BY A STAFF REPORTER
THE largest sum allocated to the 12 Church Commissions in this country, which exist to implement the work of the second Vatican Council, goes to the Mass Media Commission. This concerns itself with all aspects of mass communications, among them the Catholic Radio and Television Centre and Catholic Information Office at Hatch End, Middlesex.
It receives £9,343 for the calendar year 1970. The next highest grants are £8,738 for the Social Welfare Commission and £5,816 for the Justice and Peace Commission.
Among the voluntary Catholic societies, the Church Music Association received the largest grant of £5,650. A spokesman for the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales explained this was because the association was just getting on its feet.
Also greater stress was being placed upon those organisations which would help to foster liturgical renewal. The fact that some organisations get more than others reflected their degree of need rather than the importance attached to them. Some were better at supporting themselves financially than others.
There was also a special phased grant of £50,000 for new buildings for the Catholic chaplaincy at Oxford University.
An explanatory leaflet issued by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales says "professional" is perhaps the key word for its 12 commissions. It adds: "Today's world is full of specialists.
"It is true that the amateur still has his place: one does not need to 'be an expert to pray, or practise the works of mercy But many of the Church's tasks demand expert advice, expert guidance. expert administration and planning."
The leaflet, entitled "The Work of the Commissions," says they are in effect subcommittees of the National Episcopal Conference. "One can think of them as 'ministries' in a government — education, communications, social welfare, overseas development and the rest.
The chairman of each -the 'Minister'—is usually a bishop who is answerable to the Episcopal Conference.
A TEAM "These commissions at national level are usually paralleled at diocesan level (liturgy, music, ecumenism, missions, youth.) The first object of the commissions is to make the talents of Catholic men and women available to the whale Church.
"At least one member of each is a bishop. The rest are priests, religious and lay (men and women.) The members are chosen for their personal experience or as representatives of Catholic societies . .
"Lay groups which used to exist alongside the hierarchy, or under it, now work with the bishops. The whole Church is a team ... This country was the first to set up a full range of commissions. All the commissions are provisional."
The special Review Committee of Bishops which was set up at the Low Week meeting of the hierarchy of England and Wales had its first meeting on June 5. Afterwards, its chairman, Cardinal Heenan, wrote to the chairmen of each Commission explaining the committee's working method.