Typical readers of the popular Press . and 14-year-old pupils at secondary modern schools are the target of an ambitious colourful new series of Catholic Truth Society pamphlets launched today.
Bishop Alan Clark. Auxiliary of Northampton and chairman of the CTS, said the series of 20, all of which were to be published by the end of this year, would give a simple descriptive statement of • what Catholics believed, and would be by authors of different theological backgrounds. Each deals with a sacrament or Catholic doctrine and teaching. The first two published were on the Incarnation. by Fr Henry Wansbough, OSB, of Ampleforth Abbey. and the Redemption, by Fr Andrew Ryder, SCS, of Ushaw College. Up to now the whole of the Church's teaching had been contained in one or two pamphlets written for the CTS 70 years ago, supplemented by others on specific issues as they arose, such as abortion, the bishop said.
The present authors. in the, changed circumstances after Vatican II, faced a tougher challenge. there being now no accepted style of Christian apologetic, nor could the question of communication be solved "by the repetition of formulae. '
Mr David Murphy. general secretary of the CTS, said the series was "elastic" and might well be expanded, adding: "When we started we did not believe that they could be so good."
Forthcoming pamphlets include Bishop Butler, Auxiliary ar Westminster, on the Real Presence: Bishop Clark, on the Priesthood; Fr Michael Hollings. on Confession: Fr Edward Yarnold, SJ. on Our Lady: Fr John Conventry. Si, on Heaven. Hell and Purgatory, and Mrs Margaret Wallace. on Marriage (a pamphlet whose suggested title is "Till Death Do Us Part" — perhaps aimed at fans of Alf Garnett!) The authors have been asked to speak from their own experience of faith and what inspires the Catholic community in simple discourse.
The two pamphlets published are exceptionally easy to read, each around 2,000 words set among lavish full-colour reproductions of Ren naissance artists, Priced at lop each, nearly a million copies — 40,000 of each — will be printed. They are not seen as a "once and for all" statement of faith, as were their
predecessors. but are likely to be updated or even replaced within three years.
Several criticisms were made of the pamphlets at the press conference announcing them — chiefly that the series needed numbering to show that it was a series, and that the titles on the front page — for example: "Now you are God's sons," for the Redemption pamphlets — were rather meaningless.
The appropriateness of Old Masters in a modern statement on the Catholic Faith was also queried, but Mr Murphy said the commissioning of special illustrations would have been prohibitively expensive.
The pamphlets are seen as a contribution to the evangelisation of England and Wales, and Mr Murphy hopes that, many Christians, apart from Catholics. will buy them to see if their own faith is contained in them.
The CTS, founded in 1868, has 500 titles currently in print, including one on Exorcism published, Mr Murphy said, at the suggestion of a Catholic Herald reporter — which has already sold 25,000 copies. The society, backed by its 40,000 members. sells two million pamphlets a year.
available from: Catholic Truth Society. 38-40 Eccleston Square, London. SW1V 1PD.