Page 3, 26th June 1936

26th June 1936
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Page 3, 26th June 1936 — 0 THE EDITOR
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Locations: Nottingham, London, Paris, Oxford

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0 THE EDITOR

and its ultimate conversion into pure bank money after the war, the deflation of which this was a part, the utterly irrelevant and unsound reasons by which the procedure was defended—that is a chapter in the history of human folly which has yet to find its chronicler.

J. L. BENVENISTI. National Liberal Club,

Whitehall Place, London, S.W.1.

TEACHING OF BIOLOGY TO CHILDREN "They Are Being Taught it Already" SIR,—The subject of the teaching of biology in schools has lately been under discussion in the Catholic press. May I be allowed to contribute the following facts?

A few days ago a baby of five from our kindergarten class brought her newest and dearest treasure, "a picture book," to school to show us. It was a copy of Living Things for Lively Youngsters, by T. J. S. Rowland (Cassell and Co., 3s. 6d. net). An enchanting book indeed, with a wrapper portrait of two charming children, "Ann and Jim," and a ponding-net, every page filled either with line drawings, clear and copyable, or with simple, most readable letterpress: a book that hundreds of kind grannies and uncles and friends might delightedly buy for little (and bigger) people. It gives—to quote the jacket—"in simple language, with copious illustrations, the evolutionary story of the plant and animal kingdoms," and claims that "stimulated by this exceptionally attractive book, its fortunate possessors will delight in acquiring not only the rudiments of .biology, but a thoroughly wise and invigorating conception of life itself —the infinitely varied life of plants and animals, their kinship with mankind, and the purpose that animates their manifold activities."

I will neither intrude my own opinions upon the value pf this book, nor stay to speculate upon the hundred other variants of "Biology for Children" (not all, probably, equally discreet) that will pretty certainly shortly be placed upon the market, but will content myself with quotations from the few, but vital, controversial pages.

The section entitled "How Life Begins," page 117, includes a drawing of a crosssection of a hen's egg, containing "yolk," "white," and "young chick," and other pictures of embryo life, more arresting. Page 119, "Building the Life House," represents a lighthouse rising out of the sea in labelled rings, the lowest "(1) Single-Celled Animals," the highest (the lamp) "Man," beside which is a humorous drawing of Ann and Jim, numbered "(12)?". The letterpress of this section concludes, "We ourselves take first place amongst the mammals. Seeing that Nature has endowed us with such excellent gifts, we shall be very stupid people if we fail to make the best use of our lives." This is followed by four double pages treating of "How we breathe," "How the heart works," "Teeth," and "How we digest our food."

A second book, More Living Things, etc., which " carries the life story a big stage farther," has appeared : equally fascinating to enquiring youth. Page 17 of this, in "The Cradle is Prepared for Life," asks, "Did the first life arrive sealed-up in a meteorite (shooting-star) from some other place?" and replies, "We think that is impossible. Most people agree that life started here on the earth, and did not come from some other place. In the Bible it says that man was made from the dust of the earth. That is quite true, for it is quite probable that the conditions on the earth at the time when life first appeared were just the very kind to make living matter out of non-living substances. How the breath of life was put into the dust of the earth, and how the wonderful jellylike stuff which we call protoplasm was born, is still a mystery. All the brilliant scientists have failed, so far, to solve this problem."

It seems clear therefore that the question no longer is: Should children be taught biology? That is settled. They are being taught it; and, however hard we may try (if we wish) to stop them, learn it they inevitably will in some way or other; if not from us, from books and pictures and advertisements, and through the free talk of the world about them. The problem for us—and is it not an urgent one?—is surely, how best may biology be taught to Catholic children in Catholic homes and in Catholic schools by Catholics?

ELIZABETH RENDALL. Rye St. Anthony,

Oxford.

THE PETITION TO THE KING

SIR; —From her reference to the Right of Eminent Domain, it is apparent that Miss Beamish believes that a remedy for the social maladies set out in the Petition to the King is to be found in the cornpulsory acquisition of land and factories.

This proposition will not, I think, command the same consensus omnium ordinum as has been accorded to the Petition for a Judicial Inquiry, and on this basis it would appear thit democracy is rather on the side of thp. Petition.

The legal profession has recently proved its ability to undertake a financial investigation of major concern, and no doubt Miss Be,amish will admit that this united popular appeal to some of our finest intellects is more auspicious than individual cajolings and cudgellings of isolated members of parliament.

A SIGNATORY TO THE PETTTION.

SIR,—In the • article of your issue of June 5 on " Stop Poverty: Stop War," at the meeting of the petitioners Dr. R. McNair Wilson is reported as saying, the French revolution was the work of Rousseau.

Will you allow me to point out that, according to the best historians of that period, the French revolution was caused by the lack of money in France at that time; as are most wars and revolutions. The then government was almost bankrupt.

Rousseau was discussed in the salons of Paris, but does not appear to have then got in touch with the revolutionaries, for, at the meeting of the States-General, the people of France who had been told to send in their grievances, in petition after petition throughout the country, according to Sieyes, had one common grievance—that the doves of the seigneurs should not be allowed to devour their crops.

Rousseau, though wrong in his premisses, was a sincere philosopher, and I do not think he can be truthfully described as " trashy."

Our Lord said: " The poor you have always with you." It is a large order to our beloved King to stop both poverty and wars.

H. A. BRUCE. St. Leonards-on-Sea.

CHESTERTON THE PEACEMAKER.

SIR,—Having eagerly devoured the many press notices following the death of Mt. Chesterton, let me say very gratefully that the most satisfying at least to one of a younger generation is your phrase that in our trembling efforts to strike a blow in the present crisis we felt "surrounded by him." In the loss of that support perhaps the only adequate cry is that of his own verse in the "Ballad of the White Horse."

" 0, truly we be broken hearts For that cause, it is said , We light our candles to that Lord That broke Himself for bread."

Mention of this great ballad leads one to remind a still younger generation that if they are tempted to think him merely pre-war as some of the secular papers have suggested they should try him as a spiritual guide, a guide much more adapted to their mentality than the one suggested in a contemporary: Leon Bloy.

One cannot conclude without remembering that in a problem equally urgent (if the conversion of England is not to be fatally retarded), that of peace between England and Ireland, G.K.C. was the greatest of peacemakers. It is a question whether he was not more loved by Irishmen than by his fellow-countrymen.

GERALD FLANAGAN. St. Mary's Convent,

Lowestoft.

DANGERS OF FRENCH POLICY SIR,—The information afforded by your paper about Poland and Czechoslovakia is most interesting.

It is, of course, obvious that your contributors are mainly concerned with the part which those two nations will be called upon by France to play in the segregation of Germany, and in the placing and keeping of the Germans in the position of an outcast people.

Is that feasible? If Germany is to pass through another blockade and famine, is there any guarantee that the ruin will be final and permanent? Is it possible that the rulers (whoever they actually are) of France entertain real hopes of conquering and then breaking up Germany, under a new and more vindictive "treaty" of Versailles?

One hears much about French logic: one would like to see more of it.

G. WILLOUGHBY MEADE. Lourdes,

36, Marius Road, S.W.17.

THE CHURCH IN WALES

SIR,—The general tone of the letter from "English Catholic in Wales" savours strongly of that curious idea that the English—and they alone—are the salt of the earth.

While confined to secular matters, this idea is indeed the source of considerable mirth, but the humour of it vanishes when it invades discussions on the spread of the Faith, denying as it does the fundamental principle of Christianity that all men are equal in the sight of God, who made us and redeemed us.

"Nor WELSH."

SIR,—Why the mean and unprovoked insult to a noble nation from the pen of "English Catholic in Wales" in the June 5 Catholic Herald?

The revival of Erse and of a purely Irish culture in the Free State is, as far as I can gather, admired if not supported by Catholics in England.

A difference which is ultimately only geographical is exaggerated by your correspondent, who would, no doubt, be first in support of Irish culture, in referring to the upholders of Welsh nationalism as "a handful of moody Celts."

I suggest that I am not so very far from the truth in discerning the cause of the resentment behind his heated words. It is a resentment such as would only be fostered by one writing under such a pseudonym as "English Catholic in Wales." It is his expression of disapproval of the "Catholic-minded" movement outside the Church manifested in the writings of the best of the clergy of the Disestablished Welsh Church. "Silfan," in another letter on the same subject, emphasises the desire, as yet only of a small minority, for a return to the Holy See. It is that glorious desire, which I am convinced will continue to grow in Wales, and will begin in England with Disestablishment, to which your correspondent objects. But why?

BERT WATTS.

67, Rossington Road, Sneinton Dale, Nottingham.

"ONE PRIEST IN 100,000 PEOPLE!" The Case of Luton, Beds. SIR,—In your issue of this week there

is a very interesting report of missionary activity in Africa and Asia, and you head the article with a striking title: "One priest in 80,000 people."

This figure gave me to wonder if it is generally realised that the work of a priest even in some parts of this land can equal the missionary records quoted by you.

In the parish Where I live there are just over 100,000 souls, and only one priest for its needs. I think this compares closely with any of the figures you give for the various foreign missions (and this is only thirty miles from London).

It must, of course, be appreciated that the foreign mission work is heroic by reason of climate, distance and danger, etc., but is the necessity of missionary work even in this land realised and supported?

L. S. BALDWIN.

BOOK TITLES.

SIR,—IS it not possible for publishers to exercise a little care (even if it requires some ingenuity) in devising titles for their new books, and so avoid appropriating those of existing publications, and causing unnecessary confusion?

This is not a superfluous question. Sheed and Ward announce two books: The Will to Freedom, by an American, Ross Hoffman, and The Mysteries of Grace, by Julius Tyciak. Now both these titles are those of fairly recent books, comparatively well-known and still in circulation. There is The Will to Freedom, by that distinguished historian and philosopher, the late Dr. Neville Figgis—a series of lectures on the philosophy of Nietzsche and the Christian Gospel, delivered, curiously enough, in America—published by Longmans in 1917; while The Mysteries of Grace is a small volume on the Sacraments, issued a little earlier by Mowbrays and written by the recently-deceased Anglican theologian, Canon T. A. Lacey.

The repetition of such titles seems to have little justification. There is, moreover, a phrase concerning our neighbour's landmark, which is not without point in this connection.

SILAS M. HARRIS (Rev.). Egmanton Vicarage,

Notts.

NORTHERN IRELAND

SIR,—You have recently given considerable publicity to the report of a commis

sion of inquiry which we set up in 1935 to investigate the working of the Special Powers Acts in Northern Ireland.

My council is a strictly non-party body, concerned only to resist all encroachments on civil rights. The fact that, so far as I know, no member of our commission of inquiry and no member of our executive committee is a Catholic, lends weight, I think, to our considered opinion on the legal, constitutional, and social questions at issue.

For this reason I feel justified in asking the hospitality of your columns to bring to the notice of your readers the wider work which we are doing. Our work in Northern Ireland is by no means finished with the publication of our report, and we are making active preparations for suitable parliamentary action. Your readers will appreciate that we need both the financial and the moral support of all who believe in principles of democracy and freedom, and I would invite those who would be interested to apply to me for some of our literature, and, if they feel so disposed, to join our council as associate members.

RONALD KIDD.

(Secretary.)

National Council for Civil Liberties, 99a, Charing Cross Road, W.C.2.

HENRY VIII: SCHISMATIC

SIR,—Your correspondent is right from a strictly theological point of view when he says that Henry the Eighth was a heretic; there is in fact no schism without heresy of some kind. Still, the Fathers do distinguish between the two things, calling schism an offence against charity, that is the bond of charity that keeps the Church one; and heresy an offence against Truth, that is, some part of revealed Truth or Catholic dogma.

Historically I do not see that, with this proviso, there is much harm in stressing the schismatic features of the Henrician Church or calling Henry a schismatic. The sixteenth century was destined to behold such wild departures from unity and Catholicity that Henry's personal fidelity to much of the old theology, the retention of valid Orders for a time and the strength of the "traditional" party among his bishops make, in their historical setting, a real contrast with what was to follow. Under Edward heresy was rampant and under Elizabeth finally triumphant—so far at least as concerned the status and teaching of her "Church."

This distinction is so important that it still seems the best way of presenting the facts; as Dr. Messenger does, for example, in his latest book on The Reformation, the Mass and the Ordinal.

Sometimes foreign writers have missed this very point in the religious history of this country, and for that reason have confused the issue; not making clear the vital changes between the general condition of things in, say, 1540 and 1560.

C. G. MORTTMER. Blackmore Farm, Kidmore End, Oxon.

[Owing to very heavy pressure on our space we are obliged to hold back letters on the "Ukraine and Poland," " Nazi Propaganda," "Communism," and other subjects.—EnrroRj




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