WHEN the parched, poverty-ridden British pro " tectorate of Bechuanaland receives its independence in September, it will face the serious danger of having to borrow large sums from its next-door neighbour, South Africa. Thus it would become dependent on the land of apartheid—a miserable prospect for Bechuanaland's half million African people.
Already, 30,000 young men have gone to South Africa for work, sending their wages back home to their impoverished families.
Wedged between South Africa, Rhodesia and South West Africa, Bechuanaland is frequently ravaged by drought. The current famine has been one of the worst and is expected to continue into next year. More than half the population is destitute, cattle bones bake in the hot sun, winter rains were so late that spring crops could not even be planted. Moneylenders travel about with offers of help that enslave the people to life-long debts.
Most observers are convinced that the only way the country—which will be called the Republic of Botswana on September 30--can save itself from the choice between starvation or apartheid is by building up its own economy.
One project "to help the hungry to help each other" has been launched jointly by Oxfam and the British Co-operative Movement. The aim is to establish Co-ops in five tribal centres. One has already been started with a one-room store providing seed, farming tools and basic foods at fair prices.
The thousands who have joined are both customers and owners, earning dividends on their purchases just as British Co-op members do.
To get started and equipped the project needs £30,000. It is hoped that all this will come from Co-op shops in Britain. Several have already allocated a share number to the project, and member-shoppers who want to contribute quote that number at the till instead of their own. Then the dividend goes to Bechuanaland Co-operatives.
In Britain, there are 131 million Co-op members who can participate in this scheme simply by asking for the Bechuanaland dividend number at their local store. Let's hope that Christians will be the keenest to do so.
Generosity—the world over
F,VEN though our readers are well-known for their generosity we have been surprised by the number of donations for Susie Younger whom I wrote about on June 17.
Miss Pamela Corbett, Secretary of the Susie Younger Korean Trust which raises the funds for Susie's missionary activities, phoned me this week with the news that £325 has been contributed by CATHOLIC HERALD readers all over the world from Spain, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Kenya, Jordan and, of course, the British Isles.
Susie returns from Retreat in Lourdes on September 4 and will go on a fund raising tour before returning to Korea. She is especially anxious to get hold of some equipment for her new agricultural school such as tape recorders, a projector (35mm. if possible), typewriters (10 needed), a calculating machine, and microscopes.
If any of our readers have such secondhand equipment I would be very glad to hear from them.
A wonderful time?
DELEGATES to the second annual Wanderer DELEGATES sponsored by the national Catholic conservative weekly The Wanderer, had a wonderful time at their recent meeting in St. Paul, Minn.
They attacked everyone they could think of including Hans Kung, Michael Novak, Episcopal Bishop James A. Pike, U.N. Ambassador Arthur Goldberg and Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren.
A priest-delegate had this to say about Teilhard de Chardin: "1 don't care if Chardin was right or wrong: he's dead and I'm not sorry." Fr. Kung was called a "Catholic semi-Lutheran."
According to the press agency which reports the goings-on one of the more moderate delegates told his colleagues: "Do not go so far as to presume that every change in the liturgy is conceived by the Communists."
There is nothing quite like good Christian charity!!
AS Time magazine put it: "Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf is the film version of Edward Albee's play with every four letter word intact." With Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton "tear ing one another's guts out" in the marriage quarrel to end all marriage quarrels, it's definitely not a film for everyone to see.
Since .opening in the West End the film has been highly praised by critics and rather surprisingly, few Church leaders have come out with any bitter condemnations. But, in America, the film is causing a big storm in Catholic circles.
It seems the Selection Board of the National Catholic Office for Motion Pictures has been attacked for giving it an A-4 rating which classifies it as "morally unobjectionable for adults, with reservations". Defending .itself, the board says its role is not to take over the individual conscience "but to offer moral guidance to assist the individual to take a personal, responsible decision".
The board maintains that "in the context of the drama and its characters, the film's obscene and blasphemous language is not used obscenely and blasphemously". But this explanation is not good enough for some of America's Catholics. Martin Quigley, Jnr., son of one of the founders of the National Legion of Decency, says the board's attitude sets a new criterion. Where formerly judgment was based on good taste, now it was evidently based on "moral absolutes".
Says Quigley: "Christians cringe from the profane use of the name of Jesus Christ . . . every man who truly loves a woman and every woman who truly loves a man, cringes from verbal obscenities. There is no justification for a torrent of blasphemy, profanity and obscenity, on or off the screen.'
Aquinas v. Scotus
THE Franciscan philosopher Duns Scotus has started a rage by being born in or around 1266. Because of the difficulty philosophers have found in understanding his work, he has been known as the "Subtle Doctor". By comparison, the philosophy of his contemporary St. Thomas Aquinas is an open book—so clear, in fact, that his title is the "Angelic Doctor".
As influences in shaping the Church's official attitude to life, these two thinkers have competed over the centuries, with St. Thomas well in the lead until now, the centenary of Scotus' birth.
But Scotus himself, because he concentrated on concrete things rather than abstract principles, has been an inspiration to many poets and other existentialists — notably to the Jesuit who is regarded by many as the one great Victorian poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Now the centenary has made Scotus much more than a great philosopher. It has made him news. In view of this, a vital question has been asked recently by Bishop Cashman of Arundel and Brighton. The question is: "Should auld Aquinas be forgot?"
IN an idle moment this week I amused myself by thumbing through the 1.936 copies of the CATHOLIC HERALD. As usual the musicians were having a good old ding-dong in the correspond ence columns (and they're still talking about the same things! ), but there was a much fiercer battle raging.
The Wimbledon tennis championships were under way, and the editor printed the picture of .Miss Helen Jacobs which I reproduce. The reaction, to put it mildly, was explosive.
"Can you wonder that some think your paper tainted with paganism?" asked one reader. And an Irish doctor suggested that "women who appear in public in these abominable 'shorts' are as much undressed as the semi-nude figures disgracing our seaside resorts."
Another reader thought that "It is quite certain that the Catholic ideal of womanhood is in direct conflict with the picture of an Amazon who strives before a Wimbledon crowd for the coveted and fiercely contested tennis crown."
It did not end with Wimbledon and Miss Jacobs, of course. One reader took the opportunity to complain that in this terrible age (1936) "even Convent girls dance in public .. stockingless".
A fearless Bishop
AS an authentic voice on the evils of apartheid Bishop lc:lost de Blank, whose article appears on the opposite page, can have few equals. Race relations are his over-riding interest and it was as Archbishop of Cape Town from 1957-63 that he fearlessly condemned the South African Government's policies.
Soon after his return to England—he resigned his Cape Town post for health reasons—he acted as a consultant to the British Council of Churches, helping them to produce their highly critical Report on South Africa.
Now he is the chairman of the Greater London Conciliation Committee whose brief is to check any kind of racial discrimination especially in theatres, restaurants and hotels.
Bishop loost de Blank is 58 and a bachelor. He is the author of nine books including Parish in Action, his ideas on parish structure and organisation. His most recent book, Out of Africa, was published in 1964.
GUESS what is one of the biggest hit tunes on heachside juke boxes in Italy this summer? Better give up, you'll never get It.
A catchy waltz, solo voice, backed by choir and accordions entitled "Pope John, the Pope of Goodness." Its eleven verses tell how the late Pontifl visited prisoners and sick children. The chorus declares "God wants to make you a saint."