Alex Cosgrove AFTER two visits to the Notting Hill Carnival last weekend Cardinal Hume slipped back to the area almost unnoticed on Monday night to witness for himself the violence he suspected might erupt.
Earlier in the day the Cardinal had spent several hours wandering through the streets of Notting Hill joining in the carnival spirit, listening to the steel bands and watching the floats which formed part of the carnival procession.
He met a number of local people and was greeted by many passers-by who were so obviously pleased to see him enjoying the event, The Cardinal returned to the area later on Monday because he was concerned about the violence that had taken place the previous evening and felt that he wanted to be there.
During the disturbances he took the opportunity to speak to some of the black youths involved in the fighting. Bricks and bottles were thrown at the police, who protected themselves with riot shields and counter attacked with batons, but during a pause in the rioting the Cardinal was also able to speak to police officers.
Later, Cardinal Hume stressed that the trouble must not be allowed to blur the impression of what was in the main a very joyful and successful carnival. "The spirit of the thing in the afternoon was so good and the police attitude was so good," he said. "Later extraneous elements came in for motives that had nothing to do with carnival," The disturbances took place long after the main processions had left the streets and most of the participants had gone home.
"I am quite sure that the carnival and the rioting were not connected as cause and effect," the Cardinal said.
"I think the police were put into a very difficult situation but were very much helped by the West Indian stewards. '
Most of the people involved in the violence were young. Cardinal Hume said that he wholeheartedly agreed with Mr David Lane, Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, who stressed that we all had a responsibility to integrate young black people into our society.
The Cardinal's visit to the carnival was just one of the ways in which he, and those working in the area, have tried to express the Church's concern for the black people in the area.
On the eve of the carnival, West Indians and their families from all over Britain crowded into Westminster Cathedral to celebrate a Caribbean Mass and pray for a peaceful carnival.
A steel band provided the music, while the singing of Caribbean hymns was interspersed with prayerful liturgical dance. Fr Clyde Harvey, who had flown from Trinidad specially for the occasion, concelebrated with a number of chaplains to West Indians and clergy from the diocese.
At the end of the Mass Cardinal Hume thanked all those who had taken part and welcomed the members of the black community, many of whom were in the Cathedral for the first time.
"I am your bishop, we are your priests, this is God's House and your home," he said. "You have something very special to contribute to our society which can be summed up in the words Fr Harvey used in his sermon — creativity and Joy."
After Mass the congregation poured out on to the Cathedral piazza, where they sang and danced to the music of a steel band.
"The Black Community and Continued on page 7
Continued from page 1
the Church" was among the issues discussed at a conference held in Westminster Cathedral Conference Centre last week.
Attendance at the conference was low, but the organisers are hoping that more parish priests from the diocese will take part in the second half of the conference which is to be held at St Anselm's Parish, Southall, Middlesex, this weekend.
• Archbishop Michael Bowen of Southwark is among those who have been invited to take part in a peaceful march and rally against racism in South London on September 10.
The march has been organised by a number of groups in the South London area who are concerned at the growing degree of racial tension. The
marchers will assemble at the Elephant and Castle at 2 pm. The rally was organised many months before the recent disturbances in Lewisham.
Many Christians are expected to join the march. Speakers at the rally, which will be held at Peckham Rye, will include Bishop Michael Marshall, Anglican Bishop of Woolwich and Mr Christopher Price, MP for Lewisham West.
The Catholic Commission for Racial Justice is writing to parishes in the area asking them to support the march.
Cardinal Ugo Poletti, VicarGeneral of Pope Paul for the diocese of Rome, has left the Bemelli Polyclinic of the Catholic University to which he was admitted on August 17 for a series of tests. He had suffered abdominal pains while on holiday.