APROTE,ST by Catholics in the French town of Rodez has served to underline that the situation of Catholic schools in France is not nearly so good in practice as it is in theory. The opposition of the anti-clericals has in many cases been trans ferred from the centre to the local level where opportunities for obstruction are still many,
In a Parliament dominated for so long by a Gaullist majority. French anti-clericals have had less than their usual scope for being awkward about Catholic schools. The present state of French law, moreover, is more favourable than it has ever been.
By making a contractual arrangement with the government, for instance, Catholic schools can secure Payment for their teachers on the same basis as the State schools. One of the biggest difficulties of Catholic education in France in the past has been that Catholics have not been able to find the money to pay their teachers adequately ancl have for that very reason had to put up with imperfectly qualified men and women.
One of the conditions of a contract between a school and the State is that the teachers are accepted as properly qualified, and in places where the local educational authorities are anti-clerical this has given endless opportunities for delay. In some cases, schools have been waiting two years for their coatracts and there have been outbursts of popular discontent in places like Brittany where the population is strongly Catholic, although those responsible for applying the law are themselves anti-clericals or at least opposed to the existence of two sorts of education in France.
In Rodez the bulletin of former pupils of two Catholic boarding schools has published a strong note on what it calls with some justification "a scandal".
All teachers under 40, it asserts, have been required to take an examination for the Certificat d'optttude profes.sionnelle. an examination often taken by youngsters of 18 to 20. Even in ordinary circumstances this requirement would be insulting, particularly as pupils of these very teachers have been winning considerable success in public examinations.
Two hundred schoolmasters in the department have sat for the certificate examination this year and one only has been passed. The Bulletin sees in this a clear sign
of prejudice and and in reporting the incident the French Catholic daily, La Croix. adds the note: " We have no doubt that the facts are as stated and we hope that in giving them publicity we shall put an end to what is undoubtedly a scandal".
MEANWHILE, American Catholics continue to take President Kennedy to task for his continued stand on the question of Federal aid to Church schools. Many experts have openly disagreed with the President's contention that such aid would be unconstitutional.
Speaking at a Catholic Educational Association meeting in Pennsylvania recently, Mr. William Ball, an executive director and counsel of the Pennsylvania Catholic Welfare Committee, emphasised that many nonCatholic constitutional scholars had supported the Catholic position.
Mr. Ball, a well-known Catholic legal spokesman, said that a "mountain" had been made of the Church State separation issue in
discussions of Federal aid. The men who had framed the constitution, he emphasised, were not hostile to religion, although they had encouraged a certain amount of separation.
To support his contention, Mr. Ball quoted a number of instances in which State funds have gone to Church-related institutions. Among these was the use of Federal funds to pay for training 3,000 Protestant ministers for the ministry under the World War II G.I. "Bill of Rights".
Catholic schools in America now educate one-seventh of the grade and high school students in the country. For the nation to consider forcing such an important educational system into "economic retirement" would, said Mr. Ball, be "fantastic", but it would also be inevitable if massive federal aid is granted to public but withheld from parochial schools.
CONFORMITY is the price being paid by society for Government support of Universities, according to the rector of the University of Ottawa, Fr. IIenri Legare, O.M.I. Universities, said Fr. Legate, are being carried away by a "universal current of socialisation" and were unable "to carry out, in their own individual way, the essence of their mission".
Acknowledging that government had given some great benefits to education, Fr. Legere nevertheless asserted that recent government intervention in Canada had severely restricted the student's freedom of choice.
"As long as institutes of higher learning retained the prerogative of free enterprise," he said, "the individual's choice of method and of
subject was extensive it is, however, obvious, that the more government has taken a hand in education and the more heavily that hand has been weighted on the process of youth training, the more uniformity has set in. "Universities," he explained, "now lack the financial means to withstand the social pressure for uniformity."
Fr. Legare did not blame governments as being especially responsible for these conditions, but described.atem as being due to "the incessant popular appeal to goy
ernment in any and every one of life's difficulties", coupled with the 'exigencies of the scientific revolution".
These exigencies were of such magnitude and force, he concluded, that the uncontrolled competition of private enterprise has become incapable of realising the common good. hence the multitude of laws enacted by governments.
ulCiURES released this week by the International Fides Service show very significant increases in the numbers of native-born bishops and their auxiliaries working in Asian and African dioceses, The survey which contains the figures was timed to coincide with the opening of the Second Vatican Council.
In Asia, there are at the moment 84 ecelesiestical circumscriptions under a bishop of Asiatic origin. This figure does not include the dioceses of the Church of Silence.
The bishops, archbishops and auxiliaries in these territories numher 90 representing an increase of 59 over the 1951 figure. India has the largest number (41). Japan comes next with 14, while South Vietnam has eight, Formosa six, and Ceylon and South Korea four each.
In Africa, the increase in the number of native-born bishops has been equally rapid. In 1951, there were only two African bishops presiding over Sees in their own countries. Today there are 58. Congo (Leopoldville) has five Ordinaries and five auxiliary bishops ; Tanganyika has four Ordinaries and four auxiliaries; Nigeria has two Ordinaries and three auxiliaries and Ghana has four Ordinaries.
PLANS for a campaign to recruit 500 laypeople to serve in the American Home missions in 1%3 have been disclosed by the director of the Extension Lay Volunteers, Fr. John L. Sullivan.
"This is not a programme for weak Catholics." said Fr. Sullivan. "There is no room for escapists who are running away from the obligations of their state in life."
The volunteers, who will all have been chosen by mid-March 1963, wilt leave their homes, their fami
lies and their financial opportunities for a year. In return, they will receive only enough to live on.
"Our volunteers must be solid, balanced Catholics," Fr. Sullivan stated. "They will have above all the satisfaction of knowing that they are doing something significant for their Church."
The programme is being sponsored by the Catholic Church Extension society, which already has over 180 lay volunteers working in 10 states, and will begin formally with a week of orientation beginning on August 23, 1963.
AMER1C A'S Congressional Record has been presented by James Fulton, a Catholic member of the House of Representatives, with a statement on the functions and historical background of ecumenical councils. The presentation was made to mark the opening of Vatican H.
Marist Fathers are planning a one million dollar campaign to rebuild mission stations in the South Pacific, wrecked during the Second World War. Bishop Thomas Wade, S.M., who served at Guadalcanal during the war, has announced that the plan provides
for rebuilding dispensaries, churches and schools in the Solomon Islands, Samoa and Guadalcanal.
The American Hungarian Federation has asked for prayers on November 4, the sixth anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution, "for the deliverance of Hungary and all of captive Fast Europe from the godless demons of Communism" Fr. A. L. Gabriel, 0. Praem., director of Notre Dame Library's Mediaeval Institute, has completed arrangements for microfilming the entire manuscript collection of the famous Ambrosian Library in Milan. Some of the microfilmed material is already arriving at Notre Dame. where it will be at the disposal of the students. The Ambrosian Library, founded in 1609 by i Cardinal Frederico Borromeo, s noted for its collection of some 30,000 classical, mediaeval and Renaissance manuscripts.