going to Poland for the millenial celebrations next month is a disappointment. Ever since Pope John's famous apertura a sinistra, there were signs that the Vatican and the Warsaw Government were quietly making headway in the search for peaceful coexistence.
Now the well-meant letters of reconciliation sent by the Polish Hierarchy to their German confreres have wrecked, for the time being at least, the efforts to establish a modus vivendi and have put the Christian-Marxist dialogue back a long way.
The letters were designed to show some Christian charity and forgiveness among the bishops of the two countries. Presumably as a mark of sincerity, the Polish Hierarchy went on to pronounce on the Polish-German border issue— and gave it in favour of the border as it was under Hitler.
The whole thing was innocent in intent. There can be no doubt about that. And some of the fanatical charges that the Government has since raked up against the Cardinal arc inexcusable. As the Cardinal rightly upheld, the Church's spiritual territory is the whole world.
However, in the eyes of the Communist East, the Church is identified with the West. This is why the Vatican's feelers towards a modus vivendi have to be put out with so much caution and skill.
Besides, Poland has more reason than any other Communist country to be touchy about making concessions on her western border.
And so, whatever the rights and wrongs on the side of the regime there, it is hard to see how the Vatican efforts for peaceful co-existence will get far unless the Polish hierarchy show a better sense of timing, and a sense of where their spiritual jurisdiction begins and ends.
ARCHBISHOP BECK has shown great wisdom in agreeing to consider the proposals of the Union of Catho
lie Students for a national body to examine all aspects of education.
Many parents are beginning to question the whole philosophy of our separate school system and the value of Catholic schools, both as academic institutions and as religious educators. They wonder whether separatism is a good thing. They question whether the money could not be used in better ways. And now, they are faced with the debate on comprehensive schools.
As things stand, there is no institutional means for consulting their wishes. In the average Catholic parish, the parents are not asked for their views on siting, design. or any other aspect of education. They do not know whether the diocese will "go comprehensive" or not.
If Archbishop Beck's consideration leads to such consultation, nothing but good can come of it. After all, the whole case for Catholic schools is based on the parents' rights. Should not the Church as much as the State respect these rights?