Analysis Of "Black-Coated" Questionnaire
The ordinary man of England, who speaks little, shows a surprising eloquence in his writing. In the trains he is silent, and on the streets. It is only in the warm intimacy of the public bar that he speaks, and then it is of gardening or racing, never of his personal affairs, nor of his more profound feelings.
The answers to the questionnaire are most valuable, for in them are the reflections, rather faint. but still clearly discernible of the fire of belief and love which in former ages wrought songs from the lips of our ancestors.
Therefore, let this rough and vital eloquence be heard.
" What attempt is being made to check the rising cost of food in this land? Butter in the East End is now twice the price it was a year ago, yet the great majority of the people have had no increase in wages" (a clerk in a great furnishing store).
Then, this from a woman who contributes articles to Catholic periodicals, in order to help her 'husband, who earns only £5 10s. as clerk on the Stock Exchange, maintain their home and their four children.
"I spoke to my editor the other day when I was in town. 1 asked him could he not see his way to giving me a rise, which I have asked for before. He said I'm afraid not. The cost of print and paper is going up and it will cost so much more to send the paper to press next year." Returning home I bought a packet of typewriting paper for which 1 always pay a shilling, my dealer told me it will be Is. 9d. next time."
EDUCATION A school teacher in an elementary school in Lancashire. He says: "I am appalled at the Godless education at our thousands of council schools, which are turning out fresh hordes of young pagans every year . . . / think the teaching of religion in our Catholic schools is, generally speaking, out of date, uninspiring and insufficient to counter the grave attacks now being made on religion. Much can he done by energetic and zealous individual teachers, hut they are cramped by the official syllabus which must he covered if the Religious Inspector is to be pleased with the school."
A captain in the R.A.M.C. considers the time at present allotted to religious instruction reasonable.
" To endeavour to increase' this period for all would, in my opinion, be a mistake. The result desired is achieved by the atmosphere of an average, sensible, Catholic home, with also short but frequent instructions of such a kind as to stimulate an active interest in intellectual and reasoned faith."
A municipal clerk of Lancashire has two children who have just passed through secondary schools and he is satisfied with their education, and their material education " was above the average " and their spiritual education " has made them both good practising Catholics."
Commercial School Better?
The eldest daughter of a district insurance manager has an excellent chance of getting a scholarship for a convent but her father will not allow her to try for it. He argucs: " I have decided to wait until she is thirteen and send her for a two-year course at a commercial school. It is my conviction that a boy or girl leaving the secondary school at the age of sixteen is fitted for very few positions, and unless they are going to enter a university their time could be spent to greater advantage at a commercial school."
"Educate the lay Catholic on the Church's attitude to social questions. . . . Why can't we have sermons on these matters?" (a radio service engineer of Newcastle.)
".. . One of the greatest necessities of the clay is an annual Retreat for laymen . . . the charge for a week-end Retreat should be considerably less than the present 10s., if the bulk of the people are to be able to take advantage of the Retreat Houses." This the opinion of a clerk in the offices of a soap manufacturer; he also thinks "the chief obstacles to the progress of Catholic Action are (a) the irresponsibility of supposedly good Catholics, and (b) the reluc tance of those, who say they want to help Catholic Action, to undertake common tasks."
He explains the latter defect more fully: " If anything big is organised there is a good attendance, fine things are said, and there is the general atmosphere that all present are ready to go out and con quer the world. But ask those same people to make a house to house canvass for the press, or take part in a Retreat, then the parable of the men who ` prayed to be excused ' is wonderfully illustrated."
Organised Propaganda " We might profit by the methods of the pre-war Socialists in Berlin," thinks a bookkeeper of North London. "The whole city was mapped out into areas and divided up among members of the party . • . they had someone for nearly every street . . when anything of importance was to be made known it was possible for them to print and deliver leaflets in almost every house in the city within 24 years." He suggests following the same -plan with Catholic pamphlets.
An unusual idea, but such frightening, highly organised efficiency seems somehow a little repellent when concerned with religion. And would it work? Or even supposing that the great diversity of views held by Catholics about the most suitable form of action, could be all submerged in order to make a success of such a plan; would people trouble to read the pamphlets when they received them? So little value is set on printed paper for which we do not have to pay.
We believe that some similar organisation is in existence in South Australia among Catholics.
The same teacher who has such trenchant views on Catholic elementary education has some ideas for Catholic Action. He writes: Our people must read Catholic papers.
You cannot get a dock worker to read Rerum Novarum. You want him to know its principles. Give them to him in readable form.
Back to the Liturgy— We must know our opponent's case. We must have more study circles.
People must write private letters or postcards of appreciation, or complaint to the BdB.C., the daily Press, magazines, etc., when they touch on subjects of Catholic interest (not necessarily Catholic subjects.)