HOW easily we deceive ourselves! Over and over again in recent weeks Catholics have told me that the revolt in Hungary "proves that all the attempts of the Communists to indoctrinate youth,
despite their much vaunted techniques, have failed completely."
It does nothing of the sort. If it proves anything at all, it is not that the Communists have failed to influence children. but that the Catholics had already succeeded before the Communists took over.
The fact that large numbers of those v,ho led and fought in the revolt were students and people in their late teens and early twenties proves how right the Church has been when it has stressed the importance of a combination of a religious home background arid early grounding in the Faith in Catholic schools.
Hungary has even now had little more than 10 years of Communism. In other words, the youngest college students of today were already eight years old when the Communists began openly to capture control of the first postwar Government. They had been in the hands of Catholic parents, priests and school teachers until that time. "Give me the child un til he is eight • . "
They are what Catholics. not Communists, have made them.
But it works both ways. The serious problem arises when a Communist regime survives long enough to have the youngsters in its hands throughout those formative years. The possibility of a revolt against Communism is much greater in early days such as these than it is later on.
DOES our possession of what
passes for a common language make it easier or more difficult for Britain and America ha get along together? In balance suppose it helps. Yet it often leads to misunderstandings too.
Much of the difficulty arises from the fact that it is so easy, and so wrong, to suppose that having a common language we have also a common cultural and general background.
This is true only in part. Because of our very different histories we British are excessively sensitive on some points about which the Amercans could not care less; they are touchy on others In particular I would say, they suspect us of 1 "superiority"— thinking ourselves a good deal smarter than they arc; 2 hypocrisy, manifesting itself in a tendency to sermonise them whilst still being ready to double-cross them; 3 lack of frankness, showing itself in a willingness to appear to be going along with them whilst at the same time "playing our own game"; 4 still wanting to boss the whole world around even though we are no longer in a position to do so.
In doing three long tours of the U.S. which between them have taken me into every part of the country and into almost every State, those have been the criticisms of Britain which I have met most frequently.
One reason why the present outburst of anti-British feeling was so strong and so near to universal when Israel, Britain and France went into Egypt was, I think, because our action appeared to most Americans, on the basis of the information available, to confirm ell these suspicions.
Once more, I must repeat that I believe there was never any need for it to have been so strong. Had our own and the American Intelligence been more alert or, possibly, if our respective Governments had taken more notice of what they were being told by their own Intelligence the world might have been more aware of the danger of important parts of the Middle East, which is of such enormous strategic importance today, passing into the Soviet sphere of influence.
I LEFT Britain a week or two
before our entry into Suez. Yet the last job I did before leaving home was to write a long article on the rapid growth of Communist influence in that area.
to it I gave facts and figures concerning the growth of the Communist Party in the various Arab countries and the degree of Soviet military and economic penetration of Egypt, Syria and other countries of the Middle East.
I described it as a fantastically successful example of Communist penetration into an area hitherto largely closed to such influences, I took a similar line in a lecture given in London last February.
Surely our two Governments knew all this too? It did not require "captured documents", such as British sources quoted after the military operation was already well under way, to prove that this was so.
pROM the Dominican parish at
Woodchester in Gloucestershire comes what I imagine to be the first ever published " Parish List." This, in fact, contains the names and addresses of all parishioners as on November 18,
1956. The idea, says the duplicated list, "is to help all parishioners to feel themselves members of a Christian family, working together for the glory of God." It is certainly one way of promoting the "community " feeling and starting to solve the constantly arising problem of " the lonely Catholic," whether convert or cradle. Even for the outside reader, it is quite interesting running through the names and addresses and trying to imagine the people behind the names—in this cast finding one of our Catholic M.P.s among them. I should have thought that Woodchester's example could be widely copied, a small committee of parishioners. working with the clergy, to tompile and periodically to bring up to date the '' Parish List." Woodcheater Catholics are tabulated at the end in terms of households, adults and children of different age groups to make up a total of "545 souls—and may the good God bless them all Amen?' Husbands and wives are listed in the form of. " Mr. (& Mrs.) John/ Mary Blank."
Oxford on the map
()XFORD is often considered to
be something of a backwater, its high academic outlook separating it from the rough and tumble of the outside world. I doubt it. Anyhow, having spent a day and a half there last week-end—to help celebrate the patronal feast of Campion Hall and venerate the piece of rope used at the martyr's execution which the Hall possesses —I certainly managed to see and hear a good deal more than London seems to offer. Here are a few vignettes, as it were. Perhaps the most famous economist in the country (a Catholic) explaining that he did not think that the economic repercussions of Suez would he as had as people expected—with the added view that things were bad enough anyway. A learned Dominican pointing out that we were all tending to overlook the growing strength and importance of Islam as the factor behind events in the Middle East and Africa. A Don lately back from Hungary, describing his stay in the Legation, sleeping on an up