HEAVY broadside was aimed at the pessimists and doubters in the Church by a Leeds priest at last weekend's annual conference of the C.Y.M.S. at Buxton. Derbyshire.
Fr. Michael Buckley, of St. Patrick's, told delegates that too many Catholics were dominated by fear; fear of what is happening to the Church.
"If we are true Christians," he said, "we should have confidence that the Holy Spirit will lead us where He will."
Fr. Buckley said Catholics should be tremendously optimistic and joyful. "The world today is not such a bad place," he continued. "At least now we know that half the world is starving and we do try to do something about it. There was a time when we did not evert bother to find out."
He said we must learn how best to get across the Christian message in language that other people understand. This can be done by listening to other people and allowing them to explain their problems.
"We must give others the credit for possessing the truth and sincerity and try to discover what makes them tick. The Buddhists in Vietnam are prepared to die for what they believe. Humanists give up hours of leisure time to works of charity and the process puts us to shame.
"Have we got an excess of a type of faith which excludes good works?" asked Fr. Buckley, noting that Christ came that we might have life more abundantly instead of moribundantly.
"Catholics," said Fr. Buckley, "should see their Faith as a call to action." They should compare their responsibility with that of other faiths (and none) and honestly ask themselves if they are the 1.ight of the world.
"Perhaps we are, but only in isolated sections," answered the Leeds priest. "The country is not ablaze. There are just a few scattered bonfires.
"If God is dead for so many, it is because we Christians are asleep. The laity must wake up and have a clear conscience of not only belonging to the Church but of being the Church.
"The laity is the living stones on which the church is built. Too often we hear of people dying in the Church and -forget the importance of living for it.
"We count heads, overstressing the quantity to the neglect of the quality. We have a lot to learn and a lot to give —and perhaps we learn best in giving."
Turning to the C.Y.M.S. specifically, he said it must examine itself, purge itself of useless unessentials and adapt itself to the needs of our times.
The C.Y.M.S. Chaplain, Fr. Denis Hickling, told the conference that the Society's family discussion groups must not be confined to just Catholics.
They must be shared with all families, and to this end the Society is asking each Diocese to organise weekend training courses on either a diocesan or district level. The National Executive is initiating the training with a course at Bollington on September 17 and 18.