THE MISSION YEAR 1956-7 SURVEY
THIS year the most serious obstacles encountered in the missionary apostolate have been the anti-Christian race policy in South Africa, the seizure of Catholic schools by the Government of Sudan, the Communist victory in the south of India and the Patriotic Association through which an effort is being made to separate the Catholics of China from Rome.
UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA
THE position of the Church in South Africa on racial segregation can be reduced to a few points: Men Of all races are equal before God; churches are for all Catholics regardless of the colour of their skin; to exclude Africans would be to deny the fundamental doctrine of the unity of the Church; the new legislation is an unjustified interference on the part of civil authority in matters of religion; only the hierarchy is competent to decide who shall have access to places of worship.
The Bishops have informed their clergy and people that the churches would remain open to all and that they accept full responsibility. The various Protestant denominations have more or less adopted the same attitude as Catholics.
THE Khartoum Government declares that only the State has the right to educate the youth of the Sudan; education is a matter of internal policy in which no external interference can be allowed; if missionaries pretend to work for the good of the community they should obey the laws of the nation and they need not consult the Holy See.
The precise aim of the Government is to introduce a single system of education which will make the children of the Sudan useful and loyal citizens of their new fatherland. As regards finances, those schools that were built entirely or in part with public funds can be nationalized; others that were built with funds that were collected without authorization also belong to the State; if a school was built with funds that were collected legitimately it will also pass over to the State but the Government will grant compensation to an amount fixed entirely by itself.
Catholic schools have been nationalized by the Government of Khartoum. From April 1 to May 15, 200 village schools. 40 elementary schools and three normal schools were taken over. Catholic scholastic establishments in Southern Sudan are evaluated at about $3,000,000.
In all probability. these measures have been taken by the Government of Khartoum in order to
hasten the Islamization of 3,000,000 Africans.
DURING this Year 1957, Communism has gained a bridgehead in India and it will not be dislodged easily.
The smallest of the Indian States is Kerala which is also the most Christian State of the union. In its population of 13,500,000 there are, in round numbers, 8,000,000 Hindus, 2,000,000 Mussulmans and 3,500,000 Christians of whom 2,000,000 are Catholics. Kerala is the region of India where Christian education is most developed. • In the last election, thanks to a rather imperfect electoral law, the Communists who obtained 35 percent of the vote won 65 seats in the Kerala Parliament against 63 of all the other Parties combined and with an absolute majority of
two votes they were able to form an exclusively Communist Government.
Their first concern was to declare war on Catholic schools. The legislation that they elaborated authorized the Communist Government to confiscate private establishments and to make them State schools, and that, without compensation.
The law was passed early in September and it will go into effect if the President of the Union of India gives his approval. In that case Catholic schools will dis appear and our buildings will he used for the purpose of educatine youth according to the dogmas of atheistic materialism.
IN China the Communist regime wishes to establish a schismatic church. For the past eight years it has been particularly bitter against the Catholic Church.
A Patriotic Association of Chinese Catholics" has been formed.
While proclaiming its fidelity to Catholic dogma and moral teaching the association condemns the Pope as an imperialist, a colonialist and an adversary of Communism. The Association breaks all " political " relations with the Vatican and proclaims itself a purely political organisation " in which the Vatican has no right to
intervene." There is no Catholic who does not know that there is a kind of politics with which he cannot in anyway associate himself.
IN Africa, there are still 85,000,000 pagans to be saved. The great progress that has been made during the last half century justifies the fondest hopes for the fut ore.
It is true that Black Africa is being overrun at once by atheistic materialism and Islam, by purely material and technical civilisation and by Protestant denominations that are the first to regret the divisions that they occasion. It is also true that there has been spectacular Catholic progress.
In the 210 ecclesiastical territories that are under the jurisdiction of the Sacred Congregation
" de Propaganda Fide " Catholics now number 16,500,000 whereas they were scarcely more than a half million at the beginning of the century. This year the number of African priests is 1,688 and there are 1,425 students preparing for the priesthood in 33 Major Seminaries.
There are today 20 African Bishops while in 1900 the formation of a native clergy was little more than a dream. The 10,812 priests in the African missions of Propaganda come from 30 different nations and excepting the secular priests, from 66 religious congregations, France. Belgium, Ireland and Holland each supply more than 1,000 priests to Africa.
The growth of the Church in some sections is so fast that priests are not equal to the task: in some missions every priest has 2,000 and even 3,000 Catholics under his care. It is understandable why the Holy Father makes such an urgent appeal for many more priests. for more vocations and a very pressing appeal for Lay Apostles.