THE suggestion in last week's CATHOLIC HHHALO that the Council may not debate Schemata 17 on "the Church in the Modern World" fills me with dismay.
The public, Christian and otherwise, have the view that the object ot• the Council, is to take a hard look at the Church and the challenges presented to it in the modern world.
It would seem incredible if issues such as the bomb, the population explosion, and the -pill". the divisions of the world, ideological, economic and racial were ignored. No one would deny the educative value of the Council to the Bishops and this surely could only be enhanced by discussion of these topics.
Marvellous though the liturgical constitution is the public view of it in this country. is that, in effect, it only provides a limited use of the vernacular.
The conclusions of the Council must be seen to be concerned not only with the internal machinery and worship of the Church, but also the representation of the eternel doctrines of the Church in a manner both useful to and understood by all the people in these modern times.
Maurice Foley. House of Commons.
Braine is a far better s..7 judge than I of Graham Greene's achievement as a novelist. I must also agree with his observation that thc majority of Catholics have a "robust cheerfulness mounting to complacency'.
But may not Greene be credited with shaking us out of our complacency, reminding us of heaven and hell, of ultimate good and evil?
Whatever may he the attitude of Catholics known to Mr. Braine personally, some at least i of the characters n his novels sin without pleastire and behave abominably with little comfort to themselves or others.
Are these true to ? Would their vicesprovide more fun if they were Catholics? The one novelist — as is his undoubted right — leaves out consideration about their place in the scheme of salvation, the other — with equal right — brings these in.
I venture to suggest that only very timid riders make an act of contrition on mounting a horae. Good Christians (not only Catholics) make such acts regularly throughout their life and are thus well prep:sd to make when faced with the immediate prospect of violent death.
Persistent sinners — Catholic or Protestant — neglect this preparation. If our faith is true, their last moment must be one of ultimate despair or a response to the overwhelming mercy of God, in the grace of final perseverance and perfect contrition.
(Rev.) Edward Quinn Rotherham.
SIR'— Regarding the recent rather startling information about the large number of teenagers who abandon their faith along with their school uniforms it has occurred to me to wonder if anyone thinks of asking the teenagers why they lapse?
These observations that my 16} years old daughter has made to me over the 'oast few months may prove edifying. She has been brought up in a 100 per cent Catholic home, has been attending Catholic schools since the age of seven, was always very high in the class for Religious Knowledge, and relied upon by the rest of the class to answer the religious examiners' questions.
She left school last summer just three months short of her 16th birthday and went to work straight away as an apprentice poodle clipper.
Since then she has formed this opinion of the Church: It is old-fashioned and outdated, rim for the most part by old men who do not understand the problems of the modem world.
They stand out against modern ideas like cremation even though there isn't likely soon to be enough ground for the living to live on or feed off. let alone for the dead to take up.
They oppose contraceptive birth control even though they have to admit the world is getting over-populated but at the same time say Catholics can limit their families by the safe period. That this is difficult. impossible or unreliable for the most part they don't seem to care.
Then, she says, why should we have to be Catholics just because our parents arc? We have no freedom or choice in the matter, We are baptised as babies and from then on not allowed a glimpse into any other denomination or faith.
We receive our first Holy Communion at about the age of seven, most of us hardly realising what We are doing, except that we are all dressed up and made a fuss of.
Shortly afterwards we are confirmed, and by the time we arc young adults it has all faded away in the mist of our childhood along with our toys and dolls.
In other churches it is young adults who are confirmed or who make their decision to be baptised or embrace a certain sect. In the Catholic Church it is all rushed through while we are still small children and no choice at all is left to us.
We cannot even go to a Protestant service out of curiosity or courtesy with a Protestant friend, except under pain of mortal sin, but they are allowed to come to our church and are often even encouraged to do so.
Then we mustn't miss Mass on Sundays or Holy Days or Communion once a year, except under pain of mortal sin: and so, for years and years, we go because we must, and in the end that is the only reason why we go.
Then we leave school and realise that no one else is bossed about the way we Catholics are, and so many of us decide we never said we wanted to he Catholics in the first place, and now we are grown up we will make our own decisions and live our lives as we think best.
My daughter is a very goodliving girl, honest end sincere. The only girl and eldest of five children, she works hard. is very popular with all adults. who find her very sensible to talk to.
She has a great love of people and animals, and has organised fund-raising for the P.D.S.A., the Guide Dogs for the Blind Assn., and Oxfam.
She was the only girl in her Catholic Sec. Mod. school to get a bronze award in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme. So she is no fool, but I think her attitude is typical of most of the young Catholics who lapse.
(Mrs.) E. Simpson London, W.13.
We believe that the picture presented in this letter is typical of a broad cross-section of schoolleavers. We propose to publish. nexr week. wine suggestions as to how the situation should be dealt with.—EDITOR.