Page 8, 9th September 1949

9th September 1949
Page 8

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From C. E. ROBIN


Under the motto "Peace is the fruit of Justice," 1,000 people gathered here have been devoting themselves to the serious study of Germany's post-war social problems, as part of the 73rd Annual Rally of German Catholics.

Bochum, in the Ruhr area, is one of Oar many's most seriously-bombed towns.

The Katholikentag opened on August 31, and the public sessions began on September 1.

It falls into two parts. There are the monster public meetings and demonstrations for 40,000 or more persons, and for Sunday's festivities, as many as 300,000.

And there are the study sections, eleven in all, at which 1,000 people are devoting themselves to serious study of some of the pressing problems of the Church in Germany.

A well documented lecture on the economic position of the worker was closed with a warning that the demolition of " war factories" and the unemployment it caused, was one of the disturbing elements, not only in German, but in European social life to-day.

I attended e section eagerly debuting human rights. and how they could be safeguarded in our constitutions.

The Bavarian delegates pointed with pride to their own arrangements: their constitution was the model which the others in other parts of Germany should follow.

The Berlin delegates were seeking for an answer to their own quite different problems, and were trying to find a formula which would rally the Christian forces in Germany's Eastern Zone.


Another section discussed housing, or how the German worker could be given a real interest in the undertaking in which he was employed; another dealt with the place of women in a country where owing to the war so many are compelled to remain unmarried: yet another echea cation of children in broken homes.

All are conducted with the traditional German thoroughness and seriousness, and at considerable length.

Yet there is a consciousness, driven home by every public speaker from the Archbishop of Paderborn downwards. that it is action that is required. The immediate action is a call to every person coming to the Conference to sacrifice one hour's pay: this will achieve something for the housing problem by providing at least one model village where men will not only live, but also earn, as so many cannot earn today in Germany's ravaged cities. The usual contingent of foreign visitors was present, mainly from France and Belgium, but England was represented too.

There was Michael Fogarty from Oxford who gave a talk on Catholic social activities in England. And two representatives of the Young Christian Workers from Birmingham and Newcastle religiously attended meetings in spite of their absence of knowledge of German, and yet found some way of communication with their Y.C.W. colleagues here in Boc h urn There must have been fifty thousand people in the huge factory building facing the temporary altar draped in yellow and white before which the ceremony took place, and they remained standing without a murmur for the two and a half home of the proceedings. The Prime Minister of the NorthRhine-Westphalia province referred tot he result of the recent elections on August 14. They were, he said, a basis on which Germany could go forward to build up a new community on a sounder foundation than had been possible in past years.

EXCESSES The election campaign had been carried on perhaps with some excesses, but he was sure that these would be corrected. and fundamentally German nationalism was sound and would avoid the exaggerations of the past.

The applause did much to answer those who see an immediate danger of a revival of German military ambitions; and this impression was deepened with the reception given to General Bishop, Civil Governor of North-Rhine-Westphalia, who expressed his desire to work with and for the people of Germany on the basis of the common faith in Christ which they and he and the people of England professed.

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