BY A STAFF REPORTER RACE, Relations Committee has been set up by the Bishops of England and Wales to advise the hierarchy and act for it.
The formation of the committee was recommended in a report presented to the Bishops at their Westminster meeting earlier this month by the Social Welfare Commission. which had set up a Working Party consisting of the Bishop of Northampton, Bishops Emery and Cleary, Monsignor John O'Connor, Kevin Muir, Lewis Donnelly, Mrs. Anne Dummett and Fr. Kelvin Felix.
The Working Party met representatives of the immigrant community in Bradford and Wolverhampton in the Spring of this year, and the Report to the Bishops' Conference was based on their recommendations.
Another decision taken at Westminster was to write a joint Pastoral Letter on ethical and moral issues. This will be published early in December.
MIXED MARRIAGES Further action or directives on mixed marriages, the development of a national representative body of priests, the Review Committee on Commissions and the National Catholic Fund, are also promised.
Information is also being collected, following publication of the Vatican document, on the Work of Councils of Priests. These are Diocesan bodies which advise the Bishops, who wish to give further consideration to their role and membership. The Conference also discussed at some length the way in which priest-chaplains can help the work of lay organisations.
The new Race Relations Committee, which will advise the hierarchy and act for it, will have the following terms of reference: a) To carry out a role of education leading to action through all levels of the Church. This will be done mainly through channels open to the Laity Commission, who will undertake the task.
b) To set up at diocesan level machinery to undertake the pressing pastoral task which the situation demands. Action and a real response to the needs of immigrants must be undertaken by each diocese.
c) To play a full part in the review of the Hierarchy's Commissions and to press for greater official involvement in the question of race relations.
The Committee will be chaired by Bishop Cleary, with members from the Laity, Social Welfare, Justice and Peace, and Education Commissions. It will work closely with the body set up by the British Council of Churches.
The discussion on chaplains had particular reference to youth organisations. Leadership, it was said, required technical professionalism, and was properly exercised by trained laymen. The work of the Chaplain, however, was to point out the relevance of the Gospel to all the activities undertaken. Michael Foley, the new President of the umbrella Con ference of National Catholic Youth Organisations, pointed out in a letter to the Bishops that the provision of "apostolic training and formation" for young people was an urgent priority.
Students in seminaries should particularly be made aware of the need, and should he helped and encouraged to give their attention to the problems and approach of the good chaplain.
The bishops expressed their agreement with this.
Cardinal Heenan greets Anglican General Synod CARDINAL HEENAN will attend the opening of the new General Synod of the Church of England at Church House, Westminster, on the afternoon of November 4. Along with leaders of other Christian churches he will convey greetings to the synod.
Among those attending the opening service in the morning will be the Queen, the Prime Minister, the Labour and Liberal leaders, representatives of the major non Catholic churches in Britain and a representative of the World Council of Churches.
During the past three months Anglican parishes have elected diocesan synods which in turn have elected representatives to the General Synod, which will give greater weight to the voice of the laity.