SIR,-Has not the time come when a fuil and accurate knowledge of the Church's Social Doetrine is as vitally necessary to the defence, preservation and true living of our Catholic Faith, as is the fundamental dogmatic and moral training every Catholic child ieceives through the Catechism of Christian Doctrine?
Could not a simple Catechism of Christian Social Doctrine be prepared which in form of question and answer would give the average Catholic working man a grip on the social and economic doctrine of the Gospels, the Church's tradition and the great social Encyclicals, as firm as he has on the teaching of the Church on the articles of the Creed and the Sacraments'?
Among the first attacks on the Faith of the average boy and girl leaving school and entering a factory or business are those springing from the social evils that afflict our times, and it is a common experience both here and on the Continent that among the more active Communists are those lapsed Catholics who first heard of any social doctrine either from Marxian Socialists or Communists. To the active false doctrine and propaganda from these sources the young Christian worker has no effective answer because he is ignorant of the social and economic doctrine of the Church. To combat this state of affairs the Catholic Social Guild, the Young Christian Worker movement, the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists and other similar societies have been created. They have done, and they are doing, ex cellent work. But in each Case, except in so far as they are active in the apostolate of the non-Christian and the atheist, they appear to fall under the objection that they are attempts to close the stable door when the horse is gone.
As a former member of the teaching profession. I hesitate to suggest that the already overburdened curricula of our schools should be made to include another subject. But in point of fact, Christian social teaching is not another subject; it is only a neglected side of a subject which we already give its right primacyReligious Instruction.
The Catechism of Christian Social Doctrine should be simple and not more than half the length of the present Catechism of Christian Doctrine and, like it, proceed from the first principles. What is man? Who are man's social, economic rights? What are his rights in wages, hours, property, family? What are his rights inalienable by The State? . . . And so on to the positive constructive teaching of the great Social Encyclicals on Trade Unions, living wages. etc. Like the Catechism of Christian Doctrine it should include quotations and references to the Gospels, and the teaching of the Popes. And again, like the Catechism of Christian Doctrine, it should proceed by a simple direct answer and question without qualifications except through further explanatory questions and answers: for example; one question might be: Q.-" Does the Church condemn Nationalisation of the means of production?" A.— 'No.", Q.—" Does the Church condemn Nationalisation under any circumstances?" A.—" The Church condemns Nationalisation when the • • • • Developed along these lines and taught parallel with the Catechism of Christian Doctrine, such a Catechism would perhaps go a long way towards stopping the still vast leakage of youth at about school-leaving age. It should also prove a useful addition to the available literature on the subject even for those who have long ago left school, and the ways of study.
BERNARD 1. PRENTIS. The Press Club.