At a time when most people identify all student activists with the extreme left wing, it is refreshing to hear of this term's president of the Cambridge University Union -22-year-old American David Condit, Mr Condit, a Catholic from Long Island, New York,
graduated from Princeton
University and is currently reading social and political science at Trinity College,
This Tuesday he was in the chair for a memorable debate at the Union Norman St JohnStevas, a former president. returned to mark the 25th anniversary of holding office by taking part as a guest speaker. The motion was that "The Roman Catholic Church is irrelevant to the needs of modern society" and in oppos .ing it Mr St John-Stevas was given backing by an Anglican bishop the Rt Rev Hugh Montefiore of Kingston-onThames.
David Condit has already made his mark as a debater in no uncertain terms at Cambridge, making what has universally been acknowledged as an outstanding speech in a recent debate on abortion when he was speaking alongside Lord Longford and Mrs Phyllis Bowman of SPUC on a motion declaring that "The 1967 Abortion Act went too far."
The motion regrettably was lost, but the evening. which had the biggest audience so far this year for any debate, saw a serious and closely-fought discussion marking a distinct change from the more emotional debates on this issue which Characterised the 1960s and early 1970s,
Mr Condit makes no secret of
the fact that he wants to get into polities when he leaves Cambridge to return to America. Just now. he says, the country is suffering from a serious loss of morale and a collapse of faith in itself. "Vietnam has undermined our confidence. We need a new vision, and a new appreciation of the value of our freedom" he said.
Keynotes of his ideas are a strong defence, greater economic freedom, and a return of moral values. His involvement with politics over here has given him a great respect for the British system. "There's lots of things from Britain that I'd like to see happening in America but you just can't transplant things that way."
As an open and avowed antiCommunist he is concerned that the far Left is setting itself up as the only idealistic approach for young people.
"We've got to have a great belief in the value of our Freedom. and to champion the cause of freedom as an ideal," he said. "It is absolute rubbish
to assert that the left wing has a monopoly on idealism."
As president of a debating union, which passed a motion recently to the effect that the "National Union of Students does the student cause more harm than good," he treatsthe whole question of student
politics with a mixture of concern and cynicism.
The launch of the British. Hospital for Vietnam Fund, whose headquarters are at St Mary of the Angels Presbytery, Bayswater, London, has been postponed from this month until September.
Paula Hawkins, a parishioner working with the scheme, said the postponement was not just due to the present situation in Vietnam, but to technical difficulties. The hospital will replace one that was destroyed in North Vietnam at Ky An.
As reported in the Catholic Herald on February 21, the campaign aims to raise 1700,000 for a 200-bed hospital to be prefabricated in Britain. The fund has the backing of Bishop Guazzelli, Auxiliary of Westminster; Dr Trevor Huddleston, Anglican Bishop of Stepney; Lord Feather, Sir Bernard Miles and others.
A "mini launch" , went ahead with a dinner at the House of Lords yesterday when John Pilger and a TV
team left to make a film in Vietnam, the broadcasting of which will coincide with the September launch.
A four-day conference in Oxford seems to have given a fillip to Anglican-Roman Catholic relations, judging from the remarks of Mr Michael Sturgess, administrative assistant with the Church Society, which organised the meeting. "There was a wonderful spirit there and I think everybody enjoyed it," he said.
The Church Society is generally considered to represent the more "evangelical" or "Low-Church" wing of the Anglican Communion. About 100 people took part in the conference and a score of these wece Catholics.
"On a lot of things we weren't quite as far apart as we thought," said Mr Sturgess. He added that there was strong spiritual unity which "seemed to cut straight across the doctrine."
Mr Sturgess himself said he was surprised at how slight the doctrinal differences were between Anglicans and Roman Catholics. There was "a very strong feeling" that the conference could be repeated again next year.
Just published by the Whitefriars of Aylesford, Kent, is a 32-page booklet to mark the silver jubilee of their return to
The Friars, their ancient house on the River Medway. It contains more than 30 photographs depicting the friars' return on October 31, 1949, the restoration and rebuilding of the Carmelite priory, and the pastoral work of the community.
The Whitefriars left Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the thirteenth century to escape the invading Saracens. Some of them accompanied the English Crusader Baron Richard de Grey, who gave them his manor at Aylesford.
In 1538 the Aylesford community was dispersed by the officers of Henry VIII, the church was destroyed and the house sold to Sir Thomas Wyatt. The friars bought back the remains of the original buildings in June, 1949, and resumed occupancy the same year.
One of the photographs shows a fifteenth-century statue of St Anne with Mary and Jesus, which was given to Whitefriars by a Jewish industrialist in gratitude.
He was in great distress of mind when he was brought to the Aylesford Shrine by a friend. and he asked for the prayers of the community. It is said that within a few days his troubles had vanished.
Another picture shows that
the Whitefriars have their very own "Watergate." No doubt they keep their eyes skinned for errant Blackfriars. intent on a little ecclesiastical bugging.
The booklet. entitled "Return of the Whitefriars," is
available from The Friars, Aylesford, Maidstone, Kent, at 60p or 70p post free.
Archbishop to walk barefoot
Archbishop Winning of Glasgow will go virtually without food or drink, walk barefoot, and have only one full night's sleep in a rigorous threeday pilgrimage in an Irish island this summer. One of his primary reasons is to pray for peace in Northern Ireland.
The pilgrimage, to Lough Derg, in Co Donegal, is recognised as one of the toughest in the world. During the three days pilgrims abstain from all food and drink except water, apart from one "Lough Derg meal" each day. This consists of black tea with dry toast or bread, usually taken in the afternoon.
The pilgrims also go without sleep on the first night, fast and pray throughout the second day, and continue to fast until midnight on the third day.
Four committee members discuss plans for the fourth International Christian Television Festival to be held at Brighton from May 4 to 10. Left to right: Fr Agnellus Andrew, Director of the Catholic Radio and Television Centre, Hatch End, Middlesex; Rev John Lang, Head of Religious Broadcasting, BBC; Miss Janet Lacey, former Director of Christian Aid; and Mr Christopher Martin, Religious Programmes Officer, IBA.
UNDA, the International Catholic Broadcasting Association, and the World Association for Christian Communication are sponsoring the Festival. Participants will view 54 programmes from 1 7 countries.