I hear that Intercare is forming a link that should enable them to help and be helped by CA F'OD. This is good news, for Intercare is a particularly worthwhile organisation doing a vital job superbly well. What chiefly differentiaties Intercare from well-meant but amateurish efforts to supply Third World countries with medical supplies is the impeccable professional supervision of the directors, Drs Patricia! O'Keefe and David Rosenberg. But Intercare, of course, does more than -merely send muchwanted drugs to missionary countries.
It plays an important role in promoting the work not just of nuns in Africa, but of African nuns. It seems strange that even now the presence of African sisters working in their own continent is not generally known. There are 50 congregations in East Africa alone.
They undertake work of almost every appropriate kind, particularly in the rural areas: teaching, nursing, farming, organising groups of mothers in villages, visiting families and discussing problems. The con
tribution they have made to the health of the people in their countries is becoming well known locally.
Another preoccupation of Intercare is the effective tackling of disease and malnutrition in developing countries by prevention. At present, I'm told, 50 per cent of children in these areas die before the age of five, but 80 per cent of such deaths arc preventable. Proper medication and health programmes are the crying needs.
Intercare now seems more favourably poised than ever to he able to supply such needs on a really exciting scale. (Intercare operates from 49 Melton Road, Leicester.) ***** A priest friend of mine labouring in the pleasant vineyard of the Bahamas sends out a regular and lively newsletter. A recent one contains this interesting little titbit: "And Jesus said to the theologians: 'Who do you say that I Am?' And they replied: 'You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being. the actualisation of the potential God-man relationship which is the divinely intended truth about every man, the kerygma manifest in conflict at the cutting edge of the humanising process, the paradigm of human perfection.'
"And Jesus said: `Wha-a-a-t'?"
A good joke, you may think. at the expense of some of the modern jargonists whose lingo" is indeed almost as incomprehensible as the stuff that was solemnly being put across (except it was then in Latin) in the average seminary 30 years ago. But there is surely more to it than that. Do we not recognise a parody of the famous conversation that took place at Caesarea Phillipi?
On this occasion, it will be remembered, Our Lord, according to one account, addressed St Peter with the famous words: "Thou are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gales of hell shall not prevail against it." .Which of the Gospels (without cheating) includes this passage? Why do two out of the three otherwise identical accounts of the occasion given in the Synoptic Gospels leave this famous sentence out? What are your views about possible interpolation at a later date? How do you account for the fact that the Evangelist whose Gospel was the first to be published (and which the others used as a model) was a companion of St Peter's in Rome and there learned all he knew — and yet failed to report the words: "Thou art Peter"?
Enough homework I fancy, for the time being!
As a Freeman of the City of London I occasionally go to the Guildhall to vote for various personages, such as possible future Lord Mayors.
It's all good sport, and the most recent victor in that particular election was of course Sir Murray Fox. Last Thursday, in the Guildhall's crypt, he was presiding over an appeal for funds for the completion of the Caxton House Settlement in North Islington — a project with which he has long been associated. The actual launching was done by Lord Hunt, President of the Appeal.
It is no ordinary project, I can assure you. If and when it succeeds, it will transform an area of Islington, where there are acres of barren sites and old houses scheduled for demolition, as depressing as anything of their kind still to be seen in post-war I.ondon. There is, at the moment, little or no play space, and the old people have to walk miles to the nearest shops.
The scheme to redevelop along socially conscious lines is not of course a purely private venture. But this particular' appeal is designed to take "over the top" the generous start already made by Islington Borough, the Home Office, the GLC and the Inner London Education Authority.
The support of the Lord Mayor is likely to prove specially helpful. I'm glad I voted for him!