"We must move with the times"
From Our Own Correspondent
Youth Organisation, a matter shortly to be debated in Parliament, is already being tackled by Catholic authorities in the Hexham and Newcastle Diocese, where first moves have been made towards meeting Government requirements.
The Bishop, Mgr. J. McCormack, who fully approves of the principles of the Service of Youth, has had conversations with officials of the Association of Boys' Clubs.
"To preserve our Catholic youth we must move with the times," he said. "and provide suitable buildings and equipment to keep in line with the national movement."
C. F. O'Brien Donaghy, Secretary of the Durham County Askociation of Boys' Clubs, named the S.V.P. as the
body most nearly in touch with the youth of a parish, and expressed his belief that certain Catholic clubs already in existence in the North meet the requirements of the Service of Youth, in that they cater for the moral, physical and mental development of their boys, three requisite principles of the Service.
The provision of indoor games and amusements, with perhaps a football team, is not sufficient to keep in step with youth organisation in the present forward move, is the opinion of Mr. Donaghy. There are many parishes without clubs or possessing only small and ill-equipped premises, and in this connection it is interesting to note how Mgr. McCormack faces the problem of the provision of suitable clubs where none exist, a matter to which he attaches great importance.
DRAW UPON PARISH FUNDS
He has said: " I put it forward as sound Catholic policy that the parish funds be drawn upon for the provision of suitable buildings and equipment to enable us to continue our apostolic work for our boys and girls when their schooldays are over."
Fr. H. Bowler, O.S.B., of St. Wilfrid's, Blyth, who has given much time and thought to the junior section of the C.Y.M.S., and is a representative on the Northumberland county youth organisations, foresees the reorganisation of the C.Y.M.S. club policy.
Apropos of this, it is Mr. Donaghy who said recently : The C.Y.M.S. has, of course, a big following but in most cases it does not cater in a proper way for the younger members. Junior members are allowed to ' muck in and take their chance, but that is not enough, In the new scheme of things the country hopes to see youth placed ahead."
GOVERNMENT MAY IMPOSE
" It is felt here that unless the youth movement in its present voluntary form succeeds, a move might be made by the GOITPIllnelli to impose compulsory training of youth. especially, in physical and social subjects. Where Catholic youth is not organised it is feared that it might be attracted, or drafted, into sections over which the moral influence of the Church cannot he exercised.
"I append a few remarks on the three principles underlying the Service ,of Youth Movement. These are: Moral, physical and mental training for boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 18.
" Moral training : this includes civil defence work, youth being taught first-aid, observation, salvage and kindred subjects, and also to act as messengers.
" Physical training: the physical training standard will be of a pre-military service type, and will be carried out by recognised instructors.
" Mental training: this will compare with the usual evening class system, and will comprise debating societies and the pursuit of educational interests."
ORGANIC NOT ORGANISING As the Service of Youth is organic, not organising, it is left to the clubs and institutes to reach the required standards in their own individual ways. The scope of organisations is not limited to the ideals of the Service of Youth, but in order to be in step with the national movement, and to rank for Government grants, the Service ideals must be incorporated in the scheme of each club or institute.
Meanwhile the prompt reaction to the rallying call of the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle to organise our Catholic youth in face of the threat of Government interference is becoming more marked in the North, and as a preliminary step many parishes have called mass meetings of the younger men, whether they arc attached to a Catholic organisation or not, in order to take stock of the youth of the parish.