Sir,—Speaking in the House of Lords on July 7 in a debate on community care, Lord Strabolgi condemned the practice of "stripping" in an unnamed mental hospital near London.
Sir,—The review, in your issue of JOJy 9, of the books of Nelson Mandela and Ruth First make cheerless reading. It is obviously not your reviewer's concern to put his public in the picture regarding the situation in presence of which the South African Government finds it necessary to prosecute people like Mandela and to detain people like Miss First. Almost one would gather that there was in his opinion something morally reprehensible in their having been incommoded.
Memories are short. It seems only yesterday that many in Britain were frankly relieved, given the nature of his offence, that Mandela had not been sentenced to death. And it is commonly forgotten in what circumstances a parliament in other respects far from united gave its all but unanimous backing to a law under which persons suspected of having certain sorts of information might be held until willing to share it with the police.
Your reviewer, with what relevance I imperfectly perceive, ascribes the quality of saintliness to Mandela. Is it suggested that saints should be acquitted of their criminal doings while sinners should not? Those who believe in the sacred right of every individual whose conscience demands it to challenge by lawless methods the authority of the State are no doubt entitled to their position.
But they can hardly without hypocrisy affect surprise that leaders freely re-elected, albeit by voters almost all of them white, to push on with their current programme of self-determination for the African peoples in South Africa, should be faithful to their elementary responsibility for the upholding of the law. Your reviewer is right to recollect that persons accused of crimes in South Africa are not automatically convicted. And it is well that he makes no explicit question of Mandela's trial having been meticulously fair. But his purpose in writing as he so intemperately does will he plain enough to every thoughtful reader: and those who find happiness in having someone to hate will presumably be glad of what he implies about the rulers of South Africa today.
Professor C. A. W. Manning London, W.2.
Sir.--David Crawford's review of Smoking, Heald: and Personality would appear to have been written by a tobacco manufacturer. I quote: "The whole basis of the lung cancer scare is statis
tical . . the link is not a specific one".
What dangerous rubbish! Your reviewer appears to he unaware of the recent research by Drs. Dale L. Tipton, and T. Timothy Crocker. of the University of California School of Medicine, which was sponsored by the American Cancer Society.
Drs. Tipton and Crocker reported to the Society in due
6.1,11/ SC that: "In a startlingly short time", only three days after applying cigarette tars to the bronchi of animals, mucus and cilia cells began to disappear.
'They were replaced by "abnormal pathological cells". the most sommon condition being squamous metaplasia. The researchers rewrded these physiological changes ---common among smokers: rare among non-smokers—"as among ihr first in the development of lung tamer'".
When the exposure to cigarette tars stopped. the condition began immediately to clear tip. Healthy mucus and cilia cells again appeared, and the whole condition cleared up in 18 weeks.
Tipton and Crocker found that the cells most affected by the cigarette tars were not the mature adult cells that line the surfaces of the bronchial passages, but the "basal" cells. which normally become mature surface cells as the older surface cells die off. Diseased basal cells never become normal.
The Research Department of the American Cancer Society reported that the period for "a "malignant and irreversible cell change" to take place depended on the individual: "Some right away ... sonic a period of years".
Out of a concern for truth, commercial morality. and the paper's circulation in years to come. please will you find space for this correction?
Dillon McCarthy, London. S.E.3.
Sir,--Is there any reason for the quite gratuitous insult to the separated brethren of the West in the CTS translation of the De Ocrumenismo?
The Vatican Polyglot Text uses upper case for the word Ecclesia throughout the decree; while the CTS reserves the upper case for the 'Catholic Church' when it means the Church of Rome throughout the introduction and chapters one and two.
When it reaches chapter three it gives upper case to the Eastern Churches but reverts to lower case for the non-Roman Churches of the West.
This suggests that the Council distinguishes in some way between 'Churches' with apostolic succession a nd 'churches' without. There is no such typographical snobbery in the Vatican text.
The Vatican text also uses upper case for the word 'Communities and even. in Section 13. 5th paragraph, for the word Commit. which the CTS translates 'groups'. The CTS does not.
The Vatican text nowhere uses upper case for the adjective 'catholic': the CTS does so throughout the decree.
There is one concession — the 'Anglican Communion' is allowed upper case in section 13: Polyglot text Cotnmanio anglicana. There is no pro-English bias in the Conciliar Latin.
C. J. A. Lash, Dorchester,
He explained that patients housed in the hospital, merely because they are old, have all their personal possessions removed. including spectacles, deaf-aids and dentures. They are given nothing to do, and cannot even read or sew.
He remarked on the infrequency with which these patients receive visits from the clergy. Here the Bishop of Lichfield (Dr. Reeve) interrupted him to say that every hospital has accredited Anglican, Free Church and Catholic chaplains visiting regularly. Lord Strabolgi insisted that these visits are few.
When you come to think of it, this is not surprising. There are thirteen Government mental hospitals in the London area having more than 2.000 patients. The chaplains, with usually parishes of their own to attend to, have in addition to try and serve the needs of these mental and geriatric patients, housed in vast, sprawling buildings one end of which may be ten minutes' walk from the.other.
What is surprising is that the abominable practice of "stripping" should be existing, apparently without much protest, in a mental hospital which is regularly visited by three Christian chaplains. Nor does this disgrace appear restricted to one hospital.
Miss Sheila Benson, of the London School of Economics, who is assisting Professor Peter Townsend in a survey of the aged in hospital, recently told a daily newspaper that the hospital described by Lord Strabolgi could be one of several; she would find it hard to identify from what he has said.
Are the clergy visiting these hospitals trying to stop this inhuman treatment of our helpless old people?
Lord Strabolgi paid tribute to the way in which the aged are cared for by nuns in a certain convent home. Let us hope that our priests, too, are doing their duty by them.
Very Rev, Daniel Woolgar, 0.P., London, N.W.5.
Sir.—In the translation of the "lie missa est"; why do we have to have the meaningless "Go this is the dismissal" instead of "Go you are sent forth"?
Surely the Latin word "missa" comes from the same root ea "missions" and "commissions": we are sent forth to our everyday lives as the Pope sends the missionaries from Rome.
To say: "Go, the Mass is ended" seems both unnecessary and uninspiring. Surely the whole point of re-presenting Christ's Passion each day is that We should go With Christ In Us to continue His work in the 20th century. For this great privilege we say "Thanks be to God".
(Miss) A. 1'. Bray, Orpington, Kent.
Sir,—May I assure your readers that the Bishops are not so childish as to appoint only sycophants to the NCLA? As for the fate of those who proffer unpalatable advice to their Lordships, we have done so—and lived.
K.G.T. Mcponnell, Chairman, NCLA. London W.C.1,
SIR,—In the June 25 issue of the CATHOLIC HERALD the question of vocations was treated from the standpoint of priests young and old and of lay people. But one important omission, we feel. was made—no comments from seminarians were included. With this in view, we, as seminarians half-way through our studies, would like to repair the omission by offering our comments.
It is beyond all doubt that the real task of making the aggiorna'tient° a reality fur the Church lies on our generation. The older generations can sit down, appreciate it and apply it, but in a limited way. We, however, are growing up with the new spirit in the Church: for us, it is a very real force in our lives.
Furthermore, we are children of our age; if we want to succeed in leading our generation and others, we must remain in close contact with people outside.
We must be given every opportunity for practising solid Christian living, even now. We don't expect to be given the functions of a priest to perform, but we do expect work suitable for our age, from the earliest years in the seminary.
As A. E. C. W. Spencer, in his article on the "Vocations Crisis", pointed out there is a tension between the different generations in the seminary. When the authorities. older men usually, adopt a sceptical or indifferent attitude towards the new theologians, whom the students in the final year in the Junior Seminary and the first year Philosophy simply feed on, some alienation is inevitable. This intergeneration tension is further reflected in the division of opinion over such things as appreciation of modern music and art forms.
Against this background of inter-generation tension the flaws in the seminary system can become annoying. The antiquated system
itaifcharacterformationpline used in character
formation is often purely negative, constructive approach to the individual.
The opposite extreme, namely, the process of relaxation of discipline, does not mean. as some people seem to think, that things are becoming easier for the seminarian. On the contrary. what is required is a greater sense of personal responsibility which does not allow the weak conformist to drift through.
As regards spiritual training, no blueprint to suit all seminarians can be produced. But to any student completing half his course. such things as excess formal community prayer and public reading during meditation in the morning are often cramping and difficult—as Fr. R. Graf has pointed out in his book, "The Power of Prayer".
If we are to become dynamic Christian leaders and fulfil our priestly vocation, we must be given every opportunity for fruitful development. The "production-line" methods, which result in so many rejects, must be finally abolished. and with it the kneading and uniform moulding of character.
It is obvious to peoplesliving in any community that an intelligent approach to the individual's problems of development is needed; especially is this the case in seminaries where the communities are made up of people hetween the critical ages of 12 to 24.
Finally, we want to see an end to the complacent attitude of ". . these changes will come soon enough", and a recognition of our right to stand in the sunlight and not in the dim light of early dawn.
Patrick Breslin Michael Tuckett
Sir,—As a former lay-missionary, I 'have seen at first hand the enormous difficulties with which our missionaries are faced, particularly the medical missionaries. They need cash, medicines, medical supplies and equipment, etc.
We have national societies to raise help for the animal societies run by dedicated laymen and women, but we have no national Catholic society to give help to the medical missionaries. In this we are behind many other countries.
I am conscious of the great work done by the various orders and congregations who raise help for their respective missions, but could we not take an example from Germany. from Holland or America and set up an organisation run by layfolk, to help our mission hospitals? This would release the priest. the brother and the nun from the task of raising funds so that they may be free to cater for the sick. the lame and the poor, etc., without the worry of the administration involved in raising help. The idea of a medical mission aid society is not a new one. I have discussed it with religious, with doctors and with laymen. Whilst all agree that it would be a worthwhile venture and a necessary one that it could work here as it does in other countries, we should need some initial finance to put the scheme on its feet, and many keen voluntary :workers throughout the country to build it up and keep it going.
If there are others who arc interested in this scheme and would like to hear more about it or would like to help. I would gladly tell them of what I have in mind and how they could help in this urgent and necessary form of apostolate.
D. B. Williams, 18 Queens Gate Terrace,
Sir.—Has the liturgical wheel turned full circle in less than twelve months?
"Mass may he said in the vernacular even if the congregation does not actually participate or make vocal responses" quotes your report (July 16) on the Liturgical Commission.
One might be forgiven for wondering what the pastoral justification for this variation will be.
We have largely lost the Latin liturgy, on the grounds of nonparticipation (although this was never true of a properly-conducted Latin dialogue Mass).
Are we now ironically faced with official approval of a silent vernacular Mass?
Sir,—The very simple answer to Me Michael O'Connor (July 16) is that we have not been ordered by our Bishop in this diocese to insert the Bidding Prayers and have been forbidden to take instructions from the press, which is sometimes inaccurate. as apparently in this case in saying that all the Bishops in England and Wales have ordered their insertion.
We understand that some Bishops ordered the introduction of the Bidding Prayers on July 4. or, if more convenient, in the Autumn.—Editor.
The value of Catholic schools
Sir.—I should like to endorse wholeheartedly the sentiments expressed by Mr. John F. Williams (July 2) in his letter about Catholic schools, and at the same time ask you to clarify your editorial comment after it. You say that no other letter "has suggested any better way of achieving what is expected of the Catholic school system".
Better than the present system, do you mean, or better than Mr. Williams' proposal for dropping Catholic schools and providing an improved service of religious instruction? If the former meaning was intended, then we are clearly in a bad way, if the "leakage" figures (anything between 50 and 75 per cent) are to be believed, Again you say "subsidising the schools need not conflict with loving one's neighbour", as Mr. Williams suggests. It is quite true that many Catholics will cheerfully foot their rates bill, answer the church's appeals for building funds, and finally give a (necessarily) restricted amount to deserving charities.
But. needless to say. many will not he able to do this. many others will feel "put upon" by rating and clerical authorities to do so, and the general upshot of all this will be a failing in charity of the good Samaritan type, i.e. towards all. not just Catholic deserving causes.
I may he misinterpreting Mr. Williams in thinking. however, that his reference to "loving one's neighbour" was intended in a wider sense than a purely financial one: that instead of cutting ourselves off from a seemingly dangerous and graceless majority. we should do our hest to unite with them in as many ways as possible.
If only we could finance schools for those who really need them —in the developing countries, for instance—out of love for our
neighbour instead of fear, as we seem to do now, we could satisfy our consciences as social creatures as well as Catholic ones. Molloy,
Sir,—As a Catholic parent who has lost a very considerable sum of money through not going to live where there were no Catholic schools for my five children, may answer the letter from John F.
Of course, the home counts first and foremost in the raising of good Catholics, but I firmly believe, and many other ordinary Catholics do ton, that the school should be complementary to the home.
I am not worried about the type of religious instruction in school but about the whole atmosphere of the school itself. I am told that no indoctrination goes on in State schools, but surely if a Council school has a sincere Communist or Jehovah's Witness on its staff (and there is no reason why it should not have) then their very creed impels them to put over their ideas to everyone possible.
I could counteract errors taught in any kind of doctrine class but could not keep track of every lesson with all the attendant ideas which could be put across.
I think our Catholic schools are vitally necessary. I don't advocate building more and more superconcrete and glass edifices. A good healthy building and good teachers are all that is necessary.
One final point. I often think that those who uncomplainingly support the building of schools and churches are thc ones who put their backs into supporting many other good causes. Christ was once told that it would have been better if a precious ointment had been sold and the money given to the poor. He had a very quick answer r;iaarydy. Josephine Kerbey Liverpool, 19
Sir,—It is apparent from the Labour Government's circular on comprehensive education that its sole aim is the abolition of the grammar schools.
It seems highly relevant therefore that one should enquire what the educational case for the grammar schools is, and what the grounds are on which these established institutions are to be replaced in the near future by improvised ones, As I conceive it, the argument for selective secondary education is analogous to that for Catholic schools. It is that, for maximum results, the teaching of academic subjects is not enough; such teaching needs to be given in institutions where academic standards and cultural values are given pre-eminence.
The case against the grammar schools is not, apparently, that they are failing in their educational function, but that the existence of separate schools is destructive of social unity.
Those who regard this latter argument as decisive must surely explain how, in that case, we can he justified in having Catholic schools of any kind. After all. the existence of Catholic schools entails the educational segregation children from the same neighOourhood, and not just from the age of eleven, but from the time they are five years old.
W. J. Morgan, Leeds, 4,