of our non-Catholic countrymen, and adds to our temptation to feel complacent about ourselves.
Yet the number of conversions—to which may be added the number of those who return to the practice of their religion after drifting away from it — remains a very real test of the quality of our Catholicity.
God, of course, makes the converts through the grace of faith. not the Catholic people. Yet we may well feel that God will not normally withhold the grace of faith to those who have come to see, through the witness of Catholics, that the faith which they believe in and live is unique.
IT is perfectly true, as a writer points out this week on page 2, that the shortage of priests is a great obstacle both to conversions and to the prevention of drift from the practice of the faith. Yet a greater in a country like ours, set as it is in good disposition towards the Church, is surely inadequate Catholic witness to the greatness of the faith that has been freely bestowed upon us by God.
That witness cannot but be strengthened by the many contemporary means, put forward by the Popes and carried into effect by bishops all over the world, for making and keeping Catholics aware of-the need not merely to practice their faith according to the Church's cornmandments, but to be virile and exemplary Christians with strong apostolic urge and opportunity.
As we know, the great changes in approach to the liturgy, to instruction, and to the lay apostolate which have taken place in a country like France have been due to the realisation that the faith was almost dying there. Other countries, perhaps less imperilled, seeing the fruits of those new approaches, have adapted them to their needs.
Ours, on the contrary, is a quickly growing Catholic population already making very heavy demands on our clergy. Yet if, instead of thinking that all is well, we measure ourselves at the close of the Church Unity Octave by the number of the conversions and the numbers who drift away from the practice of their faith, we shall surely feel the need for fresh efforts and fresh opportunities to make our country once again Our Lady's Dowry.