By a Staff Reporter
Delegates from Europe will attend the first meeting of Pax Romana to be held in Europe since 1939 in London, from August 25 to August 29, 1945.
This regional meeting, which will arrange the first International Pax Romana Congress of the post-war years. will immediately follow the NewMan Centenary Celebration which will be held at Beaumont in the preceding week.
My informant is Dr. Francis X. Aylward, President of the Newman Association, acting Vice-President of Pax Romani. and first British strident official to visit Europe since the liberation. Dr. Aylward has just returned from a short visit to France and Switzerland. where he met and had conversations with Polish. Swiss, French and Spanish representatives. His views on the present state of World Student Relief and Pax Romana follow.
" The Catholic Societies pert of the Catholic Federation of University Groups have suffered badly under war time conditions. For example, each faculty in Paris had its own chaplain. At present the chaplain of the Medical Faculty in Paris is NUR in the hands of the Germans, interned in Dachau. fie is Fr. Michel Riquet, Si. Another faculty—that of law—in the same University has just had its chaplain restored to it. Fr. Faidherbe, O.P., who became an army chaplain at the beginning of hostilities, has throughout the war been interned by the Swiss. No doubt such cases could be multiplied all over the country. Obviously they have affected student life.
. " We are taking steps to strengthen social contacts with our French Catholic friends. Twelve are coming to Beaumont to join with us at our celebrations of Cardinal Newman's Centenary. During their visit they will meet twelve British delegates and discuss with them the future of FrancoBritish Catholic Student relations."
WARTIME ACTIVITY Here Dr. Aylward introduced me to M. H. Howe Dufresne d'Arganchy, Vice-President of the French Fcdcra tion of Catholic Universities Groups. M. d'Arganchy arrived in this country last week to return Dr, Aylward's visit and on a mission for the World Student Relief Committee.
" We have at present between forty and fifty thousand members of our federation," he said. " The Germans banned our organisation immediately after they occupied France. But, of course, that did not stop us. We conarmed to meet. 'Invasion conditions provided us with a background to our formation work which heightened its value. There was no lack of examples of what would happen to petsons—what had happened—who were not formed and informed with Catholic principles.
" As an organisation our work during the occupation was strictly confined to literature. We prepared and circularised reports on the Todt Workers and on war conditions for French workers inside German factories. We also copied and circularised the pastoral documents issued by the Hierarchy.
" As individuals, most of us fought with the Maquis. This again had the effect of weakening our organisation just as conscription in England and • America, no doubt. have made things difficult for all civilian, peace
time groups in your countries. But since the liberation things have improved. We are getting our clubrooms opened in the various centres and we are getting organised again. Our chaplains are returning from concentration and internment camps. We look forward to a restored student life in Catholic France."
WORLD STUDENT RELIEF Back to Dr. Aylward. Here are his comments en World Student Relief.
" Continental students face extremely difficult problems. While our Universities have had their troubles during wale, those on the continent have seen a complete breakdown of University life. There is a period of five to six years during which they have been completely cut off from all intercourse with the outside world.
" The dangers of such a break in a continental system which has always drawn its leaders from the Universities arc obvious. For one thing it is going, in immediate post-war years, to create a shortage of the young, vigorous leadership which is vital in the life of a healthy community.
" Physical strength is at a low ebb in Europe. Malnutrition and disease, tuberculosis and other heritages of a time of unsettled living and scarcity of good food are obviously going to require the aid of friendly Allied Governments before any cure can be effected.
"The special work of the World Student Relief Society as I see it is one
strictly of student rehabilitation. It has always been our aim to help the student to help himself. We are sending books. We are sending clothes. We intend opening further student recuperation centres in the South of France. One is already operating suc'cessfully. We also hope to bring European students to British Universities and send some of our people to Universities on the continent.
"To close the gap between the Universities suspended in 1939 and our own and those of our American friends still operating in 1945 we are working our a comprehensive scheme of translating hooks published here and i .America.
" As soon as possible we will despatch these to the liberated countries. In the meantime boils we in England and our fellow-delegates of World Student Relief in America are sending all we can. This summer in our meetings both before and after the Newman Centenary we hope to get much more work done. There is much to be done but our work of student rehabilitation depends very much on the physical rehabilitation which is the work of National Governmeft."