American mbassador Present At Mass
SIX HUNDRED DELEGATES FROM ALL PARTS OF ENGLAND AND WALES ATTENDED THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE SOCIETY OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL AT CARDIFF ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY.
Mgr. Francis Mostyn, Archbishop of Cardiff, presided over the meeting and Cardinal Hinsley addressed the delegates. Pontifical High Mass was celebrated at St David's Cathedral in the presence of the Cardinal. Mr. Joseph P. Kennedy, the American Ambassador, was among the distinguished guests.
" In these our times, when pagan racialism and false nationalism are being forced on mankind, it behoves us urgently to preach from the house-tops the full doctrine of Divine Charity," said Cardinal Hinsley, preaching this weekend at the St. Vincent de Paul annual Congress at Cardiff.
" Now more than ever we Catholics must practise Christian brotherly love, to the utmost of our power, in the hope that thus we shall contribute towards world peace and help to save civilised society from barbarism and chaos," the Cardinal went on. " Thus at least we shall promote our own sanctification and secure our salvation.
The Cardinal told his listeners how the S.V.P. Society was founded a little over a hundred years ago in 1833 by Frederick Ozanam and a little band of his fellow students of the Sorbonne. They met together to form a company of laymen determined to devote their time and their means to the service of the needy and the poor.
They could not have foreseen, said the Cardinal, that their small organisation was to expand into the worldwide international society of Charity which i was today. lie went on: " They saw only that in their own immediate surroundings in Paris there was a world of misery, moral and material, which clamoured for relief and redress. The spirit of Christianity, the nature of charity, was misconstrued or misunderstood. On the one hand the cry was raised: 'Show us your works. Christianity is a failure. It is a dead tree that produces no fruits.' On the other hand the Gospel of hate was soon to be preached. ' We want none of your Charily. we want only justice,' as if both were not necessary. And soon classhatred was to he erected into a system.
Real Charity " Ozanam and his companions understood that personal sanctity and active practice of Christian Charity must go hand in hand if the attacks of rationalism and materialism were to be effectively met.
" Merely doling out alms would not satisfy their ideas of Charity. They would strive to give moral assistance, to make the corporal works of mercy precede or run parallel with the spiritual, and so seek to build up the self-respect of the dejected and downtrodden.
"They would by offerings, influence, prayers and most of all by personal sanctity, lead back those whom material miseries had estranged from God. These purposes and principles were embodied in wise constitutions which have been imitated and adopted even by non-Catholic charitable organisations, "Thus the S.V.P. has become a world force of practical Christian Brotherly love. It preaches to the modern world by deeds more than by words, the Gospel of eternal Charity."
After explaining the deep theological meaning of Charity, Cardinal Hinsley turned to the modern conception of this Christian virtue which, he said, was being scorned as out of date and useless.
"I Say, No
" If now it is urged that Christian Charity is unpractical, I say no! It has not been practised, maybe, not practised through the fault of those bound to practise it_ " Where Christianity has failed, it is because Christianity has not been tried or has been forcibly prevented from being tried. Recall the times and places in which the charitable works of S.V.P. have been suppressed and its members subjected to persecution, " Christian Charity is not unpractical since we can point to countless heroic examples of the practice of this virtue in the past and in the present.
"See your Patron St. Vincent of Paul among his galley slaves—ready as tradition says, to take their place—see him moving like a good angel about the wards of the hospitals built by his exertions, see him as be picks up the poor little exposed children in the streets of Paris.
" Did he not feed whole provinces wherewar and disease had spread appalling destitution?
China Missions " I have myself seen some fraction of the devoted work of our missionaries— Fathers, Brothers rand Sisters—among the untouchables and the lepers. And only a few days ago I received directly from China, through a non-Catholic agent of the Red Cross, his testimony as an eyewitness to the heroic labours of our missionaries among the wounded and the sick and the
refugee women and children in that wartortured country." Missionary Fathers and Sisters did not wait for funds to arrive, said the Cardinal. Nor did they Sit Still till they received grants, medical supplies and foodstuffs from the Lord Mayor's Fund for Chinese relief. They performed their works of mercy no matter what privations they themselves had to face, no matter the risks of disease, of wounds, of death.
The Popes' Teachings
" There exists a practical programme of Christianity in the Great Pastoral Letters of Leo XIII and of Pius XI, especially in Leo XII1's Encyclical On the Conditions of Labour, and that of Pius XI, Forty Years After. " The Vicar of Christ, like the wise householder who brought forth from his storehouse, old things and new,' has proclaimed a system of Christian action for the restoration of society on Christian principles—on the principles of Charity and justice applied to the conditions and needs of our times.
" By these great Popes a system has been proposed to the modern world, a system which permeates the latest soundest social science with the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount or of the eight Beatitudes.
" This is the system which the Apostolate of the Laity is authorised and urged to carry out according to the needs and circumstances of our country. The S.V.P. is one and a most striking example of an organised society for the practice of Christian Brotherly love.
" Its members are laymen who band themselves together to obey the call of Christ's Vicar for a more intense and systematic Apostolate of Charity, resolved to continue ever more zealously the Church's mission of Divine Charity.
"We need more members of this great international and truly Catholic Society.
"I appeal to young men especially to join the ranks of this Society. in order to show actively and practically the sincerity of their Christian faith, and to counteract the materialism and godless propaganda which seeks to capture the rising generation for anti-Christ.
What Priests Cannot Do
" They are not called upon to become professed religious—to bind themselves by vow to give themselves up in chastity, poverty and entire obedience in order more freely to serve Christ in His poor.
" As laymen the members of S.V.P. can do work the priest and the professed religious may not be able to do; they can penetrate districts and homes where the priest and professed religious cannot find place.
"They can be the forerunners of direct religious influence.
" To the ignorant and the despairing they can carry the message of truth and hope through the ministration of Charity which may lead to the ministrations of Grace in the Sacraments."
There was nothing socialistic about the S.V.P., he said. The members did not expect the State to do what the. State had no right to do. They did not wait for Government subsidies and regulations.
Their services to the poor, the sick, the aged and the dying, their sacrifices of leisure and of means—were personal and voluntary. " They take in hand at once the work of Charity that comes under their notice in their own neighbourhood—and do their merciful work to the extent of their power and means.
" They are democratic, if you will, because the S.V.P. is a society which comprises men of every rank or social sphere who strive to assist all manner of distress wheresoever or in whomsoever it is found, wisely to help the needy without distinc tion . .
" When the truly charitable man appears before his Judge and Saviour he will hear the sentence: As long as you did those things to the least of my brethren you did them to me. You gave your life for them because and as I gave mine for them also. Now come, share my Glory for ever. Enter into the joy of your Lord.'"