Says Dr. Williams at Great Youth Rally
From Our Own Correspondent
"England expects," an impressive pageant-play written by Mr. Flynn, brother of the Bishop of Lancaster, was produced under the direction of Mr. Vincent Curran, at the Birmingham Town Hall, on Saturday, when Catholic youth gathered for its first rally in the Midland city. The play, which was well received, was the subject of a brief description in our issue of last week.
As president and chairman respectively, Archbishop Williams and Bishop Griffin were present to oiler their congratulations to all who are helping to strengthen the Youth Movement in the archdiocese. Both His Grace's speech and that of his Auxiliary proved appropriate preludes to the play so designed to give a comparison between the pagan aims of Germany and the furthering of Christian ideals in our country.
The Archbishop, speaking directly to young people in the body of the hall, said this war showed them " the sort of mess their elders have made of the world. It is now up to the rising generations to do better and profit from the mistakes which have been made," he said, His Grace then asked the younger members of tbe audience to remember two spiritual matters as guides for the future. Let them be loyal to God. Let them also he loyal to their home. Next to God, they owed their greatest debt to their parents, who gave them a start in life when they were helpless babies.
" It it not an easy job to manage a home properly and keep it in good order. Happy homes are the secret of a peaceful nation. If the homes are happy. the nation also will be happy. And, remember. that under Almighty God, the home is the source of most good in the world." Let them, therefore, be loyal to God and be loyal to their home, and if they were always true to God and home, God would bless them and give them peace.
" I WANT TO DIE FOR HITLER I"
Bishop Griffin drew the moral from two authentic stories. In Berlin lust before the war, said his Lordship, a German doctor took an American friend to one of his patients. They entered a poorly furnished home and a haggard woman escorted them into a bedroom where an emaciated figure lay on a cot. "Aged nine, pneumonia," the doctor whispered. He touched the boy's wrist, but the boy tore his hand away, raised it high and shouted in a delirious, unnatural voice: " Heil Ritter!" The mother said hoarsely: "If only they had not made him march!" The father was a Storm Trooper and said the boy
had to go. From the cot came the renewed shrill voice of the " Let me die for Hitler ; I must die for Hitler!"
Four Catholic children heard that a band of Bolshevists were coming to invade the church. They rushed to save Our Lord and, finding the church closed, they climbed through a window. As they could not open the Tabernacle they remained on the altar steps.
Soon the doors were broken open and two of the children were immediately shot dead. Another lad, wounded, was heard repeating: " I have defended Him."
Those two stories, said Bishop Griffin, showed the contrast between Nazi and Christian youth. Yet both boys had immortal souls, redeemed by Christ, made after God's image, destined for His service arid destined for Heaven.
They wished to do the best for Catholic young people because they realised the tremendous power they had of doing good and helping others. They wished to save them from the disaster that had befallen the youth of Germany.
Youth was generous, spontaneous, capable of the highest ideals and of heroic deeds. They were anxious that every Catholic adolescent should be in one or other of the Catholic organisations. At present they were very far from that goal.
" If I speak of the city of Birmingham," said his Lordship, " we have at present 23 clubs for boys and a similar number for girls in the various parishes. We have, in addition, six centres combining two, three or four parishes. We have also a training course for leaders with an average attendance of 120 enthusiastie young members. Our slogan will be Catholic clubs or organisations for Catholic youth under Catholic leaders."