Lviemme. COLUMN iweemiewJ WILL television become a social or an anti-social influence? The great thing in its favour, it can be argued, is that it keeps the family at home, a strong point in this age of the dissolution of family life. But %vitt it destroy the art of reading and the ability to think without visual aids? My dentist confessed to me the other day that he hasn't read a book since he bought his
television set. That seemed to confirm all my worst fears.
Christopher Mayhew, former Assistant Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs who now appears regularly in television and firmly beheves in its potentialities for good. told me the other night of the evil side as he has seen it in the U.S.
There the programmes, as with sound radio, are sponsored and the advertiser is interested only in the largest possible audience. being attracted and held. The largest viewing public. experience has shown, can he apt by sex and violence, or a combination of both. Parents vainly switch from one programme tc, another in an endeavour to find something fit for their youngster to see.
Lowest of the low is the regular tcature in which scantily-clad girls on roller skates circle interminably for haurs on end. The aim is to outstay the others and any means to force them off the rink are permissible.
They crash into each other, tear hair and even gouge eyes. And whole families remain. eyes riveted to the screen. hypnotised by the spectacle whilst they back the probable winners. As a study in morbid psychology it may he of interest but the only other thing to be said for it is that it demonstrates to us how great an evil television may be made.
It certainly contrasts sharply with the Holy Father's vision of what television might be made. given in last week-end's apostolic brief, when he talked of it being made to " contribute greatly to promoting brotherhood among men, improving their lives, and spreading religious and secular culture."
THE lectures and discussions at
the international Catholic Industrialists' Conference to be held in Oxford this week-end should be of more than usual interest. Two which are likely to arouse particular interest are the papers on "Profit" by Dr. Schreiber, secretary general of the Bund Katholischer Unternehmer, Germany, and " The Role of Private Enterprise," by M. J. M. Lamontagne, director general of the Professional Association of Industry, Canada.
CATHOLIC HERALD readers will know that there has been widespread discussion in German political and labour circles on profit-sharing
schemes which also received a great deal of attention at the 1949 German Catholic Congress. at Bochum.
This has led to a great debate among Catholics there on the whole controversial question of the ethics of profit making. and the practicability of profit-sharing and co-part
nership schemes. In France, too. there is much more discussion of these things than we have so far had here.
Catholic industrialists from half-adozen Continental countries are expected to be present at Oxford, along with some from Canada and, of course, from this country.
AN end to the traditional militant hostility of the Belgian Socialist Party to the Church, Christian trade unions and Catholic schools is foreseen by a well-informed member of the
Party whom I met in London last week.
With the rather unsavoury Leopold incident of last year now well behind them -and its lesson that on1.1 the Communists stand to gam by such episodes well to the fore in their .minch — the Socialist leaders are, it seems, anxious to find common ground with the Catholics.
Six hundred thousand workers support their unions; a similar number back the Catholic trade unions. Their interests in industry and on " bread and butter issues ' are, the Socialists reason, almost identical and common action should, therefore, be possible.
Equally, according to my informant, they would like to see a solution to the schools question upon which they have generated so much heat in the past. This, he claims, is the explanation for the apparent vacillations of the Socialist leader M. Speak in recent weeks. Spaak would like to bury the hatchet ad has been testing the feeling of his own rank and file on the question.
His conclusion is that militant anti-clericalism and sectarianism now exist as a live force only among the old guard, the " old age pensioners." who are slowly dying out. But they still have an influence much in excess of their numbers and so. for the moment. Spaak and the other leaders tread carefully and wait their time.
This explanation appears credible if only because such a process is in character with post-war European trends in general.
From a letter from an African missionary. written to me on Easter Sunday: "It is now quite a number of years since the saintly Pope Pius XI declared that ' Africa's hour has struck. A new Africa is rapidly emerging and its people must decide whether it be orientated towards Christ or not.'
" The people who will especially determine that choice are those who are at present studying in Britain, France, etc., and in America. And the tragedy is that the majority of them are being estranged from Christ because we Catholics are not giving Him the opportunity to make friends with them and to win them ..."