HELEN (7LAIRKF, `C.H.' Reporter THE Vicar of the Anglican church of St. Martin-in-theFields, London, 'tells me he was "not the slightest bit surprised" when I7-year-old Helen Clarke, pupil at the Convent of the Faithful Companions, Upton Park, Birkenhead, got on her feet to put him a question on birth control.
That was last week when he spoke to nearly 3,000 grammar school children in London on "Population and Human Values".
But Helen thinks otherwise. She tells me: "I think the Rev. Austen Williams was rather taken aback by the blunt wording of my question, but one has to be quite blunt to Sit to the 'oott'ont of this nonsense they talk about birth control".
The Vicar. when I questioned him, was off-hand. "I knew there would be Roman Catholics, agnostics, and all sorts among the children," he told me, "and I didn't want to baulk the issue. There are differences of opinion. The Roman Church is honest, clear and forthright in regard to birth control. So is the Church of England."
Helen, one of a large family in Birkenhead, had come down to I.ondon with some other girls, at their own expense, and without any briefing at all from their school-mistresses, They wanted to attend that meeting. She herself is studying for the Higher Religious Certificate and this year's special subject is social work.
Helen seized the mike, and told the Vicar: "God would never let the situation arise for which the only cure would he to break this law by preventing His co-operation in the privilege of marriage. Why then is the Western and nominally the Christian world advocating immoral methods of birth control? Surely the only method of birth control is self-control".
The Vicar replied that he disagreed. He told me: "In doing so I was expressing my own opinion, and that of the bulk of Church of England leaders". The Vicar added that in the mind of some of his listeners he was a "heretic".
Helen Clarke hopes to go to a university to study Modern Languages.