Snt.—The only point in Mr. O'Reilly's budget on "Having a Baby " which interests me is his reference to the fee of two guineas or one guinea to the priest who baptises the infant.
A priest is not allowed to demand any fee for administrating the Sacraments. We priests make no objection to this law, and give freely and gladly of our time and energy. But objection may rightly be taken to the incredibly mean suggestion of Mr. O'Reilly that any freewill offering which may be made is to be reckoned as a " charge " on the ceremony.
If Mr. O'Reilly knows the law on the matter, then this item in his budget is dishonest, and if he does not he should observe silence on things about which he is profoundly ignorant.
A. C. HAUSER (Rev.).
St. Joseph's Rectory, Chertsey Street, Guildford.
SIR. Why not a parish or central fund
to help when parents find the cost of a baby a desperate matter? Preferably parish, being " on the spot," as it were.
Also, why should better off or childless Catholics not help those of their brethren who are bearing the heavier burden? This would be true Christianity.
I know many cases of young Catholic parents who are living close to the poverty line through living their faith. This should be relieved by collective action, and the giver would deepen his faith in so doing,
M. F. KEANEY.
47, Upper Richmond Road, Putney, S.W.
THESE WARNINGS am always shocked by the " warnings " that appear from time to time in your paper. They " warn" priests that sorneone is going around to presbyteries asking for money and saying that he or she is a Catholic when really it is not so; or, as in a recent issue of the Ca-moue HERALD, they " warn" everyone that a woman is selling pictures from door to door above the price at which they can be obtained from publishers, and so on.
Whether subterfuge is or is not brought into use, men or women hawking goods from door to door, or begging at presbyteries, are obviously in want; and probably their despair is the greater if they have been sdriven to lying. The priest's vocation to charity is one in which the poor have only a shaky confidence nowadays, and these "warnings" can hardly be reassuring. I write not as a naive enthusiast but as one who has frequently been lied to and who has always fallen for the lie, or connived at it, but who has not, therefore., issued pharasaical " warnings."
P.S.-1 have an immense respect for anyone who can get someone to pay 3s. for a picture Burns and Oates produces for 2d..!
[Surely this is a °see of heart overcoming head? The fact that a miui i not a Catholic and yet in want is no ri-absni for refusing to help him, and priests would not retuse that help to genuine distress. So why tell a lie and pretend to be a Catholic? And it is unlikely that the sufficiently skilful liars are in want—except of more and more ulo which lies light in the prieest% m purse and is urgently needed for those about whose wsuit there is no doubt. Moreover the art, of deception can be carried to serious lengths as in the case of the following "warning " received from the w:tekerstary of the Converts' Aid Society this " I understand," he writes, " that a man giving the name of Hugh Pelham (I am afraid lie uses other names at other times) claims to know me, and proceeds to beg from convents and from the clergy.
"I need hardly say that if he is a convert clergyman, and if he is genuine, he would receive help from the Converts' Aid Society1".1