Page 10, 23rd June 1972

23rd June 1972
Page 10
Page 10, 23rd June 1972 — Focus on Facts and People
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Focus on Facts and People

Resources of the Church there to be used

MR. DAVID HOBMAN,

chairman of the new Social Welfare Commission of England and Wales, would like to see the resources of the Church used more widely.

"It is one of the witnesses of the Church to make its services available, "he said. "1 would like to see links like ours with the Catholic Housing Aid Society. as technical oonsultants, announced at our first meeting, extended to other specialised Church bodies."

The temporary Social Welfare Commission, founded in 1967, also under the chairmanship of Mr. Hobman, has an impressive achievement record. But as none of these has involved members chaining themselves to the railings of the welfare office or similar dramatic activities, the Press has taken little note.

Much of the Commission's energy went on setting up Catholic Regional Child Care Committees throughout the country to take advantage of the Children and Young Persons Act of 1969. The Commission brought together Diocesan Committees and religious orders working individually in the field and appointed a permanent child care secretary for England and Wales, Fr. Michael Connelly.

The Commission also organised seminars on social work to help religious orders moving into the field, and counselled individual priests and nuns on social welfare problems.

Mr. Hobman organised the Social Work Advisory Service, originally a voluntary body, now adopted brthe Government, before becoming Director of the National Old People's Welfare Council, which he has helped re-name "Age Concern" to describe the dynamic new approach it has adopted in campaigning for the old.

The new I 5-member Commission is currently finding out what the Church can do to help the mentally handicapped, alcoholics, drug addicts, the elderly and juvenile delinquents.

Drive-in car park service

A BAPTIST drive-in drive out church service to attract people who might not otherwise come inside a church, began in Hereford on Sunday. The Rev. William Cobley, the minister of the Commercial Road Church, described the idea as "an absolute experiment" in which he hoped Cathokic priests and others might join.

"We cleared a ear park and i

made t as pleasant as pos

sible." he said. "For the services on Sunday night we hired a Hammond organ and pulpit and the church choir was placed around this.

"We sang the sort of hymns you hear at weddings, and traffic marshals gave a songsheet to the people in each car as they arrived," he said. Members of the congregation preached one-minute sermons and the service lasted 30 m mutes.

Attempted interruptions, he said. were dealt with by the loudness of the amplifiers and the brevity of the sermons. "The very noise of things going on on a quiet Sunday night attracted groups of youths who wander round with nothing to do who would never otherwise attend," said Mr. Cobley.

The service differs from the more conventional type in one other important respect no collection is taken.

For decencyand against

A LLEGAT1ONS in the

magazine Nova this month that the Festival of Light was the voice of the conservative "British backlash" were hotly denied by its secretary, Mr. Steve Stevens. Sketches with the article show Lord Longford, Malcolm Muggeridge and Mrs. Mary Whitehouse giving the "oneway" sign and police dragging off long-haired "undesirables."

Mr. Stevens said the sign a hand with one finger pointing at the sky was not used by the Festival. He went on to confirm that the movement did subscribe to many of the beliefs satirised.

"Only a very small vocal • minority are pushing the permissive society." he said. "Some of them tried to take over a meeting to sign our petition of decency in Sheffield recently. When we asked those in its favour to raise their hands, more than 80 per cent did so."

The Festival of Light concentrated much of its effort to re-establish morality on the media, he said. The reaction of many people to what they saw and heard on radio and television today was : "Look, we've had enough."

Much of the material was really bad, said Mr. Stevens. Respect for the law had decreased, but Scotland Yard felt there was very little they could do. It seemed there had been a complete brainwashing. People were trying all the time to go a stage further, especially with pornography.

Remarking on the increasing occurrence of pictures showing "full frontal nudity," he said that in Denmark the trend was to show bestiality. He thought Ken Russell's film, "The Devils" a good example of what was happening in Britain. Many religious people believed ' it blasphemy.

Mr. Stevens is investigating pornography on the news stands, and believes its display is putting young people at risk. "I have recently seen pornography displayed within six inches of children's magazines at one newsagent's stand." he said.

He said he was very surprised by the article in Nova. "The journalist who wrote it, Ian Cotton, spent a lot of time with us," he said. "We liked him very much and felt he agreed with us."

Aid for 'frozen' children

rir HE new interdenomina.

tional group "Women Caring," started in May, received £250 from Cardinal Heenan this week for its imaginative scheme to help Northern Ireland's "frozen" children.

Mrs. Guinevere Tilney, Catholic chairman of the Liverpool section. the wife of a Liverpool Conservative M.P., said the money raised would be used for play-buses "playrooms on wheels" staffed by trained youth leaders.

She said: "Many Northern Ireland children are simply frozen by the situation they have lived in. They have to be taught to play and communicate." ded to work for peace and understanding in Northern Ireland and to try and break down religious and political prejudices there. Mrs. Patricia Fisher, the chairman of its North Surrey section, is the wife of the Conservative M.P. for Surbiton.

Five play-buses are already operating in Belfast, run by the Voluntary Service Bureau, Mrs. Tilney said: "When we sent one of our members there to find out whet we could do, she found the playbus scheme-operating among all denominations a great success with mothers and children.

"The Northern Ireland Government provides 75 per cent of the cost if we raise 25 per cent. We are looking for both money and toys. Cheques keep coming in since we announced our scheme publicly earlier this month and we hope to form groups all over the country very soon."

The idea was to encourage the women and children of the Six Counties to help themselves.

"We hope to finance two buses for a start," said Mrs. Tilney. "The buses visit all communities and we would like to see the children of all denominations using them together, but this may not be possible for a while." Donations may be sent to: "Women Caring," 3 Victoria Square, London, SWI.

Distributing the Pill

DR. MALCOLM POTTS, Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, suggested last week that contraceptive pills could be distributed by health visitors.

Speaking at a press conference called by oral contraceptive manufacturers, he said that the pill appeared to be getting safer, only 13 deaths being attributed to it in 1970 according to Depaitrnent of Health statistics.

Permitting health visitors to give out the pill would relieve doctors of having to write boring routine prescriptions, he said.

Mr. Caspar Brook, Director of the 'Family Planning Association -.a member body of the 1.P.P.F. said medical workers who specialised in contraception were likely to be appointed.

Afrikaner Christianity

MANY white South Africans believed themselves to be the last outpost of truly Christian civilisation, an English-born priest who lives there said last week..

Calvin had believed that one United Church would never come about, he said, and so did the Dutch Reformed Church, whic:1 supported apartheid. It believed that each integral social group formed its own Church which preserved the group's culture and beliefs.

But there was a danger today of the original myth of Afrikaner superiority being replaced by Nazi beliefs in blood and soil, absolute power. The present Prime Minister had been detained as a Nazi sympathiser during the last war.

The priest, who asked that his name should not be revealed, said he believed the real security felt by the ruling Nationalist Party stemmed not so much from their monopoly of phye:cal power but the fact that the West needed to keep the Cape route safe for oil supplies. Africans were expendable in the face of a possibe threat to fuel.

Much of the criticism of apartheid by English speaking South Africans was hypocritical. he said. They accepted all that the Afrikaner system gave them. "You will also find when today's students graduate. they will strongly resent any blacks coming between them and a high wage and standard of living."

The priest admitted that the Catholic Church could do a lot more, though only 8 per cent of South Africa's whites and the same proportion of blacks were Catholic. But they were caught in a cleft stick. They could not at the same time fulfil their pastoral duties and become political agitators.

My way is to teach social ethics using the papal encyclicals, If l read Pacem in Terris aloud at the base of Paul Kruger's statue in Johannesburg 1 would be thrown into prison."




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