RELATIONS between Catholics and Protestants in Latin America are improving. Argentinian members of the World Council of Churches have told its central committee, meeting last week in Paris, that theologians of both sides are beginnin_g to make contact in a quiet, unofficial way, to exchange ideas and for common Bible study. The Rev. Rudolf Oberinueller of Buenos Aires said that in Sao Leopoldo, Brazil, professors of the Jesuit college and of the Lutheran theological college are inviting one another to lectures. He also reported that a Catholic archbishop in Peru had invited some Protestant pastors to his cathedral during a special week of prayer. "There are indeed hopeful signs," said Professor Obermueller, "that the enmity which was so bitter in quite recent years in Colombia and Mexico will be overcome ecumenically." The executive secretary of the World Council's Faith and Order department, the Rev. Patrick Campbell, paid tribute to Catholic scholarship concerning the World Council. He was formerly a pastor of a Scottish Episcopalian church. Ile added: "Have we for so long protested against the exclusiveness and isolation of Rome that we now awake to find that it iswe who maintain the isolation through our ignorance or incapacity to enter into conversation, except at a somewhat superficial level ? "What place does the study of Roman Catholic ecumenism play within our Churches and theological faculties? The answer
to that question is e acid test of our professions of goodwill before the opening of the Second Vatican Council." The new dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church "is a tender plant which could be killed by too much water as well as by neglect."
AFIER 40 years of persecution at the hands of Nazis and Communists. the 89-year-old Archbishop of Kaisedorys. Lithuania, has died. He was Mgr. Theo PhiTias Matulionis, who was first arrested by the Communists in 1922 and spent three years in a Moscow prison. During the war. when Lithuania was occupied by the Nazis, he had to fight to defend the rights of the Church. Russia took over again in Lithuania in 1944, and two years later Mgr. Matulionis was arrested again as a result of one of his pastoral letters. He was sent from one prison to another over a period of 11 years, but in 1957. when his health was already failing., he was repatriated to Lithuania.
CA T II 0 L I C. Protestant and Jewish scholars some 200 altogether have met at Bonn' University this week, under the auspices of the I nternati nnal Organisation for the Study of the Old Testament, for a special congress. They have been discussing the results of recent scholarships. The Organisation was founded in 1950 in Leyden, Holland.
mOR E than half the Catholic churches of Albania have been turned into dance halls or storage centres. In 1942, ten per cent of the populatiop were Catholics, but the people have been driven from the Church by terror methods. According to official Albanian reports, only seven Franciscans now represent the Catholic Church in that cutintre.
AU.S. Catholic emergency relief -unit has arrived in Algiers to help an expanding Catholic relief programme among refugees and needy persons throughout this wartorn country. The resident delegate in Algeria of the U.S. Catholic Relief Services, Mr. John 'I'. Crowley, has signed an agreement iih the Algerian provisional government. This provides for the importation and distribution of food, clothing, medicine and other relief supplies for thesick and needy. It is the only official agreement entered into by the Algerian provisional government with any oluntary body.
TlIERE arc nearly 300,000 Catholics in Trinidad the West Indian island which became independent this week and they make up 34 per cent of the population. Another 30 per cent is Anglican. The Archbishop of Port of Spain, Mgr. Finbar Ryan, 0.1'., of the Irish Dominicans. is an historical figure. He is now Si and has been Archbishop since 1940. There are 53 parishes under his control, with 16 diocesan and 114 regular priests; native priests number four, and there are now 14 seminarians. There are 256 religious working in 199 establishments, and 55,552 pupils are taught in 145 Catholic schools. Six Catholic. welfare centres care for 671 inmates.
The government gives a twothirds grant to Catholic schools. High schools are run by the Holy Ghost Fathers and Belgian Benedictines. Teachers include the Sisters of St. Joseph, and Carmelite Sisters are leading social workers. There is also an important Catholic industrial school.
The government's attitude to the Church is neutral. The premier, Dr. Eric Williams, is a lapsed Catholic. The Home Minister, Dr. Solomon, has returned to the faith. Other government members are in no way bigoted against the Church. The first Trinidadian Governor, Sir Solomon Hochoy. is a Catholic, and his wife is a first-rate welfare worker.
Trinidad has an illegitimacy rate of 49 per cent.
LOANS for housing, crops and sanitation projects for lower income workers are pouring in for -fishermen on the coast, coffee planters in jungleland, and day labourers in Lima as the result of a million-dollar agreement between the local Catholic credit unions of Peru and the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington. Fr. Joseph Serjeant of the Central Credit Union says that the TDB money is restricted to credit unions whose members make only 140 a month or less. It can be used only for }miming, agriculture, sewage and drinking water project4. There are 91 credit unions affiliated to this central body, and more are joining it from among the 300 similar groupings founded by the Maryknoll Fathers' co-op expert, Fr. Dan McLellan.
Here are sonic examples of what is being done: More than 700 miles to the north-east of Lima, in green jungleland whose rivers feed the Amazon, the U.S. Joan money is administered by Sister Carmen Luz Peralta of the Sisters of Social Service of the Immaculate. Wearing the dress of an ordinary working woman, she is making substantial loans to coffee growers. Nine loans to the St. Pius X parish credit union in the northern mountain city of Cajamarca already total about £7,000, This is used for low cost housing with 20year mortgages under the direction of Fr. Quintin Garcia, a Spanish Dominican. These missionaries are saving the small farmer from the middle men who have tended to hog the harvest profits. And they are cutting through the bureaucratic red tape so often associated with secular credit union systems.
ARCIIRISHOP GONZI has cut short his visit to Maltese troops in Germany and returned to Valletta as a result of the major political crisie now facing the island. The Premier, Dr. Borg Olivier, has returned to Malta after the breakdown of his efforts to secure financial assistance from Whitehall, and has now asked for outright independence. Though he may now seek aid Irons a number of European countries, it is felt by some observers that the stream of financial grants if any-would not flow indefinitely, and that it is essential for the Maltese government to establish a firm economic policy, attracting foreign investment and developing art internal co-operative system.
Meanwhile. Malta's Catholic Action has set up a social aid secretariat to help the sick and to digtri!lute relief supplied by the
Catholic Relief Services. It also has an employment exchange and a service to supply families with machinery (like sewing machines), enabling them to earn money. Selling organisations for such families are also to be set up.
T" next stage in the Chilean Church's programme of turning its farmlands over to small farmers will take place at Melipilla on September 18, when the first of 26 parcels of grazing and wheatlands will be transferred from the Santiago archdiocese to the new owners.
The first transfer of property took place in Talcs diocese in June, when 17 tenants formed a cooperative and took over a 455-acre dairy and truck farm, At La Pateguas, in the highlands. the Santiago archdiocese has given a large rangeland area to 50 families, which also have formed a co-op. Ultimately, all diocesan-owned farmlands will be turned over to the people.
PROJECIS aimed at helping people in seven underdeveloped areas abroad have been selected as the Catholic goals in Australia's coming "Freedom from Hunger Campaign". The Church is solidly backing the national door-to-door campaign to raise a target of nearly £1,000,000. Proceeds will go to UNICEF and FAO. Small farmers and fishermen will benefit in British North Borneo, India, Pakistan, Vietnam and