WHAT NASSER DID
'WHATEVER else is said of the late president Nasser, he was a man who changed the course of history. The Suez crisis of 1956 did him and his country untold harm, but it also signalled the end of Britain's ill-founded dream of being a Super-Power. From that time on there could be no further doubt : Britain was compelled to face the facts of international life and learn to live without the chimera of empire. The crisis destroyed Sir Anthony Eden, and ended Britain's ancien regime. It meant that Macmillan and Butler could come into their own, and Tory politics were never to be the same again.
Suez was a great humiliation for this country. but it did at least force Britain to begin to carve a different role for herself in international affairs. With Eden gone, we could again look towards Europe as our natural destination.
It was useful, too, for us to face the fact that our so-called special relationship with the United States could be honoured as much in the breach as in the observance. We knew where we were at last, and the folly of trusting our destiny and defences too much to the Americans.
So the ill wind has had its uses and, if the end product is that we enter the Common Market, where we could still be treated as an informal Chairman if we wanted, then our influence in the world could be greater by far than it was in imperial days. But Nasser was more than an ill wind. It is true that he failed to unite the Arab world and has, while containing Communism, opened the Middle East door to Russia. He has also provided a base for Russian adventures in the Mediterranean. The impetus he gave to Islamic aggression has had tragic consequences in the Sudan.
But he has also given his country a place in the sun again, some self-respect and selfconfidence. His modernising plans, and his local brand of socialism, have not yet come to fruition. But a modern sense of direction has been struck : and that is no small thing.
Heythrop in London
THEpresence of the .lesuit Heythrop College as a fully constituted School of London University's theological faculty should have historic significance. The Jesuits and others have their halls of residence in other universities, but the London project is revolutionary. It will bring Catholic theology into a close relation with other theologies and the secular sciences, and it has much to give as well as to receive.
But if one advantage may be singled out above the rest, it is that Heythrop is offering places to the future's lay theologians. These are going to be of the greatest importance for the quality of Christian faith in the Catholic community. This year there will be only five lay women and one man taking the B.D. course at Heythrop. But it need not stay at that.
The point is well put by Fr. R. Butterworth, S.J., in the current issue of the Month: "The sooner Lay Catholics involve themselves in the study and research that will lead them to university posts in theology, the better, the serious drop in the number of priests and religious available in any sector of the educational field will soon be demanding an overall remustering of Catholic educational forces. The new Heythrop will be a great help here .
Heythrop should also produce the sort of z people we need for teaching in Catholic Colleges of Education, as well as in the schools.
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