THE South African Government would seem to have launched a frontal attack on the Church's non-racial attitude as exemplified in the workings of the Hierarchy.
On Tuesday, Mr. Douglas Smith, an opposition M.P., read a letter in Parliament at Cape Town which, he said, was sent on March 3 by the Department of Bantu (African) Administration to the South African Churches and which said: "It is conceivable and, in fact, appears almost inevitable that, unless certain precautionary measures are atken, Bantu bishops, or even Bantu ministers, will be placed in a position of authority twer European ministers, missionaries. or employees of the Church."
Professing Christians, said Mr. Smith, would regard the implications of the letter as "another unGodly interference by the Government in matters of religion."
Certainly the Catholic Church in South Africa would seem to incur the Government's disapproval on this point.
There is one African bishop actually in the Union of South Africa. (The Union Hierarchy also covers the British Protectorates, where there is another: Bishop 'Maba.thoana, 0.M.1.. of Leribe, Basutoland.) He is 52-year-old Bishop Dlamini of Umzimkulu, Natal.
Although the South African Catholic Directory is drawn up on a non-racial basis, it would seem from the 1960 edition that Bishop Dlamini has European priests working under him. Of his II priests, six have European-sounding names: four are Mariannhill Missionaries with Germanic surnames and two are Redemptorists with Irish-sounding surnames. (None of the priests with Africansounding surnames belong to either of these two C on grega tions.) As there are as yet no African bishops in the Anglican Church in South Africa, it seems clear that the Government's warning is addressed to the Catholic Church and is an attempt to persuade the Church to import the principle of haasskap (White supremacy) into its Hierarchy.
One possibility, however, which has been pointed out by the wellknown Anglican missionary Fr. Trevor Huddlestion, C.R., is that an Anglican bishop is thinking of appointing an African to work as his assistant bishop.