The most practical answer to the discussion on "Morals without Religion" has been corning and still is coming into the new offices of the Catholic Enquiry Centre in hundreds of letters, from non-Catholics mostly men, asking for a course of instruction in the faith. They are all urgently seeking Religion as the basis of Morals.
Twelve days ago—while Mrs. Margaret Knight's B.B.C. broadcasts were still being given—Catholic Enquiry Centre advertisements offering the course appeared for the first time in some national Sunday newspapers. They had previously appeared only in provincial papers.
Up to last Wednesday morning 2,000 letters had been delivered at the headquarters of the Catholic Missionary Society.
This flood has swept up behind the steady stream which in under II months had brought the Centre 11.000 enquiries.
Before the national" campaign began more than 6.000 had enrolled for the course of instruction. About 3,000 arc approaching the end of their instruction, and more than 400 of these, said Cardinal Griffin on Saturday, have asked to be put into touch with a priest with a view to eventual reception into the Church.
In fact, already about 100 have now been received into the Church —"a perfectly magnificent achievement," said His Eminence.
The Cardinal blessed the Centre's new building—offices and rooms for the priests of the Catholic Missionary Society engaged in the work, their regular staff and the part-time volunteers. It is an extension costing about £7,000—to the Mission House.
Mounti▪ ng campai▪ gn His Eminence not only brought his renewed approval and blessing to the Catholic Enquiry Centre: he declared that its work " is an essential part of the teaching mission of the Church at the present time?'
Its mounting campaign especially now it has entered the field of national advertising—is likely to cost " anything up to £40,000 a year."
It costs roughly 10s. to make the instruction course available to each enqui rel.
The advertising campaign, the Cardinal made clear. is necessary as the only means of reaching many people—
People beyond the reach of any pulpit:
Non-Catholic ministers who would " withdraw to their fastnesses at the first approach of a priest:"
" People who do not normally go near a church, who would be most hesitant at initial discussions about the Faith and who certainly would think more than twice Wow setting foot in a presbytery."
But a newspaper--with it advertisements—will always find its way into a home. " and 1' •relore it is common sense that ..is medium should be used to bring the Word of God to those who. though they do not know Him. yet in their confusion are seeking after Truth."
About 75 per cent. of those who have made enquiries are men.
Fr. George Dwyer admitted that the progress has been astonishing and that the new building was not a dream come true--because it had not been dreamt of.
Fr. Michael O'Connor who directs the Centre. said that twelve months ago they were tieing told that a work like this would bring a new persecution; that the newspapers would never accept the advertisements: that very few nonCatholics would be interested in its offer.
Then he set out to offer his thanks to the journalists Guild of St. Francis of Sales; to the Catholic Press and individual Catholic journalists: to his expert advertising advisers; to the "army of unknown people who have been praying and helping us with their donations."
He mentioned too the large number of converts who have been helping in gratitude for the gift of Faith; Fr. Bernard Basset and the Cell Movement; his own "miracle staff" and "those galley slaves the part-time voluntary workers"-with apologies to those wives who so often have had to stay alone at home while their husbands were working at the Centre.
He thanked also his priest-colleagues of the Catholic Missionary Society, whose "rest house" has been turned into a hive.
All the while Fr. O'Connor had his eye—and he said so—on the great number of Catholics in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland who could join the others in helping the Centre to do a great spiritual work, breaking down prejudice against the Church and bringing the Faith back to England.