HOLIDAYS ABROAD Range Isle
Catholics together on their holidays in a friendly Catholic atmosphere)
By HENRI ROLLET
Catholic Herald Paris Correspondent
RECENT events have brought distinct if cautious relief to the Catholics of France. The pre-election determination of the Socialists and Radicals to seek withdrawal of all State aid from Catholic schools and to intensify national secularism presaged bitter anti-religious campaigns which have at any rate been sharply arrested.
It is true that current rumours of a Concordat with the Vatican touched off by the recent visit to Paris of Cardinal Tisserant, Dean of the Sacred College have been discounted.
The visit was not motivated by the question seolaire, though it may well have heen discussed when the Cardinal met M. Mendes-France, and such negotiatians would not come within His Eminence's specialisation which is primarily concerned with the Eastern Church.
On the other hand, however, the Socialists and Radicals have dropped their demands for repeal of State aid for the Church's secondary schools and are now confining themselves to working for repeal of the Lai Barange which covers the primary schools only.
And even in this connection events have taken a consoling turn. Three times the matter has come up for discussion in the Lower House and three times it has been decided, with increasing majorities, to postpone the vote in favour of more urgent affairs.
Not all of those who voted for postponement would necessarily vote in favour of Catholic schools in the ultimate issue. But it seems likely now that the final vote could go in favour of the Church by a small majority.
This prospect owes much to the intensive campaigning of the members of Catholic Action who, up and down the country, have been interviewing their parliamentary representatives and im pressing on them the dismay felt by Catholics at the Left-Wing proposals and the depth of the result from their implementation. widespread resentment that would
Even M. Mauriac, who startled the Catholic world with his argument that Catholics should not refuse to vote for the country's one strong man, M. MendesFrance, solely on the Schools issue has now begun to show noticeable anxiety at the prospect of State aid being withdrawn.
Then there was the Bill to insist on rigid interpretation of the constitutional Church-State separation. This would have affected the status of chaplains in the armed forces, removed all religious associations and ecclesiastical participation from public and national events, and brought about a serious deterioration In the relations between Government and Bishops.
But this proposal, too, has been dropped.
Now the Socialist Government has sent a delegation to Rome for the Holy Father's birthday, led by that great Catholic. M. Robert Schuman — a delegation which has delighted French Catholics by presenting His Holiness, on behalf of the French Government, with a very beautiful medal,
The Socialist Government, by the way, has expressed itself, as a Government, to be neutral in the schools question.
In the present climate some arrangement between the French Government and the Vatican to settle the education question may well be in many parliamentary minds, but it is unlikely that any terms would be considered in Rome unless they had been
approved by the French Bishops.
It does not appear that the French Government has any clear project in mind at the moment. But the Bishops would not approve of some of the suggestions recently bruited abroad.
For instance, it has been said that the Socialists would want to repeal the Loi Baran& first and negotiate afterwards. That would be quite unacceptable.
Or again, that the French Government would want to have control of Catholic schools built by Catholic funds, whilst, however, paying the salaries of the Catholic teachers.
A good deal would depend on what is meant by control and whether it means more than supervision of educational efficiency in purely secular subject,. But. the idea of a generalised State control of Catholic education could not commend itself to good Catholics.
However, the Socialists and Radicals do seem to be more aware of the strength of Catholic feeling in the country, and their Parliamentary language and demands have been very considerably tempered.
It is thought that the two parties may be in mutual competition to start negotiations in Rome hence, perhaps, M. MendesFrance's representations to Cardinal Tisserant, if any.
This is all at any rate a long way from the bitter determination to cut off all aid to Catholic education which was one of the keynotes of the pre-election campaigns.
Canon Isaac Cowd, of the Plymouth Chapter, has resigned owing to ill-health and his place has been taken by Canon John O'Malley, who is already an honorary Canon.
The Rev. Dr William Denning, parish priest of Purley, Surrey, has been appointed a Canon of the Southwark Chapter.
A block of Crectown granite ^ weighing '70 tons will he chipped down to 60 tons, made up of 70 separate sections, to form the 25ft high Madonna and Child statue to be erected on the rocket range island of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides.
Scotland's leading sculptor, Mr. Hew Loritner, has almost completed the one-third scale model which stands in a lattice work of tubular scaffolding in the former coachhoupie of hie country home at Nellie Castle, Pittenweem, Fife.
The model will be taken to a monumental sculptor's yard in Edinburgh, probably next month, where Mr. Lorimer tvill start work on the finished statue, which will be biggest public Catholic statue in Scotland.
Mr. Lorimer hopes to have it finished by the Spring of 1957.