SPECIALISE IN WORLD AFFAIRS
By a Staff Reporter "NTEW sailing orders "-Mr. Douglas Woodruff's description-were given by Cardinal Griffin to the Sword of the Spirit at its tenth anniversary meet. ing in London on Saturday.
He asked the members to "do your best to make of the ' Sword' a real force in the evangelisation of this country."
He also asked the " Sword" to take an urgent interest in Catholic European exiles and help them to become integrated into the life of the Catholic community.
Christian cooperatiop once a. major interest of the organisationwas mentioned once during the meeting.
Answering a non-Catholic associate member, Mr. Woodruff (chairman) said that the question of cooperation has been settled on " a higher level."
Mrs. Freda Reales (hon. secretary) stated that there are now about 30 associate members and that there have been " one or two resignations."
The total membership is 1,714.
Change of mind
The Cardinal had earlier pointed out that "a great deal of what was origipally included within the general aims of this movement is in fact the special and appropriate work of some other Catholic body-of the Catholic Social Guild, for example, the Catholic Education Council, Catholic Parents' Association, the Catholic Union or the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists "-and " we do not want overlapping."
Explaining the " Sword's" new Kite, the Cardinal said: Since 1940 the English people have become increasingly conscious of the Catholic Church as a great force in the post-war world. The minds of our countrymen have chapged a great deal since the '30s, when the importance of religion, like the danger of atheistic Communism, was underrated or ignored.
Today it is a commonplace to be told by non-Catholics that they fully recognise that in the strength of the Catholic Church much more than in any purely material resources lies the great hope of saving Europc and indeed the world.
Yet, on the other hand. these years have seen terrible losses and trials endured by the Church in the half of Europe that has been allowed to fall under Communist rule. And in this country we constantly meet a lack of understanding of the reason for Christian political parties on the Continent.
This lack of upderstanding hecsuocmceesss of theopposition when the the Christian party stands in the way of other parties with political alliances here.
The role of Catholics here as interpreters to their fellow-countrymen of the position of Catholics on the Continent is one of vital importance.
For maoy years the Catholic press has printed a great deal that the ordinary newspapers have missed or dismissed as unimportant. But something more is needed now.
What is needed now is that our Catholics should make these matters a special interest and should follow the fortunes of the Church throughout the world in order that they may be able to explain to others just what has happened and why,
This seems to me to be a role especially fitted for the "Sword " The study of the life of the Church today. the diffusion of knowledge through the mass of our people and not merely amongst university graduates, is a need which P0 other Catholic movement has met and is one which the "Sword " is particularly well qualified to meet.
We live in an age of international bodies and organisations, of attempts to promote charters of human rights and, in general, of a desire to deal with principles unfettered by nationalist or racial considerations.
This tendency must be of particular interest to members of the Universal Church.
I am glad to know that the " Sword" is arranging for special and expert groups of its members to watch all this international activity: to study the declarations and documents of these post-war bodies and to call attention to both what is good and what is bad ip them from the Catholic point of view.
I hope that the "Sword " will have two sides. First, that which watches and studies, writes and publishes. and this must take place mainly in London where access to these matters is easiest, and, secondly. a side which diffuses and spreads all this relative knowledge among Catholics and indeed throughout the country at large.
I say the country at large for today we enjoy a great deal of goodwill in England provided we know how to put our case.
It seems to me that. in this second period of its life. the "Sword" will do well to decentralise even more completely than in the past all that side of its work which is copeerned with public meetings, because the circumstances differ from one town to another.
Lastly, I would say the ' Sword" members. as was said to the .Catholic women at the Albert Hall, that one consequence of the last ten years is that we have in our midst tens of thousands of Catholics in exile from Europe, many of them settling down now in this country and needing to be integrated into the life of the Catholic community.
They and their children are capable of becoming a great source of strength if they are so integrated. They are also easily capable of becoming a source of weakness and of being lost to us and to themselves.