TWO Archbishops have issued analytical statements on the recent announcement calling for a referendum to decide whether the Union of South Africa should become a republic.
The Prime Minister, Mr. Verwoerd, told Parliament that the question of establishing a republic would be submitted to a referendum restricted to white voters.
Archbishop Garner of Pretoria said: "So far as the Church is concerned it can function equally well in a republic or in a monarchy, provided that the form of government is just."
A disturbing feature of the Prime Minister's announcement, the Archbishop stated, was his reference to a "Christian republic".
"Very much depends on what he means by 'Christian'," the Archbishop continued. "Although South Africa is called Protestant, the population is widely distributed amongst many religions . . . If the word 'Christian' is used in the wide sense, then it is very welcome. But . . . a sectarian government would be a great tragedy for South Africans."
Archbishop Hurley of Durban said he thinks English-speaking South Africans will for the most part "accept the republic with a good grace, unless the qualification 'Christian' is interpreted too force fully and narrowly in its Calvinist sense."
"The uncertainties arise," he said, "out of South Africa's relations with the rest of a vast continent which finds her policies repelcot, and [with] 80 per cent. of her own citizens, who find them odious and repressive."
The "Southern Cross " national Catholic weekly, said (Jan. 27) in an editorial that non-whites should be given "a say as well as a stake" in the proposed republic.
"If South Africa gets a new constitution which is purely a white man's affair." the paper stated, "the rest of the people may feel it has little claim upon their respeet or loyalty. If refused a part, they may be the more easily aroused later to demand the whole."
MANY MASSES FOR TRAPPED MINERS
WHILE hope has tragically " almost gone that any of the more than 400 miners trapped in the Orange Free State pit disaster can be still alive, it has now been ascertained that between 200 and 250 of the Africans are C,atholics.
Of the few European miners trapped, one is a Catholic. He is a Hungarian immigrant who, although not scheduled to go underground at the time, took the place of the father of seven children.
Many Masses including one near the pithead have been offered for the trapped men who are all migratory miners: 230 of them from Basutoland. 196 from Portuguese Africa. The Holy Father sent a message saying that he was "Deeply grieved" at the tragedy. He also sent £500 in relief.