From a Special Correspondent DUBLIN.
Irishmen should be Catholics for seven days of the week!
Like the Claidearnh Soluis, or Sword of Light, this sentence flashes out from the flood of oratory to which we listened during Dublin's first Catholic Social Week. We heard it at the final session when vigorous, forthright Fr. Hayes, the young County Tipperary curate who founded Muinntir na Tire (the People of the Land), read a paper on "Some Social Evils of Today, and an Attempt to Solve Them."
" Half-an-hour-a-week Catholics," he told his hearers, " can never, without a miracle of God, combat seven-days-aweek Communists."
He was able to point proudly to the achievements of Muinntir na Tire as an example of what could and should be done. In Tipperary town that organisation had succeeded in putting every unemployed man to tilling the soil, working in conjunction with the Government Plot Scheme.
Urging that a Council should be set up to arbitrate in disputes, he pointed out that in Tipperary they had such a Council already, composed of representatives of all sections of the community who were members of the Parochial Guild of Muinntir no Tire--and the decisions of that Council were accepted by the directors of the factories and the trade unions.
Amazing Increase Some of our leaders in Ireland say that
we have gone " amusement mad." The amazing increase in the number of dance halls all over the country during the past few years has led to many abuses and has created great uneasiness amongst heads of Church and State. Fr. Hayes has a remedy. He told his Social Week audience that places of amusement should be controlled by Parish Guild Councils such as had been set up by Muinntir na Tire, allowing plenty of scope for lawful amusement, but preventing a licence that would break the law of God and violate the decencies of Christian society.
What is a Vocational Group?
It was pointed out by one of our most distinguished theologians, the Rev. Dr. Lucey, of St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, that few people in these countries seem to understand exactly what is meant by the term vol'ational groups.
The first Constitution of the Irish Free State, that of 1922, made provision for the establishment of Vocational Councils representing branches of the social and economic life of the nation, but our government has apparently forgotten all about the matter since then.
It is to be hoped that as a result of all the reminders which they have received during the past week, definite action will be taken in the immediate future by the Executive Council.
Dr. Lucey was careful to make it clear that vocational organisation does not mean the end of trades unions, employers' federations and the like, but really would add to their importance.
Neither Right nor Left " We Catholics," he declared, "must refuse to allow ourselves to be dubbed Fascist just because we are antiCommunist. We have a programme which is neither Fascist, nor Communist, but just Christian." Mgr. Waters, P.P., V.G., stressed the importance of the Study Circle, the aim of which should be to impart a competent knowledge of Catholic teaching to all. He suggested that the members of Study Circles should qualify in journalism, for an article in the Press was read by the nation.
There are, as a matter of fact, a number of excellent Study Circles in Dublin, but there should be a vastly greater number not only in the capital but throughout the country.
It is to be feared that their purpose is as little understood as that of the Vocational groups.
So far as journalism is concerned, I am able to state that, following a hint given by Mr. de Valera at the annual dinner of the Institute of Journalists in Dublin last month, steps are being taken to see if it will be possible to establish a diploma course in journalism at University College, Dublin. This might assist in the realisation of Mgr. Waters' suggestion.
Undoubtedly very good work has been done by this first Catholic Social Week, and a very gratifying feature was the active participation in it of labour leaders and Captains of Industry, but it was disappointing to find that the representatives of the .two big political parties were conspicuous by their absence.
There will be a good deal of support for the statement made at one of the meetings by Mr. J. L. McGowan, a member of the Labour Party in Dail Eireann that, among the difficulties in the way of establishing the vocational group system is the faot that in this country we are suffering from an overdose of class consciousness and class patriotism. " It would be well," he said. "if the people got a bit of sense and forgot politics."
It was another Labour leader, Mr. Luke J. Duffy, General Secretary of the Irish Labour Party, who roundly asserted that the most serious matter to his mind was that, in a country not only professing to be Christian, but Catholic, and with a Constitution inspired as ours is, Civil Servants were not allowed time to go to Mass on Church holy days.