ALTHOUGH there are
frequent. pleas from heads of churches and other world leaders concerning the problems of poverty. Robert Kahn still finds it an uphill task to educate fellow Catholics and all Other citizens for that matter in their moral responsibilities.
Aged 33, he is appeals organiser for War on Want and also a member of the national Justice and Peace Commission. His background is unusual in that he is an expatriate American from Atlanta, Georgia, and a convert from Liberal Judaism.
His wife, Sylvia, who is expecting their fifth child, is a convert from Anglicanism and is an economics graduate of Liverpool University.
He has served as world poverty secretary to the Catholic Institute of International Relations and has worked for Action for World Development. a non-political and non-sectarian ginger group that lobbies on behalf of the world poor.
He works in the world poverty field because he considers that this is the gravest issue of our time.
On the Catholic scene. he says: "I think it is unfortunate that the educational body and the fund raising body, that is C.I.I.R. and the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development, should he separate entities. They should be combined in a fund raising and eduitional programme."
laANOTHER sign of the increasing!), outward-looking approach of the Church conies from Paris where Bishop Pezeril. Auxiliary of Paris, recently
gave a lecture to members of the Grand Masonic Lodge of France. He spoke on "The Signs of the Catholic Church of Tomorrow."
According to a Press spokesman for the Paris archdiocese. Mgr. Pezeril considered that his initiative was perfectly reconcilable with his duty as a bishop. He added that he was ready to respond to invitations from other groups and movements, "whatever their origin or orientation."
Sent to Coventry
THREE Catholic religious have been officially sent to Coventry in the cause of ecumenism. The modern style Anglican cathedral which arose out of the ruins of the old which was shattered in one of Hitler's most notorious "Baedeker" raids is a focal point of church unity and international reconciliation, as well as a showpiece.
On loan to the cathedral from the English Jesuit Province is Fr. Ronald Darwin S.J., a graduate in sociology, who has been working since Christmas in the cathedral's urban studies department.
An American Dominican, Bro. John McGuire, 0.P., from the Dominican College of the Catholic University of America in Washington, is on the temporary staff helping to cope with the hordes of visitors to the cathedral. Bro. John cornpletes his theological studies next year, when he hopes to be ordained.
At the cathedral international residential centre, John F. Kennedy House, a Benedictine, Dam Austin Gurr, 0.S.B., a monk of Douai, recently attended a "Service and Study" course of the type which will be attended throughout the summer by students from all over Europe.
This does not complete the picture of Catholic participation on the Coventry ecumenical front, The cathedral development officer, Mr. John Sutherland, is a Catholic who was educated at Ampleforth and St. Edmund Hall, Oxford.
"The very high proportion of economically active among the immigrants, and the very low proportion of retired people, means that immigrants contribute more to, and take out less from, social service expenditure than the population in general. At present expenditure per head for migrants is £48.7, while expenditure per head for the whole population is f62.4."
—"Facts and Figures," a booklet issued by the Race Relations Committee of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
Screening the saints
MOST people have heard of the General Promoter of the Faith for the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of the Saints under the label of "Devil's Advocate." The man who now holds this singular post is Fr. Rafael Perez, a former canon law professor from the old Spanish university city of Leon.
His task is to probe the background of the candidates for sainthood, examine the evidence put forward in their favour and test the trustworthiness of the witnesses. The process is often tortuous and can span centuries, necessitating each promoter picking up the work of his predecessor, although sometimes it can be finished within a few years.
Fr. Perez said in Rome recently : "By the time we are through you can be sure we have real saints, Christians worthy of being set up as examples for mankind." The candidate for canonisation needs a backer for presentation and to pay the bills of the cause. This is usually provided by the religious institute or the diocese, usually with the services of a specialised lawyer.
There are a dozen of these at the Vatican, priests and laymen, experts in theology and canon law, whose job is to demonstrate clearly the reasons for canonisation and answer objections.
Referring to a recent case with which he had been involved, Fr. Perez picked up a thick, red-hound volume with 55 pages of objections against one candidate which he had entered in Latin. The lawyer helping to promote the cause had taken 129 pages for his reply. "We had to sweat a lot," said Fr. Perez, "but there were a lot of holes to be filled in."
Although saints were normal persons with human failings they are expected to have shown heroic virtue to the satisfaction of the Devil's Advocate, the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, and the Pope. Evidence is collected from witnesses and with other evidence is sifted by some of the 27 advisers attached to the Congregations. They must swear to keep their deliberations secret even from one another, and disagreement between them could delay or even kill a cause.
After heroic virtues and fame are established, miracles —medical cures which cannot be explained by scientific means—have to be proven in face of severe questioning by the Devil's Advocate, before beatification takes place. More tests and another two miracles are necessary for canonisation.
"People think I am the enemy of the saints," says Fr. Perez. "It is not true. It is my duty to guarantee that only really worthy Christians receive the highest honour of the Church."
Pope's belief in Hell
ALTHOUGH the Pope never seems to mention the topic of Hell, he certainly believes in it, according to his personal theologian, Fr. Luigi Ciappi, who has written in L'Osservatore Romano, arguing that there is no inherent contradiction between God's infinite mercy and the finality of Hell.
He writes: "It may be objected, as sonic do, that Paul VI, although he is more aware than anyone else of the real dangers hanging over Christian people, never warns the faithful about the doctrine of Hell. But it must be recalled that he approved the document Lumen Gentium (a Vatican Council document which mentioned eternal fire) and ordered it to be published."
Fr. Ciappi conceded that Pope Paul had mentioned only Paradise and Purgatory but not Hell in the Creed of the People of God which he issued in 1968. However, in the profession of faith by Paul VI there was an implicit admission that there are souls that do not die in God's grace, and who therefore are not granted access to Purgatory or Paradise.
Persecution in Moslem state
'-rHE inherent state of tension
in which Moslem and Christian communities exist in many parts of the world is underlined by the recent situation in Saba, a part of Borneo and the Malaysian Federation. The Christian community there is being subjected to a sort of pressure equivalent to persecution.
The conflict is not so much religious as political; the party in power, predominantly Moslem, seems determined to maintain a system of discrimination against the Christians. More than 40 missionaries of various denominations, including 17 Catholic priests, have been deported in the last seven months, Both Christian and nonChristians are under continual pressure to become Moslems.
The Prime Minister, Turn Datu Mustapha, has accused missionaries of interfering in politics. According to police sources, an 80-year-old Carmelite nun was among those recently made to leave the country, as she was an "undesirable."
Saba has a population of about 600,000. This includes 150,000 Christians, of which 80,000 are Catholics. When Bishop James Buis, a Dutch Mill Hill Missionary who heads the apostolic vicariate of Kota Kinabulu, consecrated Fr. Peter Chung (who is Chinese but a citizen of Malaysia) as his coadjutor with right of succession, the new bishop was deported a few days later. He now Jives in the neighbouring state of Brunei, and is allowed to make occasional visits to Saba.
There are 33 Mill Hill missionaries in Saba, five Chinese priests, born in China, and another four Chinese priests born in Malaysia. The Catholic Church runs 159 out of 670 schools in Saba, and the government runs 337.
More need for Samaritans
THAT ultimate and pitiable A cry of earthly despair, suicide, appears to be on the wane in Britain. Recorded suicides have declined from a peak of 6,247 in 1963 to 4,779 in 1969, the year for which the latest figures are available.
Paradoxically, the Samaritans, that nationwide organisation whose 11,000 members man the end of a 'phone, prepared to listen to all who want to pour out their despair, had more clients than ever during 1970.
Since the Rev, Chad Varah, Vicar of St. Stephen Walbrook in the City of London, started the first Samaritans post there in 1953, the movement has received 250,000 clients.
Although they need more volunteers as well as more money, they use rigorous selection procedures for their workers. There arc 114 branches in Britain, including one in Dublin all of whom raise their own income, about £1,000 each a year to cover advertising, 'phone
bills, light and heating. The national organisation receives about £12,000 and there are only two general secretaries to co-ordinate the work nationally.
Contacts turn to yoga
rr HE indefatigable John Mountjoy and his colleagues who organise the Contacts ecumenical get-togethers at weekends in London convents are keeping their programmes as ambitious as ever. Their talks have in the past ranged over pentecostalism, non-violence. Judaism and Teilhard de Chardin.
One of the highspots of next year's menu, in the spring, is a crash course in yoga which will be largely conducted by Alan Babington, who, when not spreading the lore of yoga, is music librarian at Swiss Cottage public library. Twice a week finds him at evening institutes at Holloway and Hackney. On Sundays he conducts two hours of meditation and instruction in his Hampstead home.
Mr. Babington claims to enjoy a strength and vitality he could not have known apart from the steeling, but relaxing. discipline of yoga. He agrees with the Benedictine, Fr. Dechanet, that by giving the body proper Test it helps the mind to relax.
Yoga is said to stabilise emotion and enable the adherent to stand up to and respond to the daily challenge of life.
Mr. Babington insists there is much more to yoga than mere relaxation. A man must learn to act, so to speak, without action, to thrust self aside and allow the energy and greater fife that is beyond the ego, beyond the self, to take control. - In the Contacts scheme there will be yoga residential weekends. It is forecast that they will have many of the rigours of being a Carthusian monk — but only for a weekend.