I N the columns of The Times the argument continues, 'IL between people of all persuasions and none, about the need, or otherwise, for denominational schools. Let us put the Catholic case in clear terms.
The reason we want Catholic schools is not to protect young Catholics from the world of secular scholarship which has so much to offer. Rather it is to form men and women able to give to the nation the integration, purpose, precision, depth and sense of adventure we derive from seeing creation in the context of its Creator.
The message of the Catholic school to the nation is that human knowledge, in all its variety and complexity, resembles the multi-coloured beams of a prism, breaking down for finite men the infinite simplicity of the one truth which is God. As Newsom showed, the nation needs young people with a dear sense of direction; rooted in firm moral principle; inspired by clearly defined ideals; and strong, in an age of uncertainty, in their hold on absolute truth.
For the Catholic child, his personal introduction to Christ should come first in the home. His mutually enriching dialogue with secular society should come in the university. But it is in the intermediate stage, the school, that he learns to integrate the life of revelation and faith with that of reason and scientific investigation and forms an abiding habit of mind. This is something that parents cannot do for him.
Here, then, is the case for Catholic education. But it must be acknowledged that not all our schools are doing this job. Many are excellent but in others, we hear of heavy lapsation rates, low educational standards, ineffective discipline. Side by side with dedicated teachers are others whose own faith is too feeble to enlighten and lead others.
Though our case for Catholic schools is strong, there does arise the point of whether it would be better to have fewer schools of better quality than to try to go on running a gigantic sausage machine that takes the flavour out of the sausage. The strength of our case lies in quality; more than that, it is only so long as we can prove that our schools are doing what we say they should do that we can answer critics of the religious schools system.
Our aim, therefore, must be to make Catholic education more and more efficient not only at the level of the individual school but in its whole structure.
REMEMBERING THE LONELY
A NEW BOOK, Old and Alone, is the latest sign that we are facing up to a heavy penalty that is being paid for modem welfare. Thanks to the benefits of the medical and social sciences, people today are being given a much longer lease of life than they can handle.
In Britain there are 1,300,000 people aged over 65 who live alone. The numbers are growing, not only because people are now living longer but because they are marrying younger, so that when they reach middle age their children are in turn already married off.
On top of this, as houses grow more plentiful there is less absolute need for old people to live with their children. But though they may have their own houses, their health often fails, and retirement has brought money troubles with it.
Their particular trouble, loneliness, does not fit into any of the more tangible kinds of distress that are tackled every day by the experts such as G.P.s and social workers. As a result, only too often, the old have to end up in homes or mental institutions.
At the same time as the number of lonely people grows, the world is becoming a more unfriendly place. Social welfare is to a great extent replacing Christian charity.
In practice this has meant a more all-round application of social justice. But it also means that individuals in the community no longer feel the same sense of personal responsibility to their worse-off neighbours. And the big cities especially are becoming hives of watertight cells solitary house or flat occupiers who sit perpetually looking out of their windows.
It is a depressing picture. Perhaps that is why we have for too long been neglecting the fast-growing problem of the aged and lonely.
But society must, and soon, get down to working out a way of coping with it. For society is doing poor service to people in handing them an extra 20 years of life, if it is only 20 years of misery.
A CCORDING to a recent issue of New Christ' ian the Catholic Church in this country plans to build 1,000 new churches during the next ten years. Taking the cost of a new church at a conservative £50,000 this will mean a bill for £50m., a yearly expenditure of £5m.
If we take—at a guess—the average weekly Mass offering of every man, woman and child at a liberal 2/-, the total income from three million Mass-goers will be £1.5m each year. Therefore a third of the Church's income will be spent on building churches. this without taking into account new chapels and schools.
That seems quite a high percentage in days when so much is needed for other aspects of the Church's mission.
IN other countries it is quite usual for priests to volunteer for the missions, but the idea is still in its infancy in England. In September the six pioneers who have answered Cardinal Heenan's appeal for secular clergy to come forward for this work will leave for their destinations. Two will go to Northern Uganda and four to South America.
One of those going to Northern Uganda is Fr. Denys Lucas, headmaster of St. Hugh's, the preparatory school for St. Edmund's College, Ware, for many years, and more recently the parish priest at Mile End, London.
He will go for three years with the option of returning for a further period. For the past month he has 4 been preparing by doing a catechetics course at Corpus Christi College
"I'm not sure what work I will be doing, but I think it will be cateWok, , "AM chetics."
Why does someone, 24 years a teacher, then a parish priest, suddenly volunteer to work in a tough and unknown country? "I volunteered because I was very conscious of this aspect of the universal Church," Fr. Lucas says.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK from Victor Ridder. president and publisher of the New York Archdiocesan newspaper, the Catholic News: "The Catholic News is a conservative paper and its policies will not be affected by the Vatican Council, except insofar as the Archdiocese may change."
Life and the car
AN unusual book arrived in the office this week. Called I for the road, it makes the motor car a iDarable of daily life. Peter Bander, a lecturer in religious education at the Cambridge Institute of Education has written it for young people leaving school.
He takes the care of the car as his blue-print for life: running-in the engine becomes the gentle casing into adult life from school: servicing becomes the ordinary self-appraisal of the Christian: the car's controls becomes one's own self control, and so on ... a fascinating approach.
I for the road has been published by Colin Smyth. It is his first book, but he has an impressive list scheduled for his first year's activities.
Wanted : skilled men
aN the last Sunday of this month Archbishop Roberts, Si. will be preaching at every Mass at St. John's, Islington in North London. His purpose will be to interest people in a "new look" St. Vincent de Paul Society that Fr. Vincent Rochford, the parish priest, is planning.
"First of all," Fr. Rochford told me, "we are appealing to people to let us know other people's needs. We also want to establish a panel of skilled men—electricians, carpenters, decorators and so on.
"In this way, when we hear of an old lady whose radio has gone wrong, or an old couple whose plumbing is in need of repair, we will be able to call on our skilled workers and do something about it.
"We shall be a group of people with technical skills at the disposal of the aged and infirm."
'THE American Post Office is in hot water with 'THE Polish government which alleges that the Americans don't know a Polish eagle when they see one. Unless the United States gets its birds straight Poland has threatened to return mail bear ing a new U.S. stamp honouring Poland's millennium of Christianity.
The protest over the new stamp was delivered last week. At the centre of the controversy is a five-cent red and white stamp showing a Polish eagle wearing a crown against the backdrop of a shield.
My source for this information says that the Communist government of Poland claims the eagle used is of a pre-World War II hatching and therefore not a Communist bird. The Communist eagle is different, they say.
But the Americans disagree. They hold strongly to the view that there is not one feather different about the old Polish eagle and the new one, except that the eagle on their stamp has a crown on its head. Back now to the Communists who say that they have no objection at all to the crown but it is the bird they don't like.
There, for the moment, the case rests.
Hippo for lunch
REG R ETI4ULLY I have to report that last week's declaration in the House of Commons that "a sausage is not a meht" will not affect the Friday Fast rules.
We are not quite as flexible on this as they appear to be in Africa where a bishop once gave a local tribe permission to eat Hippo on Friday. His reasoning was that as the Hippo spent more time in the water than on land it could be classified as a fish.
A new Creation
'TONY STRATTON-SMITH, Liverpool jour nalist and author of a best-selling novel The Rebel Nun, has turned from writing to managing pop groups. One of his latest acquisitions is "The Creation", four boys whose new record Making Time is steadily climbing the charts. But Tony has had a little trouble because people have written to say that the group's name is blasphemous.
Among the letter-writers was Lord Hill of Luton, the Chairman of I.T.A., who thought it might offend
many Christians. So Tony wrote to Archbishop Ramsey and Cardinal Heenan to ask their views. The result? Both think the name is O.K., and the Archbishop added: "The best of luck to the boys".
Principles for ecumenism
CARDINAL LEGER of Montreal, one of the world's most liberal-minded bishops, suggested some interesting "rules or guide-lines for a sane and productive ecumenism" at a recent clergy-laity congress in Canada.
The first of these he called the Principle of SelfDiscipline. "I can best express this as follows," he said. "'to say nothing, to do nothing which will be contrary to the ecumenical ideal and the eager search for Christian unity."
And the Cardinal's second rule, the Principle of Participation : "I understand by this an attitude which is clearly positive, even adventurous, an attitude which must he adopted towards any undertaking which could contribute in any way to Christian unity. We must gradually remake Christian unity by acting together every time we can."
Cardinal Leger's third approach was the Principle of Constant Return to our Saviour. "Prayer," he said, "has an irreplaceable role in the ecumenical adventure. By a kind of instinct the Christian turns to God when he becomes aware of the sin of separation and of the great difficulties which stand in the way of re-union."
Explaining his fourth guide-line, the Principle of Humility, the Cardinal said: "It is, I think, words and deeds of humility which will fell the most obstacles on the road to Christian unity. It is because of humility that men are impelled to turn their reforming instincts to themselves rather than to others."
"Finally." he concluded, "there is the Principle of Depth and Patience. Let us not deceive ourselves— the practice of ecumenism is not easy, and we must MARY LOMAX has lust had her third London exhibition at which she exhibited 44 paintings. The one above is of Fr. Michael Hollings, Chaplain to Oxford University.
beware of what I can only call a trivilization of this great movement. This is not a counsel to go slow, nor to say we must be careful, nor that we have had too much ecumenism. No ! but I am saying we do not have enough of the real thing.
"We must look ahead, we must build, there must be no time wasted in vain invective or the reliving of quarrels which took place long ago. In a world where millions are starving, where millions have never heard of Christ, can we dare, we, in the face of our Redeemer, compromise our witness to him?"
Mass in Esperanto
pSPERANTO—that's the latest language of the Mass. The Pope has given permission for its use in the Lessons and Prayer of the Faithful at Masses celebrated during gatherings of Esperanto students.
According to the British Esperanto Association there are 8 million Esperanto-speakers in 83 countries. Many priests are among these, and there is even a Catholic Esperanto Organisation.
This continues to publish one of the movement's earliest magazines, Espero Katolika which was founded in 1903, only 16 years after Dr. Zamenhof had formulated his ideas for an "international language."
Perhaps in years to come we will have an Esperanto Mass Society.
THIS piece by Richard Hadel, which i repro duce from the magazine America, is called "From the Epistle of St. Paul to the Americans", but change a few words and it is equally relevant on this side of the Atlantic.
"I point out to you a yet more excellent way. if we should conquer the skies and reach the moon before all others, but do not have charity toward our fellow countrymen, we have become like horns honking in a traffic jam. And if we make marvellous advances in technology and psychology and all other fields of knowledge so as to carve canals through mountains, yet do not have charity towards our fellow countrymen, we are nothing.
"If we distribute our wealth to feed the poor of Latin America, and if we deliver our bodies to be burned in the jungles of the world, yet do not have charity towards our fellow countrymen, it profits us nothing.
"Charity towards our fellow countrymen is patient with those who have not enjoyed the same educational opportunities as we have had, is kind towards the backward. Charity towards our fellow countrymen does not envy minority groups who are trying to improve their lot.
"Charity rejoices with the truth—and it is the plain truth that every American has the right to vote, the right to fair housing opportunities, the right to compete for a job for which he is qualified.
"Charity towards our fellow countrymen never fails. Our rockets will burn out, and our knowledge will be superseded. But our charity towards our fellow countrymen will bear to all nations a message of sincerity that they cannot fail to hear.
"One hundred years ago our nation's charity was that of a child. Now that our nation has become a man, let us put away the things of a child. Let us recognize in deeds the dignity of all men—even those of our country. So there remain faith in our technology, hope for continued prosperity, and charity towards our fellow countrymen, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."