Birmingham will consecrate its Youth Movement to God at a Pontifical High Mass, to be sung by Bishop Griffin in St. Chad's Cathedral next Sunday, the day after the feast of St. John Bosco.
It is under the protection of the Saint that the newly-formed Catholic Youth Council of Birmingham has been placed.
Birmingham's Youth Council will link up various local Catholic young people's clubs, now springing ur everywhere with the promise of Government assistance and encouragement.
Similar district associations exist in Liverpool, where a Youth Secretariat attached to the Board of Catholic Action assists club organisers, Southwark which has a Diocesan Youth Confederation, and the Hounslow area of London which has an association for the parishes of the neighbourhood.
These developments give some hope that the Catholic Youth problem may yet be tackled nationally -with a single plan worked out on a federal basis.
Such a national movement would give the Church equal status with other great national organisations, such as the Boys' Brigade, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, etc., and entitle it to share with these the six national representative seats out of the 20 in Borough Youth Committees.
If such a national organisation, linking all Catholic Youth Movements, were to spring from real Catholic Action in the parishes and work behind a vital spearhead movement like the Y.C.W„ the whole story of Catholic Youth
could be changed, making it "Catholic-proud and no longer " Catholicashamed."
A leading article by the Editor on " Our Youth " appear, no page 4, IN well as an article by Stanley B. James on the " Children of the Miracle."
The problem of the Catholic 'teens, first known as the Leakage Problem, has given anxiety to our own leaders for many years, and it is now admitted that neithei the voluntary club system, nor the C.Y.M.S., nor the Junior and Squires' sections of the S.V.P. and the K.S.C., nor the schools themselves, nor all the parochial social attractions organised by the clergy, have succeeded in solving it.
On the one side the radical training in home' and parish which roiltd make—th'e young Catholic "Catholic-proud " instead of '' Catholic-ashamed ' is missing. On the other side there has been no suffictent development ol real Catholic Action for the younger generation of workers along the lines of the Theist or Young Christian Workers.' Movement, which is something positive, something active, that gives youth a job of work to do in the interests of other youth, that sends hint oui to do it, into streets. factories, shops and offices; and is not Mst another idea for keeping youth indoors in a well-behaved Catholic company.
Numerous blessings have been poured on this new Youth Movement, founded by the Belgian Canon Cordijn, by leaders of the Church, Pius XI praised it in March, 1925. and our own Hierarchy have officially recognised it as the work for youth par excellence. Its development is being inevitably interrupted through the war both on the Continent and here, though interestingly enough its spirit persists even when members join the Forces, who apply its principles with happy results in the apostolate they undertake in their immediate environment.
The problem facing us to-day is whether intense home and parish training first, and then the Jocist principles, which have admittedly proved successful, can be incorporated in the Catholic contribution which must now be made to the Government Youth Movement.
" CONTACT" When the time comes for Catholics to don uniform, we find that their Y.C.W. comrades still in Civvy Street, as well as zealous chaplaths, arc among the most assiduous in retaining contact with them by means of news bulletins.
Two chaplains both contact with them through Contact, a modest type-written monthly with a circulation of 200—full of spirit, commonsense, soldiers slang, bright ideas for a " see-judge-act " apostoiate in one's unit, and definitely not " pi." it could appeal to thousands, had thousands been trained to expect, appreciate and use it.
One can learn much from one's opponents. Let us see why they succeed. The Young Communist League, to recruit young people into its ranks. is co-ordinated, efficient, bold, and well planned.
Mick Bennett, the League National Secretary, has ably seized the present transcendental moment in the history of youth in this country to issue a pamphlet called Youth for Victory in support of the Government's proposals to register youth, adding " let the youth movement in every town and borough organise special activity : .t1 studies, making Anglo-Soviet youth friendship an essential pail of all their work." A strong Young Communist League, he adds, is " the indispensable aid for building the unity of our generation for victory over Fascism."
Catholic Youth Centres, developed out of radical spiritual Parish training, must organise special activity and studies on the Pope's essential bases for a lasting peace, making the application through Y.C.W: principles of the Church's social doctrines in the members' immediate environment, particularly the home and industry, an essential part of all their work! A strong Catholic Youth Movement is the indispensable aid for ensuring the happiness of the generation of its members after victory over Fascism has been won.