Page 5, 25th December 1964

25th December 1964
Page 5
Page 5, 25th December 1964 — Memo to Catholic societies from an undervalued lecturer

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Locations: Mayfield


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Memo to Catholic societies from an undervalued lecturer

am writing to you simply because I see no other way in which the following matter can be aired. It is hardly possible to write to the secretaries of all the Catholic societies of this country. Moreover, I do not want them to know who I am, even though I do want them to read what I write. It is probable that many of them would do so if this letter appears in your columns. Hence I reveal my identity to you, but raise pseudonymously a problem

which confronts me and others in similar positions.

The problem concerns honoraria for lectures. I am a priest and a religious; I receive a great many (too many) invitations from the above-mentioned secretaries to lecture to their societies on a subject I am supposed to know something about. Whenever possible I accept, for I hold such work to be both apostolic and much needed.

Yet this sort of thing keeps on happening: some Catholic society runs, say, a Study Day on my subject, engaging me to give three or four lectures. I have to spend most of the previous day travelline thither and most of the subsequent day travelling back with (probably) a meal during each journey of 100 miles or more. Cost of journeys, say £3.

I give my three or four lectures; afterwards I receive a vote of thanks and an envelope which etiquette decrees must be pocketed unopened with profuse thanks. Later inspection shows it to contain £5. So in three days I have earned £2.

I am fully aware that my main object in life should not be to earn money. It should be (and is) to do apostolic work. Nevertheless, 1 feel that apostolic work done for Catholic societies should be done at the expense of their members, not at the expense of the Order to which their guest lecturer happens to belong. He ought to be properly paid for his work and his time, and that for a reason which is often lost to view.

In every Order there are old men who have done their life's work and now, because of age or illness, can do no more. There arc young men in training, there are others engaged in training these, and yet others occupied in the administration of the Order and its houses. None of these are in a position to earn; yet all have to be clothed and housed and fed and provided with the necessities for their work.

This costs a lot; and the needed money has to be earned by people like myself who have received our training from the Order and have not yet reached decrepitude.

To spend three days earning £2 is by no means an efficient way of going about this. One can understand the desire of secretaries to secure some "known name" for their events: but before writing to him will they and their committees please consider whether they can afford to bring him from a distance and pay him reasnnahlysay three guineas for a sinele lecture and two guineas per lecture if he gives more than one. Plus expenses, of course.

For the "known name" cannot very well inquire first how much they propose to pay, and then accept or decline accordingly. Ile is more or less bound to accept if he can. But this leaves him open to teal, if unwitting, victimisation until Catholic societies revise their notions about honoraria.

11 is because this matter effects others besides myself that I would

desire the facts to become publicly

known. Religiosus


Sir,It is true, as I Said in my article on Stamps for the Missions, that airmail envelopes are more valuable if left intact, but this applies only if they are in excellent condition. If not a small margin of envelope should he left around the stamp in the same way as the others so as not to create extra work for the Bureau.


Mission Stamp Bureau, Heythrop College, Chipping Norton, Oxon.


Sir, Ever since the publication of the excellent article by Monica Comerford, many weeks ago, I have watched your letter-page with interest, and growing amazement at the lack of positive response to her suggestions.

There have, it is true, been one or two letters supporting Mrs. Comerford's plea for some sort of organised help for Catholics with sick children or aged parents. and these many of us could have supplemented.

The sad and extraordinary thing is that there has not been one letter of response, in the practical sense of some order or organisation showing a willingness to take up the sort of work suggested by Mrs. Comerford.

This, it seems to me, shows up the poverty of our Christian life at the . present time. People will Waste a great deal of ink and paper arguing about the vernacular in the liturgy or the celibacy of the clergy, while the really vital aspects of Christian charity pass them by.

The one great thing which many of our ex-Anglican converts notice upon entering the Catholic Church is the lack of Christian fellowship to be found in our Catholic parishes. This is a terrible indictment, and one which your lettercolumns would seem to prove true. Marjorie Bunt, Mayfield, Sussex.


Sir,I note the question of abstinence and its relevance to the contemporary world is again mooted in your columns. May I speak up for the minority, which includes myself, of those who positively revel in fish? Come dinnertime, Friday is my favourite day. However, the other six days of the week I am plagued by butchermeat. This means I am doing penance, in a way, far in excess of those who revel in the horrid (when taken to excess) flesh. Because my family are traditionalists and wallow in sausages and such like comestibles, I abstain from fish six days a week (except when I can sneak an occasional expense-account lunch, when I have an orgy of boned plaice or lobster, etc).

There is no redress for us fishdevotees unless the bishops step in and give use, say, three further days when the meat-eaters will be kept in their places! W. J. Igoe Loughton, Essex.


Sir,—A letter of mine published over a year ago on certain deficiencies in communication from the pulpit, was signed with my Rochdale address.

I had not foreseen (1 should have) that this would. perhaps, hurt local clergy. I would like to say that no reference was being made to any particular area, least of all to this one, where 1 had only just atnved. Also, the letter was on the subject of poor communication and should not in any case have been construed in any other way.

I would like to say, however, that I do regret any hurt caused to local clergy, from whom I have received nothing hut kindness in any dealings 1 have had with them. Perhaps any who read this will treat it as some attempt at amends for the misunderstanding.

D. M. Chesney, Rochdale.

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