Page 1, 4th October 1946

4th October 1946
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Locations: Cologne, Rome


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But Cannot Initiate Contacts With British Catholics!

"1 am optimistic. Despite the destruction of churches and of millions of homeless and uprooted Catholics there is great fervour and intense activity in all fields of religious life."

This was the most important statement made by Cardinal Frings, Archbishop of Cologne, when interviewed for The Catholic Herald by H. G. Barnes. The Cardinal covers many of the questions of special interest to our readers, commenting on the prisoner-ofwar camps he had visited in England and on the future of Catholic schools and the Catholic Press in the British occupied zone of Germany and the future prospects for the Church there. A report of the Cardinal's visit to P.O.W. camps appears on page 5 and of his sermon in Westminster Cathedral elsewhere on this page.

By H. C. Barnes As the great Cardinal Galen lay dying, a priest who was watching at his bedside heard him murmur: " It was beautiful in Rome. Ask Frings."

The dying Galen was thinking of the great ovations with which the common people of Rome had honoured him as the bravest WITH A STEEL-LIKE RESOLUTION

It is difficult to imagine two Princes of the Church more unlike in appearance and temperament than Cardinal Frings and the late Cardinal Galen. The

Bishop of Muenster, a true Westphalian, gigantic in stature and simple as a child, outspoken and impulsive, brutally frank as both Nazi Gauleiter and British Commandant must admit, and yet also sweetly attractive and truly

humble. Cardinal Frings, slight of hurld and ascetic, quiet and mild in manner, yet full of true Rhenish humour as one seen discovers when talking to him. Beneath his mildness af manner there lies steel-like resolution and moral courage which make him a worthy successor to Galen.

When I had the privilege of interviewing Cardinal Frings for THE CATHOLIC fleromm last Saturday, hes had just re urned to Westminster after visiting German P.O.W. camps in Scotland and he northern counties. Such visits. .nvolving as they do tong journeys and addresses, and talks to one's fellow. countrymen under very saddening conditions, would be a strain for the most obust of men. For anyone who has lived on the present German rations for several months such a tour must be a truly exhausting business. It was not, therefore, Sarni iNing that Cardinal Frings looked very weary. although he listened to and answered my questions with great patience.

THE P.O.W. CAMPS I began by asking the Cardinal to tell rue something of his impressions of

the P.O.W. camps. He said : I was deeply touched to discover with what

zeal and charity the priests of your country are working on behalf of the prisonem, saying Mass at remote camps and, where linguistic difficulties can be overcome, hearing confessions. I was also delighted to see what grand collaboration there is between British and German chaplains." t protested: " But, Eatiinenz, is that not to be ex pected of Catholies?" The German Cardinal replied: " Indeed it is, but I :lid not know about it."

This simple reply sheds a revealing light on our 'Government's policy of segregating all Germans, good and bad,

from the rest of the world, What purpose can such a policy serve? But the Cardinal's words, " I did not know," point to the urgent need of establishing a Catholic information 'service to overcome difficulties created by illadvised politicians.

I asked the Cardinal whether he was aware that up and down this Christian land are thousands of Catholic prisoners working on fauns and billeted in villages, who for months have had no chance to go to Mass and confession. He 'replied that he was not aware of this and that the lack of transport made it impossible for German chaplains to visit men on remote farms. lk agreed with me when I said that such unfortunate prisoners would return to Germany with a very poor idea of the Christian character of our nation.

" How does Entinenz view the future of Catholicism in the British zone?" I asked.

" I AM OPTIMISTIC " "I am optimistic. Despite the destruction of churches and the millions of homeless and uprooted Catholics, there is great fervour and intense activity in all fields of religious lift. The attitude of our Catholic youth is particularly encouraging and Catholic youth organisations are everywhere

functioning again. In the Rhineland and Westphalia it is once more no uncommon sight to set pilgrimages attended by forty thousand children and adolescents. And that, amidst the ruins and the rubble."

The Cardinal deeply regretted that it had not yet been possible to resume publication of a Catholic youth periodical, which is urgently needed in view of the shortage of hooka and the difficulty of transport. He pointed out that the only youth periodical at present permitted by the Occupying Power is supposed to cater for all denominations and parties, -with the result that Christians, Socialists and Communists all regard it with equal disfavour and suspicion.

" The readers of Toe CATHOLIC HERALD would like to know what the present position is with regard to con

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