— Douglas Woodruff MGR. AMIGO AT G.S.B. Annual Reception
By a C.H. Reporter
The Archbishop-Bishop of Southwark was cheered mightily at the annual Social Reunion of the Guild of the Blessed Sacrament at Lambeth Baths on Monday night.
The bleakly hygienic tiled walls of the Bath Hall became less formidable in the mist of cigarette smoke. For the first half hour of the meeting there was the hazy sound of cheerful talk and an orchestra playing musical comedy selections. The Archbishop walked among the men, many of whom had come from far parishes in Southwark, greeting them, chatting with them.
Mr. Douglas Woodruff, editor of The Tablet, was the principal speaker.
Mickey Mouse Banned He apologised for having stopped the performance of an excellent orchestra, and confessed his shame that although born and bred in the Southwark Diocese it was his first visit to Lambeth Baths.
Points from his speech were: " We live in a grave and troubled world. Only yesterday we learned that Mickey Mouse has been banned forever from the hospitable shores of Italy.
"The Universal Church finds itself faced in Europe today with new difficulties and tasks. It is aggrieved at the spectacle of human sin and folly, but by this time it is not surprised.
"Twenty-five years ago the Church was more markedly in friction with the civil power in France than in any other country in Europe. Today there is a happy tolerance in France that contrasts with the present upheavals in Germany and Spain. Within ten generations, the Church in England has changed from an actively persecuted small minority to a fully tolerated, influential body. We are still a minority but everyone is in personal contact with our ideas. There is not a Protestant in the country who has not a Catholic relation or friend.
Convinced of Original Sin by Marshal Goering
" We should never despair nor relax vigilance, for the sufferings of Austrians, Germans, Spaniards in these years is linked up with the slackness of the comfortable generations of Catholics before them. There is always in countries where the Church is the State religion, the danger of Catholicism atrophying through lack of opposition.
" In England the ' progressives ' of this generation find it more and more difficult to deny the doctrine of original sin. An intelligent young man said to me recently : '1 never thought I should believe in original sin but Marshal Goering has convinced me of it.'
" If men do not worship God they will worship idols, and the chief idol of all time has been the State.
" Catholics do not ignore the need of improving this world when they talk of the supremacy of the soul. Only with the belief of this supremacy is it natural for Society to be made tolerable and good. " We are a small leaven but the most effective defenders of the rights of man." Mr. Woodruff finished by saying that Catholic influence can be spread by personal contact. He did not think, for example, that we could do much save aggravate the position of Catholics by protesting to heads of foreign states against persecution in those states.
" I Want Your Help "
The Archbishop thanked Douglas Woodruff, and told how grateful for the enthusiasm of members of the Guild of the Blessed Sacrament, how proud he had been when he saw them in the great silent march of September.
" All men of the diocese should belong to the Guild . . ."
Later he outlined a plan for changing the Southwark Record.
"I want your help. I want to change the Record. There will be a new editor in the New Year, and I want all you men to send him news from your parishes. I want you also, and your priests, to take the biggest interest in the circulation of the paper and help to make it something living."
Canon William Thompson, of Balham, proposed a vote of thanks to the Archbishop and paid tribute to his energy and leadership.
The Credo was sung at the end by all the men. Then the Archbishop gave his blessing.