Fr. Martindale In Scotland
Glasgow's " Religion And Life " Week
Conversations On The Clyde About Russia And The Sea
Much, doubtless, has been written about the success of the Scottish C.T.S. biennial "demonstration" in Glasgow. Private owners were most generous in lending exquisite works of art and we like to think of all the quieted nerves which must exist in Scotland now that all these treasures have come home safely, The missionary section was always crowded when I looked into it: it 'mule Inc long all the more for a permanent Missionary Exhibition in our larger cities. A threepenny entrance fee should practically pay the rates; and if one had those little " peep-shows" (which can now be most artistically lit and cleverly given " perspective"), penny-worths of electric light would very soon mount up and cover the original expense. Would there, too, he a way of setting short films going, representing a geyser roaring up into the sky? a volcano in eruption? Children would go crazy over these, and incidentally learn a lot about Maoris and others who live (along with their priests) among these somewhat startling activities of Nature!
The largest room was an exhibition of various Catholic activities; the Legion of Mary was there, cheek by jowl with the Grail: Pax Romana, whose students' magazines in many languages found, to my great surprise, very many sharply interested persons and even purchasers. On the Saturday in children patrolled the rooms—well, not, I suppose, innumerable, but vastly more numerous than ever were expected. Films were shown: a serious lecture was daily given: the whole affair ended with a talk on the Un-making of Man in a crowded cinema.
" Religion and Life" So I cannot be thought to be " crabbing " the C.T.S. demonstration if I say that I was even more impressed by some aspects of the " Religion and Life Week,proceeding concurrently in the Glasgow University. This too is meant, I think, to occur every two years, " Denominations" do not fuse; but provide each their own speeches in separate halls. No one, however, is excluded. Fr. D'Arcy lectured every evening to the Catholics, who were practically flooded-out by their non-Catholic friends. At the last lecture, an audience of 500 was present in a hall built to bold 300 only.
Now we have to recognise the immense importance of university students. They really are passionately interested in the world they live in, its tragedies, and its manifest need for reform. Like most ardent young men and women, they tend to assume that in any case the old methods were wrong, and must be scrapped. They like simplifications, and fall easy victims to the wicked trick deliberately played by agitators—the wholly fictitious contrast between Communism and Fascism " as each meaning one thing only, and as the sole options. placed before mankind. Their spirit of self-sacrifice and their inexperience are just what you would expect— almost limitless in each case.
Speech with Writing
Revolutions everywhere have been largely implemented by these sincere young men and women so many of whom become school-teachers later on. But increasingly (I think) they are beginning to see that merely to " go Red " is getting the world nowhere. " To whom, then, should they go?"
They are beginning to think that the Church after all may possess words of eternal life. Mr. Winston Churchill once insisted to me on the necessity of always coupling the written with the spoken word. Fr. D'Arcy's deep yet humane hooks were what first made hint known. But now that he sees he can speak powerfully to large crowds (not only to sophisticated grouplets), he may 80 combine speech with writing as to make him a first-rank. Catholic apostle in this land.
We, having spent the week talking on the whole about the Sea-Apostolate, were evicted from the city to spend Saturday and half Sunday in the calm home of some very old friends. " Calm," but not noiseless. For the Falls of the Clyde were actually in the park, about 200 yards off, and though the need for electricity has drawn off much of the water, their roaring filled the night. But a deep and lovable roar, quite different from the hammering, thudding anger of the Victoria Falls, two miles from which I once spent a week, having nightmares because of it every night. Yes! on a quiet night you can hear that wooden angry thud for 20 miles: and 1 have seen their dead white smudge of spray-3,000
feet high from a good 30 miles distant. The Clyde was not like that.
But even here was I excavated by a friend recently returned from a long stay in Russia. He had studied chiefly education. He said that had he to generalise about Russia, he would have to say: "Swing back! swing back! swing back! "
As I expected, and as Mr. Colm Brogan in his C.T.S. lecture said, he declared that the idealism of economic Communism was dead. Quite recently. teachers had had their salaries doubled (1,000 roubles a month instead of 500). This put them on a level with managers of factories and added to the " bourgeois" class that Russia is so rapidly creating for the first time in her history. He said that the educational ideal was austere: " No drunkenness; no casual immorality; no religion."
If the Catholics had survived (relatively) better than others (in Kiev, 10 out of 60 orthodox churches were functioning: eight out of 48 synagogues; and two out of three Catholic churches), yet no seminary could exist; priests, unless educated out of Russia, would grow up iguorant: much atheism was directly taught through the Communist party's agencies, though the antiGod museums (said he) appeared to attract the populace about as much as the Hindu section of the South Kensington Museum did Londoners. I said I had no idea how to get to it. He said: " Exactly," The outlook therefore seems to me to be both grim and hopeful.
No " Catholic " Country
Long ago, I used to say that I foresaw no " Catholic country " anywhere, but countries having a larger or smaller nucleus of Catholics within them. That is true to the parable of the Yeast, and will manifestly be true of France and of Spain and of any other country than at present I can think of. Nor, indeed, should the Church be thought of at all in terms of classes, nationalities, or colours. What is emerging is, the Absolute State, and so far as Communism and Fascism are implementing that, they coincide.
From Glasgow I went to. Edinburgh and we had yet another talk on the Apostleship of the Sea, and then returned by the night train to London, the plus-foured man in the bunk above me periodically kicking his golf-clubs over the edge. Moreover, a third-class compartment with four men in it and no windows open is a Black Hole indeed. But anyway one can lie on one's back.