COE of the lesser reported points in Cardinal
Heenan's highly praised speech at the opening of the World Methodist Conference at Central Hall, Westminster was his plea to be rid of the word "ecumenism" and all the rest of the modern jargon of Christianity.
"We have this wonderful thing to give to the world," he said, "and we present it in the most unattractive wrapping, surrounding it with Mysterious words like 'dialogue', 'renewal' and 'commitment'. Let's start talking in plain language. Why not use 'Church unity' instead of 'ecumenism' for a start," the Cardinal suggested.
The Cardinal was warmly applauded when he had a little "dig" at the conference title. "My programme," he said, "had a misprint. It gave the subject of your conference as 'God in our world'."
Three thousand assembled delegates looked puzzled at this because that was the correct title. Cardinal Heenan continued: "Of course, what you really meant was 'God in hir world'."
ONE OF THE DELGATES to the World Methodist Conference I spoke to this week told me: "I read the CATHOLIC 1-I1RAtn every week. My next door neighbour is a Catholic and she gives it to me." I asked whether, in like ecumenical spirit, my delegate friend passed a copy of the Methodist Recorder to her Catholic neighbour. "Oh, no," she said. "My neighbour says she would be excommunicated if she read a Protestant paper."
'CHILDREN are not conscious of any racial barriers, only we adults. If we integrate the children now, the next generation will not face any colour problem as we do."
REV. CHAPMAN And that is why the Rev. Percy
Chapman, vicar of Aldhourne in Wiltshire, has got together with the local Methodist Minister the Rev. Derek Hammond in what he calls "a bit of practical Christianity".
This week they invited 28 coloured children from London's Notting Hill area—the scene of the race riots of the 1950s. and Mr. Hammond's old parish— to spend a week in Aldbourne.
The children's parents were co-operative and so too were the people of Aldbourne who acted as hosts to the children, meeting all the expenses of keeping them during the holiday.
Scotland the young
HOW many bishops do we stand to lose if the Pope's recommendation that they retire at 75 be taken to heart? A quick check with the Catholic Directory reveals that only three in England are over this age with another two coming up to it.
Seven are in their sixties with nine in their fifties. Only three have not yet reached their half-centuryBishop Langton Fox at 49, Bishop Harris at 48 and the country's youngest Bishop Worlock of Portsmouth who is 46.
Scotland would not lose any of their bishops immediately though one is within three years of the suggested retirement age. Four others are in their sixties, two in their fifties and one is 49.
When the ages of the bishops are averaged out Scotland scores a point for youthfulness. Their average is 60 years of age while England's is 63.
Summer in the city
SUMMER in any city is hot, dusty and often boring. Added to this is the fact that city people tend to build walls around themselves and the platitude of "being lonely in a crowd" is no longer a platitude but an evil that must be overcome. So thinks Mgr. Robert J. Fox of the Spanish Action Bureau in New York City, and to "establish relationships" he has started a scheme called Summer in the City.
Requirement number one of the programme is the ability to spark off action in the street and this is what Summer in the City looks for in the professional entertainers it hires to put on puppet shows, conduct hootenannies, present pageants, organise shopping tours and the rest.
The programme's goal is modest: to increase
consciousness of self and community, to increase personal and group relationships. In practice Summer in the City activity is fairly simple. For example, an artist will come to a slum
street. He sits down on the pavement and begins to draw with coloured chalk on the ground. A child asks what he's doing. The artist hands the child a piece of chalk instead of a lecture. In a while, a hundred kids are sitting on the pavement drawing.
Or a youth worker reports that two gangs are looking for a fight. A production of West Side Story is planned. The two gangs are invited to act in the play. Result? A fight in the street, with bottles, chains and knives—but it's a dress rehearsal for the opening night, and nobody's hurt.
Lacking sufficient playground space, the streets are blocked off and designated as play areas. In a short time, mock trees are erected and banners fly announcing a fashion show. Wet hands smear clay on to a thousand faces. Chalk artists create cathedrals, suns, moons and on any corner one can come face to face with monsters, snake-charmers. troubadours and clowns. They are the products of joy, leading nowhere, perhaps, except to a release of creative, exhuberant expression.
Yoga for beginners
POPE PAUL would seem to have created a renewed interest in the ancient art of Yoga by receiving in audience Mr. B. K. S. Iyengar, a renowned Yogi.
This week I set out to discover what Yoga is all about. Though enthusiasts are plentiful real authorities, I found, are not so thick on the ground. But I did track down a disciple of the art deep in the Oxfordshire countryside.
He is Mr. Harvey Day, one of the most knowledgable exponents of Yoga in the country, as well as the author of two books on the subject which have sold something approaching I 00,000 copies.
First task, Mr. Day explained, is to demolish the myths surrounding Yoga. Point one: it is not a religion. Point two: it is not simply a system of exercises for women to give them beauty, as popular magazines would have you believe.
Demolition over, Mr. Day continues : "Yoga is a philosophy for life, and physical fitness is merely a means towards an end." The aim of Yoga, he says, is to get the body into such prime condition by breathing and poses that you can forget all about its weaknesses and ills.
Once this has been achieved the student then can learn how to concentrate, control the mind and achieve real peace which is the ultimate aim of Yoga.
For Yoga enthusiasts it is not the material things that matter but the mental and spiritual. Herein, perhaps, lies the reason why a number of our priests in India have been encouraged officially to make it part of their training for life.
AN AMERICAN TOURIST, guide book in hand, stopped me at the entrance of the CATHOLIC HERALD building this week. "Can you tell me if I'm in the right place." he said. "According to my book I'm now standing outside the offices of a newspaper that specialises in scandal and 'exposes' and is banned in Ireland"1 hope he was looking for our next door neighbour the News of the World.
No money for chairs DURING the Summer holidays seminarians
usually try to earn as much money as they can, working on buses and building sites. But this year two dozen of them gave up the chance to fill their pockets so they could help families of unmarried mothers and ex-prisoners who live in the temporary flats provided by London's Ladyeholme Association.
Young men from Wonersh and Mill Hill plus a
few from Holland and Italy are busy painting, laying vinyl floors and doing repairs to Ladyeholme's three houses where broken families are helped to get back on their feet.
The helpers sleep in bunks or on the floor and eat their meals standing up in the kitchen. Ladyeholme has to get by on funds it can raise itself which means that those running it have little enough for food let alone for the luxuries of life such as chairs!
The experience has been a real eye-opener for the seminarians.
"It's never hum-drum here," one told me. "It's a 24 hour service, rough and ready, meals at all hours, the telephone rarely silent." Through Miss Urch, the founder of Ladyeholme, the young men have met Probation Officers, Social Case Workers and have toured prisons and mental homes.
"The work is not easy," they say, "and you can't expect much thanks from the people." But they do sometimes show their appreciation in unexpected ways. The other day, a father in one of the flats who had served a prison term for receiving money under false pretences rang up indignantly to say that a man upstairs had just asked him to help break open the meter.
And a woman who had been separated for years told one seminarian: "You know what I did for my summer holidays? Sat and looked at my husband for a week."
When these men become priests they will know how to use the services and channels available for helping the most needy members of their parishes. "I think before long every priest will have to have th is experience," one of them said.
The Maltese millions
THERE has always been a reticence on the part
of the Church to discuss its wealth, but one tiny part of it—and perhaps not a part you would have expected—has decided to Iay bare its financial secrets.
Archbishop Gonzi of Malta has ordered an inventory of all Church property and has let it be known that he is in favour of a public auditing of the Church's accounts.
Figures at present available suggest that the Church in Malta has about $2.8 million in three Maltese banks. In addition the Church owns something like 6.25 per cent of urban housing units and about 5.8 per cent of rural housing in the country.
But Dom Mintoff's Socialist Party claims that the Church owns one-third of all the property in Malta. The new inventory will show how accurate this estimate is.