By Mgr. Cyril TAYLOR
ARCHITECT of Liverpool's re-designed Cathedral, Mr. Frank Gibberd, has been retained to submit plans for the new £60,000 Catholic chaplaincy urgently needed by Liverpool University.
That the Catholic contribution to the university life of Liverpool is considerable is being more and more widely recognised but suffers now from the crippling drawback of grossly inadequate premises.
The University now has 3,800
students of whom about One sixth are Catholic. About 350 of these are known to the chaplain, Fr Thomas McGoldrick, M.A. 300 of them are active members of the Catholic Society.
For the past two years midday Mass in the Cathedral has been a daily feature of life in term time with between 80 and 150 students attending. Two priests are usually required to give Holy Communion and during lent the Mass includes a five-minute address given by a visiting priest,
This Lent, a census has been taken of all Catholic undergraduates. The University itself does not take note of the religion of its students. But by tracing the former schools Or baptism of students, and by personal contact, Catholic students hitherto unlsnown have been discovered.
From there, the chaplain takes up the matter and keeps in regular touch. An attractive programme of lectures by experts on such subjects as Instrutial Relations. Education in an Affluent Society, Christians and War, etc., have proved popular.
Attempts to attract non-Catholics have been intensified. However of set policy controversy is avoided as being sterile. Talks and discusskins of interest to non-Catholics have been promoted and led by the Chaplain.
The results have been encouraging. Such subjects as "The Catholic Ideal of Sex", "The Catholic Ideal of Marriage'', " Moral .Responsibility and Sin", arid "Where Catholics cannot Compromise " have all drawn interested audiences.
A special discussion on the possibility of Christian unity was marked by much courtesy and charity.
It must not he thought that a new chaplaincy building would be merely a centre for "rag" and kindred activities. Nor must it be though that the Catholic Society is merely a social organisation.
The new chaplaincy would house the chaplain, as the present pitiful building does, in the midst of the students. It would be a powerhouse of Catholic thought and activity. It would act as a virile counterblast to the countless pitfalls that beset the path of every Catholic undergraduate.
It would facilitate lectures and discussions, while giving shelter and protection to the newcomer and attracting the genuine enquirer An ample library would provide the answer to all current difficul ties.
This chaplaincy is no idle extravagance, it is an urgent necessity, because the Catholic Society is the visible expression of the Catholic Church within the University.
Without pretnises comparable with the University buildings themselves the society's purposes arc thwarted, its members disheartened and its modes operandi constricted.
Given the scope that a decent chaplaincy would provide the resulting good would be immeasurable. The need is now, Twenty years hence it may be too late,