By a Staff Reporter Ex-soldier students, recently demobilised from the fighting services, and undergraduates, just up from the schools, contributed to the regional congress of the Union of Catholic Students, held in London last week-end, under the chairmanship of the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster.
The smiling confidence of the Cardinal set the keynote of an invigorating gathering of Catholic youth. The speeches were practical and soundly based on a knowledge of affairs at home and abroad in the sphere of student life. They were also adventurous : the clear-cut matter-of-factness of the ex-Servicemen was balanced by the ringing idealism of the younger members. Once again one got the impression that the keenest awareness of the dangers of modern influences is to be found among young Catholics. And a stern, unillusioned determination to fight back.
" Great opportunities lie before you to-day." Be Catholic minded in your attitude to your fellow students, to those of your own nation. But let your charity extend especially in these days to those who have come from afar, to those who are seeking a haven in this country, said Cardinal Griffin in 1 is sermon at the Academic High Mass with which Sunday's proceed ngs opened.
Universities represented are in England, Scotland and Wales. They included Oxford, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Reading, Newcastle, London, Cambridge, Nottingham
and Birmingham. Each contributed in some why to the week-end's work.
Mgr. Frederick Kerr McClement, ex-Service Naval Chaplain of the Last Great War, graduate of Cambridge and Roman Universities, now chaplain to the Catholic students at London University, set out the aim of the U.C.S., and its example, at the conclusion of his speech on Sunday.
"Two thousand years ago a dozen men—they were not graduates—they were not even educated men—changed the world with the message of Christ. They were armed by God. We are more than 12, We have the same help. We are educated. We also can convert the world."
The congress opened on Saturday. The first speakers were graduates, Fr. Gordon Albion, of London and Louvain Universities, and Mr. Cohn Bro
gan, of Glasgow University. Fr. Albion spoke of " Europe—Our Heritage and Our Responsibility," and Mr. Brogan on " Europe To-day."
A University Should be Catholic THE CARDINAL In his sermon on Sunday. the Cardinal told the students that the object of all understanding was truth, and God was Truth.
" The study of literature, of science, of medicine, of econo mica, of history, should. if rightly
directed lead you to the truth.
"The danger of specialised education is that it may destroy the idea of a university education. A university should be catholic, not in that it is open to students of every class and nation, but that its outlook is universal.
ONE-TRACK MIND "There is a danger of students having a one-track mind. It is, of course, necessary in studying science, medicine. commerce or economics, to specialise. But do not allow your studies to end there. Real culture means that a man or woman is competent to weigh and judge the many affairs of human life. To be able, for instance, to say whether proposed legislation is in accordance with human nature or opposed to it. To be able to say whether a system of philosophy is based upon the stature of man and his rights as an individual, or whether it will destroy his freedom and individuality. To be able to say whether a practice is against the law of God or in conformity with it.
"This attitude of mind is most essential in the study of history or economics, where bias, religious or political, may play a conspicuous part.
" One can see how a false philosophy can destroy a nation. I need only mention Marxism, which lays false eniphasis on the material side of Man's nature to the neglect of his spiritual faculties. The result is that man becomes a mere rug in the machinery. or a pawn in a political game. ft there were time 1 should like to see every student at a university taking a course of Christian philosophy."
Attack the Carpet-Baggers
" Launch the strongest attack on carpet-bagging M.P. s who see everything in Yugoslavia as rosy as the Red Dawn, who slander the Polish insurgents. If half-a-dozen
of these men lost their seats at the next election the effect would be very salutary at home and abroad."
After a characteristically outspoken and well-informed survey of conditions in the key-countries of Europe to-day. Mr. Brogan ooncluded with these words.
He emphasised the great value of protests, such as the one just launched in this country against the unjust trial and sentence on Mgr. Stepinac. Such protests brought courage, and the knowledge that they were not forgotten, to the people under the tyranny of the Kremlin. The extent of their effect might he gauged by the fury they aroused in Moscow and among its hirelings all over the world.
WEAKNESS OF SOVIET Mr. Mogan reminded his audience of the gross weaknesses of the Soviet at present. Where it could link up with nationalism—as in Yugoslavia—it prospered. In France and Italy. where is clashed with nationalism, it was repeatedly performing acrobatics.
" Mr. Bevin and Mr. Attlee." he said. " have a right to demand the strongest Catholic support at present."
At home and abroad. he continued, the key to the future control of Government lies with the trade unions. This emerged clearly in France. Communists must be dislodged from their control of working class industrial organisations. Catholics must play their part here by making the voice of Christian Europe heard where it had been silent during days of crisis.
(Other speeches are reported on page 5)