APROPOSAL that societies in Britain interested in the social apostolate should get together and run an English Catholic Social Week —along the lines already adopted by the French societies in their SeMaine &wit'le—is put forward in the annual report of the Catholic Social Guild.
The report criticises English Catholics for not contributing as much to the development of the Church's social teaching as they should. Referring to what is done in France. the report says that "it is support of this kind which helps to make the French social weeks such outstanding events and so important for the development of the Church's social teaching."
"English Catholics should be contributing to this develop ment much more than they are doing", the report adds.
Although the total membership of the Guild has been more or less static for the past few years and is still around the 3,000 mark, the number of organisations affiliated to it has dropped considerably. Last year there were 157 of these. whereas now there are only 118.
The report states that many of its members are being "lost in dioceses where there is no effective diocesan organisation", and adds that the whole structure of the Guild needs a complete overhaul on a countrywide scale.
The reorganisation of the Guild on a diocesan basis has not proved effective and the main centres of activities are still the old branches working in their old areas. Although these have been absorbed by the diocesan organisations, they are still doing most of the work,
For instance, in Birmingham the diocesan committee has found it necessary to confine its work to the city of Birmingham and is unable to reach the more distant parts of the diocese. An effort to organise the whole of Southwark has failed and a new approach will have to be made.
About Middlesbrough the report says: "The Hull branch has a record of great efforts which have never met the success they deserved. There is also a group at Middlesbrough itself but nothing else in the diocese."
The report announces that the Guild's director, Fr. H. 0. Waterhouse, has accepted an invitation to join the Central Churches Group of thc National Council of Social Service. This group acts. as an advisory and co-ordinating body for local churches' groups formed by various denominations to encourage voluntary social service and to make it more efficient.
He also represents the Guild on the committee which administers the Catholic Rind for Overseas Development and is also in close liaison with The Sword of the Spirit.
Of its link with the Association of Catholic Managers and Employers the report states "It is valuable for the proper development of the social apostolatc throughout the country. Wc want Catholic managers and employers everywhere to study and put into practice the Church's social teaching and all Guild members should be ready to help with efforts to multiply these associations".
Fr. Waterhouse is also in close contact with the Metropolitan Catholic Teachers Association who propose to submit a course in religious knowledge for recognition as a subject that can be taken for the new Certificate of Secondary Educatiorr. The course will give "due place to the Church's social teach in g".
"It is clear," the report states, "that Catholic teachers all over the country wish to include the social doctrine in the religious training of their children. It is clear that a growing number of school 'leavers now leave with an awareness that the Church has something to say on the problems they will meet in adult life.
"At the very best it is clear that many young people are entering the professions, trade unionism and politics, equipped with a basic knowledge of principles."
It adds, however, that there is still "a grave need for more educated Catholics having some knowledge of the social sciences".