sale this week-end. In eight small Pages it briefly outlines the background to the present situation, the plight of the refugees and the need for quick action to save those who are in danger of being trapped in ffieir hundreds of thousands in the North when the border is closed against them on May 19. In particular. it suggests a
number to help. things which you can
d With due modesty (since I am its author) I would like to suggest that those who wish to aid Vietnam's refugees, or are enxious to waken the ruble: conscience to what has happened there, should get supplies and distribute them as widely as possible. They may he obtained from the Sword of the Spirit, 128, Sloane Street. London, S.W.1. mice 2d. per copy plus postage; 10s. for 100 copies post free, and pro rata.
IT the Communists can confuse the world and the local Catholics of North Vietnam about the situation there they will certainly do so. That. I suppose, accounts for the departure from Poland last week for North Vietnam of three " progressive" Catholics including one " patriot " priest.
In Communist double.talk " patriotic" in this case means ones who have made their peace with the Communist regime for which they now work. Their task will, God forgive them, presumably he to try to persuade the Catholics in Ho Chi Minh's zone to remain under Communist rule instead of seeking to take refuge in the south. It will not be easy for peasants reared in the Faith to recognise them for what they are. The Communists have in the recent past given such " patriotic" priests some peculiarly grisly jobs to do but this one simply makes one's blood run cold.
Priest in Odessa
THE current issue of the A Ammtptionist magazine contains an interesting account of an attempt by an Assumptionist priest, Fr. Nicholas, to work as a parish priest in Soviet Odessa.
Fr. Nicholas went into Odessa at the request of the Holy See at the time When the city was occupied by Hitler's troops. When the Russians later moved in he was permitted to continue his work for souls.
Then. three years later, he was arrested, charged with spying, interrogated for a total of 250 hours, given eight years " corrective " treatment—i.e. forced labour —and finally expelled. The Catholics of Odessa have no priest. But they still gather in Fr. Nicholas's church each Sunday and pray together under the leadership of a sacristan in cassock and cotta.
The Assumptionist is published by the Augustinians of the Assumption. at the Priory, Victoria Park Square, London, E.2.