ANOTHER YEAR OF FRUITFUL C.T.S. WORK The Box-Tenders' Labours
When the Catholic Truth Society held its annual meeting yesterday in the Cathedral Hall at Westminster the members present had before them a report replete with matter for satisfaction. In the C.T.S. list there is a widely-sold little book with the title Words of Encouragement. That title would fit hardly less well the Society's report for 1935, for tbat document tells eloquently, in figures and statements, of another highly gratifying year.
Less than twelve months ago the vacancy in the see of Westminster was filled by the appointment of Monsignor Hinsley to the archbishopric. His Grace at once consented to become president of the C.T.S., as his eminent predecessor, Cardinal Bourne, had been before him; and he immediately showed his trust in the Society by entrusting it with the convening of the British section of the International Press Exhibition, to be held next month in the Vatican City. Activities in connection with that event—the "preview" at Westminster is within recent recollection—have kept energies at work up till the present time.
The Nimble " Twopennies "
The report records a sale, in 1935, of close upon 1,371,500 pamphlets, a total little short of that attained in 1934, the Society's jubilee year. The good accomplished by these widely-circulating brochures is incalculable, alike on the devo tional and instructional sides. Many grateful letters have been received at Eccleston Square, many enquiries about the Faith answered, and many persons put in touch with priests or catechists.
But also, as Mr. Boland emphasises, by means of these pamphlets "Catholics, learned and unlearned alike, are acquiring a deeper knowledge of their religion and so drawing nearer to God."
The canonisation of SS. John Fisher and Thomas More naturally created a great demand for pamphlets on these martyrs. Of the life of St. Thomas More by Mgr. P. E. Hallett 15,600 were sold, of Miss Lloyd's life of the saint for children 2,800, and 5,450 of the martyr's own Meditations and Prayers. St. John Fisher, by Noel Macdonald Wilby, sold 16,700, and the same writer's Footsteps of St. Thomas More 3,100. A new pamphlet by Mgr. Hallett, The Martyrdoms of SS. John Fisher and Thomas More, which deals with the legal aspect of the trials and repels other charges brought against the two saints, sold in less than six months over 5,000 copies.
On the Screen
Those who think of the Catholic Truth Society only in relation to its output of printed matter, by its many volumes as well as by its many hundreds of pamphlets, get into their minds but a very inadequate idea of the activities of this progressive organisation. To take, for instance, two of the subsidiary works: films and lantern slides, it will probably be a surprising revelation to some that in the first complete year's working of the 16 mm. silent moving Film Library no fewer than 1,768 reels were sent out on hire; of these about ten per cent. were films of definite Catholic interest. During the same period the Society sent out to hirers 451 sets of lantern slides.
At the close of 1935 the membership stood at 13,387. • If the C.T.S. h,d its deserts that figure would be more than doubled.
Propaganda in the Open, in branch areas, we are told, the most striking development of the Society's work has been the setting up of C.T.S. stalls on Saturdays in the public markets of Manchester, Blackburn and Stretford. The stalls are in the charge of the Salford branch, with which the Evidence Guild and the Legion of Mary are co-operating. The work undoubtedly offers great possibilities, but' it is too soon to give detailed results.
Work in the church porches is now being carried on, by the efforts of 1,915 box-tenders, in just upon 1,630 centres. An interesting glimpse of international cooperation is afforded by the news that on Whit Sunday last year the members of the Oeuvre du Tract Catholique of Belgium united with the members of the Boxtenders' Association to pray for the success of the work of the church door cases throughout the world.