Pope's Views interpreted
Sm,—I think that Quibbler " must admit that, in the Holy Father's mind, technical " Catholic Action " is meant to be organised.
It is, first, insisted that Catholic Action is not the same as Catholic Activity, nor even as " united " Catholic Activities. This is made clearer by the distinction drawn between groups forming part of Catholic Action properly so-called, and those which are " auxiliary " to it. Thus not even the S.V.P., as things arc, is considered to belong to Catholic Action as such. Suppose its conferences were in close contact with the C.S.G. study-clubs (as, indeed, I wish they always were), there would be more " united effort," as " Quibbler " puts it; but, even so, 1 doubt if this would fall within the framework of Catholic Action as the Pope undoubtedly conceives of it.
He envisages a very rigid " organisation' —parochial, diocesan, and national: in none of these sections are priests to be officials, save as " assistants."
This is not, I think, to the English taste, nor, if I may so put it, to the taste of many ecclesiastics. An American ecclesi astic said to me that, when the Holy Father is dead, " Catholic Action " will no more be mentioned. I have even heard the Holy Father recklessly accused of, precisely, Hitlerism, or anyway of religious Fascism.
He certainly admits that Catholic Action is a flexible affair: thus the constitutions of French, Italian, and Polish Catholic Action, which, I have read, differ a good deal among themselves. But, I think, he has said that the nearer Catholic Action, in its organisation, approximates to what he wanted to have in Italy, the better he is pleased.
I will frankly acknowledge that, while translating Mgr. Civardi's (altogether authoritative) book, I kept asking myself if the " individualist " Catholic, in Ireland, England, or the States, would relish or put up with so much " organisation." But I could not deny that the " organisation " was meant to be there.
No one can prophesy the future: but what is beyond question essential in the Pope's desire is, that the laity should not feel itself merely " under " the clergy, but an active participator in the entire apostolic work of the Church, and as having a Christianising vocation. even though not the priestly vocation in its narrower sense.
C. C. MARTINDALE,
P.S.—May I thank Miss Alice Curtayne for her plucky article? Only today have I received a request for a " set " of my books ... If one sent (out of weakness one usually does) all that bazaars, convents, pious libraries, foreign missions (always to be helped when possible: they stand alone) asked for (and several times a month does someone ask . . .) there would be no royalties left at all, and indeed a man would be not a little poorer for having been such a fool as to write a book.