Role of Catholic weekly papers
SIR,-Recently the "Guard ian" arrived with the CATHOLIC HERALD on the breakfast table. The "Guardian" devoted a large part of its back page to Christian comment on South Africa, but all I could find in the HERALD was a cautious few inches on the front page and a chatty book review hidden inside.
The affairs of convent schools are, I agree, important and need discussion, but the systematic denial of human rights to eleven million members of the Commonwealth is of slightly more concern at this time. You have given us no facts, no reports of Christian action, no suggestions what we can do about it.
As a teacher of Christian doctrine in a Catholic grammar school, I try to get first things first in the minds of my pupils. It is enough that my sources of information are confined to the secular press, and that, in honesty. I have to point to the heroism of Anglicans in South Africa and the Christian leadership of Anglicans in this country.
But it does not help when the most intelligent and responsible Catholic newspaper can watch one of the greatest injustices of the century and do nothing but gossip about " jet-propelled " cathedrals (whatever they are), fake miracles, convent schools, and wax statues.
As for exercising moderation, there are sonic who would tut-tut at the fury of Christ over the money-changers. Or is it that before expressing the most funda• mental Christian sentiments we must await ecclesiastical approval?
T. H. Chamberlain
158 Robin Hood Chase, Nottingham.
SIR,-Regarding the present trend of affairs in South Africa, you rightly urge us to pray. This apart. is the best advice you have to offer us a detached pro. dence of judgment? Is this the way we are to regard the shooting dead of seventy Africans by their police?
A good Christian woman, Hannah Stanton, has been arrested and held incommunicado by those same police in an unknown place of imprisonment. You do not pass too hasty a judgment upon this. In fact you do not mention it. Are your readers advised to view such a matter with discreet silence?
All mention of the names of persons arrested in connection with the present crisis is a criminal offence in South Africa: many good Christian folk are among their number. Is this the kind of information about which you feel a tacit and unemotional respect must he paid to the wishes of the present South African government?
Trustworthy witnesses have told of the beating up of African servants as they went about their law. ful occasions in the Cape, a province hitherto noted for a comparative moderation in racial matters. Are the rights and wrongs of this to be carefully pondered lest too hasty a comment is made?
F. T. Roberts Grantwood, Egharn Hill, Egham, Surrey.
Catholic weekly papers in this country have, as we understand it, a primary duly, namely to report and comment on the "Catholic news" of the week, at home and abroad. Why? Because if they do not do this, no one else will This ditty is compatible with report and comment on the great moral
issues of Christian and, therefore, Catholic importance.
For example, in our issue of April 1 we published the views on the South African crisis of Archbishop Hurley, 0.M.I., of Durban. This article was specially commissioned by the paper. Other reports and continents have appeared. But it is ridiculous to try to conipare the coverage of any subject, however important, in a weekly Catholic paper with the daily press, which in a week has ten to twenty times more space at its disposal, nut to mention correspondents all over the world. Naturally, we suppose that our readers already read a good daily paper.
As regards our correspondents' references to lighter items of Catholic news and feature, the remedy is in the hands of the Catholic public. Our present guess is that a wholly "serious" Catholic weekly newspaper. sold for fourpence, would be lucky to have ten to twenty thousand readers. In other words, it would at once go bankrupt.
The CATHOLIC HERALD endeavours to maintain a balance of more serious and lighter Catholic news. comment, and feature. as well as a balance of news topics of general moral and social importance and of more directly Catholic issues. But with a readership covering all sections of Catholics in this country it cannot hope to publish issues which will in all aspects correspond with the tastes and interests of any one individual reader.-EDITOR, C.H.
SIR,-I humbly salute M.C. who describes herself as "an old Catholic laywoman" but of whom I like to think as "an
elderly Catholic lady" and as one who is very, very wise. She is emphatic in her disapproval of the handing over of big fees to big business in order to raise funds for parishes and she makes no bones about it 1 On the other hand, G. C. Norman wishes the paid experts "every success "-and so we go on. The money must come from somewhere and so, up to now, we have threshed about in a welter of bingos, pools, and beetles-not ever so dignified, but a good time has been and is being had by all.
And now, praise be, we have Cathos (complete with " softeningup " banquets. directors' meetings, consultants' fees. and the lot!) to aid us in our task of supplementing the inadequate grants which the Government, in its wisdom, doles out to us for the advancement of Catholic education.
But its wisdom goes a lot further than is at first apparent; it offers us the financial advantages of the weekly covenant scheme. And do we accept that offer with both hands and a grateful heart? Do we, as a body, even so much as enquire about weekly covenants? We do not!
May I-not for the first time, nor for the last, 1 hope-remind my fellow-Catholics of that telling " lrishism " which informs us that " there's more ways of killing a Cat than choking it with butter ". We could. if only we would, kill the schools deficiency cat stone dead with a surfeit of covenants.
L. E. Baggaley
(Honorary Diocesan Organiser, Nottingham Diocesan Covenant Scheme) 92 Hilton Road, MappersIey, Nottingham.
'Return to Eleona
SIR'-Thank you for "Return to Eleona" in your issue of April 1.
To meet possible wishes of your readers, could your paper inform that people interested in this revival may apply to and join the International Association of the Friends of the Eleona, 15 rue de la Dalbade, Toulouse. Hte. Garonne, France (subscription, 7s. minimum. and no maximum)? Payments can be made through the Midland Bank .in London, or First National City Bank in Dublin, to be credited to the account of "Eleona" at l'Union Europeenne, 4 rue Gaillon, Paris. Or else through Carmel du Pater in Jerusalem (Jordan), POB 64. The subscription includes the quarterly periodical.
Gaston de Maupeou Eleona.
Mont des Oliviers Jerusalem.
SIR,.-Your readers who have
followed the correspondence on nuclear warfare will be interested, whatever their views, in the conference on the above subject arranged by the National Peace Council for May 27-29 at Spode House. Hawkesyard Priory, Rugeley, Staffs. The week-end is planned to bring together in a common concern for peace both Catholics and non-Catholics, who will be equally represented among the speakers.
Fr. Illtud Evans, DP.. will speak on the ethics of disarmament, and Robin Marris, M.A., of Cambridge on the economic consequences. There will also be talks on the international situation in the light of the summit meeting by William Wells, Q.C., Labour M.P. for Walsall North, and William Yates. Conservative M.P. for The Wrekin.
The conference will begin on the Friday evening and conclude after lunch on the Sunday. Enquiries should be addressed to the National Peace Council. 29 Great James Street, London. W.C.1. the charge for the weekend being £2 5s., of which 10s. should be sent as booking fee.
Charles S. Thompson