By ANDREW BOYLE "Our visit from start to finish has proved the tremendous importance of personal contact and the free exchange of ideas between British and German Catholics. We sincerely hope that this is only a beginning."
Such was the summing up of seven Catholic professors and lecturers from the West German Universities of Bonn, Mainz and Brunswick, on a three-week stay in this country, which ended on Wednesday.
Their judgment is a wellearned pat-on-the-back for the enterprising Newman Association organisers who made the visit possible.
A problem which seemed to weigh more heavily than most on the minds of these German teachers was the " bitter and almost nihilistic outlook " of great sections of German youth. Said Dr. Eugen Ewig. who is fairly closely linked with the Catholic effort in the West to cope with
this dominant difficulty: " The breakdown of Nazism has left a hideous moral vacuum into which millions of our young people have been sucked.
" It is true that the Socialists, and the Protestants as well as the Catholics are battling to reorganise; but with the economic level of life as desperately low as it is for many, progress is dishearteningly slow.
PRAISE FOR Y.C.W.
" In my view, the methods adopted by the Young Christian Workers in great industrial keypoints like Essen, Dusseldorf and Cologne are admirable. if the number of active leaders and workers is small, their effect so tar has been remarkable.
" The fervour of these young missionaries is astounding. I believe that they may prove one of the big factors in bringing back hope and meaning into the halfexistence of their fellow-workers." Dr. Ewig reinforced his state
merit with the view that in the days of the Weimar Republic there were too many separate Catholic organisations.
" What we needed then, and what we need to-day, is greater unity as well as a deeper religious life. I think the Y.C.W. method will help since it substitutes personal contact and example for impersonal propaganda and preaching " There is too much of the latter still in Germany. We seem to be a land flooded with paper forms— and paper words do not correspond with harsh realities."