"What Does Life Amount To ? "
Discussed At Cambridge Summer School
Church Alone Makes Every Action Count
By Father Martindale
Catholics at Cambridge have been asking what does life amount to? Not hat they didn't know, in the rough : but they required to be helped forward in ,ome detail.
Pindar, centuries before Christ, was asked: " What is Man? . . . " and mswered " Dream of a Shadow!" Just like Hegel, Marx, and Freud. Well, 'hen all is said and done, where there is a dream, there must be a Dreamer : vhere there is a shadow, a substance must cast it, on to another substance.
The Catholic, therefore, almost the only realist left in our western world, vants to know something about those substances.
I cannot relate the story of the Summer School in detail. To most of it did not go—not really to my disgrace, but because I had jobs to do, and did hem in a house built, or rather rebuilt—for it had been burned down—by Mary rudor before Raleigh took the first English settlers to recently discovered kmerica. It has been lived in by the same family ever since (and long before); .nd that felt to me pretty substantial and certainly no dream. All the same, he point of the Summer School's enquiry is so actual and important that I may ry to jab it into the paper of the Herald.
Never hitherto has the Sacrifice of the ndividual 1:yeen so calculatedly complete. n practice, Capitalism has meant that rioney must be made at no matter whose xpense. Communism and Totalitarianism like immolate the individual to the State. teligion, as involving an authority superior a any State, is either got rid of altogether, T, told that its sphere is heaven only, all hings whatsoever that happen upon earth .eing the monopoly of Government.
Responsible for every Action
Alone the Christian says that each individual is essentially intelligent and free, made for virtue and immortality, and incalculably valuable as son of God and brother, in Christ, of all other men. We used the word " immortality." The man on earth, and the man in the "next" world, is one and the self-same tnan. On what happens here, eternity depends. Far from this removing all value from this life, it gives to it a value that nothing else can.
As Maurice Baring wrote: "Confession maMes every act of my life responsible. 4 forces on me the perception that in my smallest act, there are eternal issues." This is not a quotation, but his argument.
The School did not concentrate on provlg that " soul-stuff " is indestructible. 'sychology as such deserves a School to self. But, assuming an after-life, as they ay, the speakers enquired into the conitions of that life.
When is a Man Dead ?
True, Dr. O'Donovan discussed the iedical aspect of Death. He would not, think, agree with a large group of doers (at whose meeting I was present) who nanimously declared that the only way ,f making sure that a man was dead, was, le beginning of putrefaction. It remains hat priests are right in administering the ,ast Sacraments long after a man seems to ave died. (And how much have I not ealcheJ surgeons Jo, anJ hearJ them say, fter they thought I was anaesthetised!)
The Right to Kill
Most important was Dr. Grimley's paper n The Right to Kill. How bitterly did chuckle, the other day, at a meeting of iacifists, all of them purple to prove that 11 war—killing of men—was illicit, when got them round to agreeing that contraeption, abortion, sterilisation, and uthanasia were all of them perfectly !.gitimate!
Finally, Mr. Sheed, in an amusing lecture nnounced as on Spiritualism and modern iews of the Future Life, lifted, I was told, he apocalyptic gloom into which mif own irst lecture, on St. John's Apocalypse, had ast the audience. (Mr. G. B. Shaw twice think) says that this rigidly organised, lost intellectually " governed " document, ias the work of a drug maniac. One by ,ne, you discover the topics on which Mr. haw talks nonsense. Anything he says 110lli tili ilililEt you iiln Heaven and Hell
Abbot Vonier had the happy tonic of leaven to speak of, while Fr. H. Davis ad to burrow into Hell.
The virtue of each was, first, to force listeners to appreciate the difference be 1
tween die pi1 ctori1ai1 aescriptions of the essentially undescribable, and the reality.
Our Lord, to His audience, could useully describe heaven as an unending banuet along with the Hebrew Patriarchs, a ision, to us, quelling rather than alluring. t. John could adorn his representation of 16aY611 imaE6 of ham) uluyinl ndlessly upon harps, a spectacle still ()pular maybe in Wales, but not in Lon.on, where people seem to enjoy the saxohone. (The moment that filthy instrulent begins, I turn the wireless off . . .) Inough. What we picture through the enses. has no real relation with what has Mhifi# ttl M iNith Iii6iYi. The pictures in hat old book "Hell open to Christians" . _ _ . _ _ The essence of all that is, what Baron von Hiigel, that intense believer (to the annoyance of modernist Oxford dons) in both heaven and hell, always called Enduring Consequences. " What entered into Thee—That was, is, and shall be," said Browning, understanding well that what matters is what I am, in life as in death, but not understanding the power and will of God to forgive and to reconstruct.
This forgiveness and reconstruction alike of Sinner and of Ignorant, were at the back of Fr. Moncrieff, 0.P.'s lecture on Purgatory and Indulgences, and of Fr. A. Bonnar, 0.F.M.'s lecture on Limbo and the Un-Baptised. On such subjects, the speaker has to be exceptionally careful, so little has the Church so far defined about them. Maybe here precisely is on of the areas in which may amount of " development of dogma " still shall occur. It is at present possible to make " Baptism by Desire," for example, mean almost anything, so that one exclaims—the opposite to the apostolic exclamation about the Rich — " Who, then, can be lost?" That won't do.
But we do know this at least—no man can be lost, save by his own fault. God damns no man. Any lost soul is selfdamned. I am " hell-able." should I find myself in hell, I have helled my Self.
To me, the real upshot of this Summer School was this—How do I propose to regulate my life? On the assumption that this world is capable of being made a selfsufficient Heaven upon Earth (not that any living man has the very faintest prospect of seeing it become so—however much he may sacrifice himself in trying to make it become so) or, am I a pilgrim from the " non-abiding city " to the " City that hath the foundations—whose builder and maker is God "? From the shifting, drifting sands of this our Sahara, to the "firm-built Citadel " of God, on His eternal Hills?
Belloc To Edit From September
G.K.'s Weekly announces this week that Mr. Hilaire Belloc Mr. H. S. PavnterI M r J R. Jebb and Mr. H. D. C. Pepler have joined the Board of G.K.'s Weekly Ltd. Mr. Belloc takes over the editorship of G.K.'s Weekly formally with the issue on September 10, which will be the 600th issue of the paper. Until then Mr. Belloc will contribute regularly and Messrs. R. Jebb and Edward J. Macdonald will be in editorial charge.
The new secretary of the company is Miss Dorothy E. Collins.
NEW LAW COURTS IN
THE THIRD REICH.
Military Tribunals have been reorganised in the Third Reich, writes our German Correspondent.
A Supreme Military Court has been set up in Berlin and the old Military Criminal Code of 1898 has largely been
Some months ago, the famous Volksgerichtshof ("Popular Court ") which has to deal with all crimes against the safety of the State and the honour of the National-Socialist Party and whose sentenses are particularly severe, has been given its definite form of organisation.
Party Justice There are special tribunals for members of the Nazi party as well as for the Labour Service, so that the whole system of German law courts has become infinitely more complicated than it used to be.
In nractice the "imnartial " trihunalc have all become pnrty tribunals, and lustitia finds her decisions by putting a