Striking Advent Pastorals
Catholic's Duty As A Citizen
New " Tracts For The Times "
THE CONTRAST BETWEEN C HRISTIAN SOCIAL IDEALS AND THE PRACTICE OF A NON-CATHOLIC WORLD IS STRIKINGLY UNDERLINED IN THE ADVENT PASTORALS WHICH TOUCH MORE ON CURRENT AFFAIRS THIS YEAR THAN THEY HAVE DONE IN THE RECENT HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN BRITAIN.
Deep anxiety for the position of the Catholic in the face of modern political, social and cultural tendencies is betrayed by every Archbishop and Bishop in the country.
The following are a few of the burning topics discussed:— The position of the workingman compared with that of the leisured class . . . the slowness— particularly of wealthier Catholics—to carry through their social obligations . • . the need of Christian standards in trades, professions and the general routine of living. . . the danger to the nation of divorce and birth control . . . the menace of certain kinds of cinema and radio . . . the leakage from the Church through the failure of Catholics to react to these evils and to spread the truth about them. .
. THE ESTABLISHMENT AND ENCOURAGEMENT OF CATHOLIC ACTION ORGANISATIONS IS UNIVERSALLY RECOMMENDED BY THE HIERARCHY.
MANY DO NOT REALISE
Here are some striking quotations from the pastorals :
WESTMINSTER: "God, Who bade man earn his bread by the sweat of his brow, did not thereby ordain that there should be a lower order ' of workers for the purpose of keeping the ' leisured class ' in comfort by their toil. . „
" It would appear that these, whose Catholicism ought to be their proudest boast, do not like to be known as Catholics;nhat they fear to be prominent in support of causes which the world despises...
" Why is it that many Catholics . have as yet shown little signs of having realised their (social) obligations? . .
"The worker wants justice . . "
BIRMINGHAM: " The national tradition of service, voluntary service of one's fellowmen, the respect for law and order, the reverence for things sacred, the honesty that one has a right to respect in trade, the care of parents for their children, the obed icnce of children to their parents — all these good qualities and many others depend ultimately on a belief in God."
LIVERPOOL: "Amidst the present perplexities which narrow men's minds the Catholic Church with its strict adherence to fixed principles, gains steadily in prestige and influence, and notably so throughout the British Empire and in the U.S.A. . . . The present age is . . . ' a time of Sifting and peril '."
NOTTINGHAM: " Possibly the greatest danger threatening society today is the dishonouring of family life. . . . Outside the Catholic Church, the broken home is becoming more and more a feature of modern life. Easy divorce, palliated if not actually encouraged by certain religious authorities, and the spread of unsavoury practices which are designed to defeat the primary purpose of marriage, if allowed to proceed unchecked will certainly wreck modern society as they have wrecked civilisations in the past."
" WHEN GOD ALONE IS THE FINAL OBJECT ..."
Urging the faithful to greater perfection in the exercise of charity, Mgr. Hinsley says:
"When G6d alone is the final object and supreme intention of our thoughts and activities, then everything—our neighbour and his interests and all the world besides —falls into due perspective, and high and low, rich and poor, learned and ignorant, realise their essential brotherhood in Christ. Classes, therefore, there must be, but classes neither opposed nor exclusive. There are no castes in Christianity.
" God who bade man earn his bread by the sweat of his brow did not thereby ordain that there should be a lower order' of workers for the purpose of keeping the 'leisured class' in comfort by their toil.
"No Catholic, therefore, can regard with indifference a state of affairs in which work is considered as a commodity and the worker merely as a ' hand,' and not, as he primarily is, an immortal soul. He must want those conditions to be changed into something Christian and he must do what he can to bring about the change. He must not apathetically acquiesce in them."
Describing the many societies that help to spread Catholic influence, he reminds us that " their efficiency is often seriously impaired by an unhappy circumstance. They do not attract from the general body adequate membership; and, in particular, those Catholics who by reason of their position and education are best fitted to be leaders among the laity do not always give to these organisations a support which is commensurate with their influence and opportunities.
" It would appear that these, whose Catholicism ought to be their proudest boast, do not like to be known as Catholics; that they fear to be prominent in support of causes which the world despises; that they have not at heart the welfare of their weaker brethren.
Re-Baptising the Social System
" For nearly fifty years the Popes have been urging us all to unite by study and action in doing our part towards re-baptising ' the social system, deprived for centuries of the control of the Faith and grown to maturity under a utilitarian and pseudoliberal philosophy.
"Why is it thgt many Catholics, those to whom these reiterated appeals have been directly and authoritatively addressed, have as yet shown little sign of having realised their obligations?
Opposing Excesses of View "Even among certain Catholics it has sometimes been said that the worker has DO right to anything beyond his labour, that it is more important that a social system should be efficient than that it should be equitable; or even that the condition of the workers today leaves nothing to be desired. On the other hand, as a reaction to the ignorance of human rights betrayed by such thoughtless utterances, equally shallow assertions are sometimes made on behalf of the workers, as that they want justice and not charity '—whereas in fact both are necessary; or that `capital is robbery'; or that private ownership has led to all abuses.'
"Only in one way can such opposite excesses be corrected; only in one way can (Continued on page 2.)