SIR,—The discussion on the sale of Catholic Truth Society pamphlets is part ot a larger discussion, fitfully carried on, about the circulation of Catholic literature generally.
Practical proposals emerge from time to time but too little is done to collate and apply them. To be successfel they involve collaboration with all 'booksellers and newsagents whose shops are near churches, the provision of Something better than a " silent salesman " inside the church porch (the C.T.S. box in my own parish church has been empty for the best part of a year), constant watchfulness in public tibial ies and some guarantee that books stocked by the libraries will be borrowed.
In this connection it would be a good thing if the C.T.S. would extend very greatly its practice of binding together pamphlets on particular subjects with a view to library circulation.
But no scheme will bear fruit until some shock is administered to the C.T.S. itself to make (it hunt for the right authors and encourage them to give of their best. I have been associated with Catholic journalism for more than twenty years. I have had considerable experience as an editor and a great deal of distinctly promising work by Catholic writers, beginning their careers, has passed through my hands. Yet not once has the C.T.S. asked to be put in touch with these writers or given the slightest indication that it cares whether its contributors live in frugal comfort or in dire poverty. I will guarantee to find plenty of effective writing from sources untapped by the C.T.S., given a corresponding guarantee that the authors will receive a small royalty or reasonable fee. And if the C.T.S. cannot afford to pay there is something radically wrong with its organisation.
Since my name is known to you. Sir, I am willing to endure a false charge of cowardice by signing myself CATHOLIC JOURNALIST.
A C.T.S. War-work
SHI,—" A Lonely R.A.F. Corporal " asks what the C.T.S. is doing to spread Catholic literature among H.M. Forces. Over two years ago the C.T.S. of Scotland instituted a " Monthly Catholic Packet for II.M. Forces." At the start it consisted merely of C.T.S. pamphlets and leaflets. But the boys began writing letters of thanks, with questions and difficulties. Since then a letter written by a priest accompanies the Packet each month, in which these questions are answered; practical help and advice given and a most charming intimacy established between the boys and the anonymous " Sacerdos."
That God's blessing rests upon this work is shown by the results. Men have written to say that " Sacerdos " has brought them back to the practice of their faith; others make the pamphlets and the " Sacerdos " Letter a fruitful apostolate by passing them round the Catholics in their unit; while one good man states that fifty non-Catholic shipmates welcome the chance to read them.
A Packet for Girls in H.M. Forces and absent on war work was started in January, with its own " Sacerdos " Letter dealing with the problems which beset our Catholic girls in these circumstances. It also has " caught on."
This apostolic work of charity is self-supporting, and therefore requires nothing but zeal and a little effort to extend it throughout H.M. Forces, to the immense gain of all concerned. The cost of the Packet is 8d. per month per recipient. All that is needed is someone in each parish (or Sodality) to be authorised by the parish priest to list the names and addresses of men and women on service and to collect the eightpences each month from parishioners, socialists, or relatives of the intended recipients. The list and money are then remitted to C.T.S. Depot, 9, Randolph Place, Edinburgh, or C.T.S. Depot, 18, Renfrew Street, Glasgow, and the Packets are despatched direct by the Depot staffs to the recipients. Relatives and friends can have the Packet sent to an individual soldier, etc., by sending in his name and address with two shillings to cover three monthly issues.
Information will be furnished gladly to any organisation desirous of starting a similar work elsewhere. Or they are very welcome to participate in our Scottish scheme.
C.T.S., EDINBURGH. 9, Randolph Piece, Edinburgh, 3,