Several resounding notes were struck upon the anvil at this year's annual meeting of the Catholic Truth Society, a crowded assembly at which the Arch bishop of Westminster presided. Mgr. Hinsley had with him three other members of the Hierarchy : the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, the Bishop of Menevia, and the society's chairman, the Bishop of Lamus.
Mgr. Grath introduced, by request, a special subject, of importance and deep interest, upon which he is particularly well qualified to speak—the position, prospects and needs of the Catholic Church in Wales—Welsh Wales, not "English Wales," as his lordship put it, meaning those parts of the Principality where the Welsh language is closely bound up with the national life.
The history of the language is the history of Wales. Deprived of their heritage of faith, the people have preserved with devotion their native tongue. It is all they have left.
These were two of the many striking thoughts brought out by the bishop in the course of his speech, an address into which there was introduced from time to time, a touch of the language itself; for as most of us know, Mgr. McGrath has the additional asset, in his pastorate, of being a Welsh-speaking as well as a Welsh-ruling prelate.
A Glance at the Map
In the first part of his survey, Mgr. McGrath showed how the faith has been established, and consolidated, in the diocese of Menevia in a chain of outposts along the coast. Immigration from England and from Ireland, supplemented by a small proportion of native Catholics, has put churches and priests into the principal coast towns from Burry Port in the south right round to Rhyl and the Flintshire seaboard. But in great inland areas, where an overwhelming proportion of the people spoke and thought in Welsh, the Church's message had still to penetrate, and it could only do so successfully through the medium of the native tongue.
To Welshmen the language meant so much that one of them had declared that when he prayed in English, "the prayer did not seem to be the same to him"!
Welsh-speaking priests, the Bishop of Menevia declared, were wanted; and his lordship showed that in opportunity and spiritual hope the field is white for the harvest. In his modesty he did nct add that he himself has set on foot, at Aberystwyth, a training-centre towards supplying the need.
Literature in Welsh
Mgr. McGrath appealed to the Catholic Truth Society to help Wales, by providing booklets in Welsh. Literature was needed, he emphasised, for the children as well as for adult readers: too little had been done to provide suitable readingmatter for the juveniles.
On behalf of the society, the Bishop of Lamus, who spoke towards the close of the meeting, declared that C.T.S. wished to help Wales, and C.T.S. would help Wales; but it could do only as much as its subscribers would enable it to do—
A Call for Catechists
The C.T.S. meeting was an occasion also for Mgr. Hinsley to make an announcement following the Low Week meeting of the hierarchy. The bishops, he said, desired that throughout the country there should be closer co-operation with the work of the Catholic Evidence Guild.
There was need for catechists. He appealed to all to help. In particular he asked the Orders—especially the order of St. Dominic and the order of St. Francis—and organisations , such as the Ransomers, to roll back the threatening storm of infidelity in the land.