WCC man hits out
BritiSh responsibility 'for the situation in South Africa and Rhodesia were emphasised by the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, speaking in London list week. The Rev Philip Potter, a West Indian Methodist Minister, was giving the Alex Wood Memorial lecture, sponsored by the interdenominational Fellowship of Reconciliation at Hinde Street Methodist Church.
"This is the only country in Western Eurdpe where I am required to have a visa," said Mr Potter, who holds a passport stating he is a British subject. The system in South Africa was sustained by foreign investment, 58 per cent of which came from Britain, he said.
"There is no shortage of evidence pointing, without a shadow of a doubt, to the ways in which we are all involved in maintaining the institutionalised violence of the system. In fact, this country carries a very heavy responsibility for creating the situation in South Africa as well as, Rhodesia."
Referring to the slavery and colonial domination in the West Indies in the past, he said: "I know in my inner being how hard it is to overcome the past and present and the separation which this has caused between me and you all the more hard because most of you in this country are so insensitive and complacent about it all." "You utter lofty words of concern without costly acts of reconciliation," he said. "1 know too how all this is woven in to my own inability to forgive myself for the contempt I have for white people and the resulting contempt I feel for myself." Mr Potter, who called his lecture "The Love of Power or the Power of Love" also spoke about Ethiopia, where he said 100.000 had recently died in a famine. He blamed the social structure of the country, where 60 per cent of the land is owned by a feudal nobility and the Church, and farmers have to give 75 per cent of their produce to landlords, as well as pay taxes.
"A. well-meaning Emperor and his equally well-meaning ministerial entourage seem powerless, lo do anything to achieve any significant change," he said.
The magnificent remedial work by Ethiopian and foreign volunteers and foreign aid "are incapable of materially helping the people, because the structure of the whole society, from top to bottom, requires radical change." In Brazil recently after "the 'election' of a new military President we have been given impressive figures of rapid strides' in the increase •of the gross national product, in the conquest of the jungle . but the human cost has been frightful," said Mr Potter.
"The system is based on vast estates and on deprived and dispossessed people, on the majority of people being treated as objects rather than subjects, on the ruthless suppression or expulsion of those who seek to overcome this institutionalised violence. And this pattern is being followed all over South America today."
He asked if Christians were going "to escape into privatist or parochial or, to use a new Blitish word, patrial exclusiveness" and wait for disaster to overtake us all.
United Nations Population Year has opened with the predictable spate of publicity for birth control throughout the world something from which even Britain's falling birth-rate has not saved her.
The American Catholic Bishops' Conference was one of the first tb offer the Christian view on meeting the problems posed by the world's soaring population.
But the statement by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales was unlikely to see the light of day before the end of the month, the Catholic Information Office said this week. Their statement, prepared well over a month ago, has suffered printing delays, aggravated by
• the paper shortage.
Others would seem to think the problem more urgent. Population Countdown, associated with the Family Planning Association. opened , its World Population Year campaign last November. But Catholics will has e to sail until at least a quarter of the year has passed to hear from their bishops. Surely it is an occasion for the Chancery Offices to make use of their duplicators. It would be most unfortunate if the bishops' slowness to publish their guidance were interpreted as being inspired by fear or lethargy as it most assuredly will be.
A Former fashion designer, Mr. Michael Wylde, has this week • launched an appeal for funds to start a commune to help six ex-prisoners in need of long-term care and support.
Mr. Wylde was national secretary of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and five years ago became the first administrator of Newland House, King's Road, Chelsea, opened by the Catholic Prisoners Social Service.
Mr. Wylde agreed he was taking on a job which might last a life-time, but said "I feel that it is my vocation," Newland House was started to offer short-term rehabilitation care to ex-prisoners. Mr. Wylde's new community, he said, would offer long-term care to help those who "having made tremendous efforts themselves, still need support." The new project is planned as an independent charity supported by friends of Mr. Wylde, led by Viscountess Combermere, the Hon. Mrs. Julia Stonor Saunders and Mrs. Pamela Synge. "We will appeal to charitable trusts and the public for funds." he said.
A house has already been found for the new community, and Mr. Wylde leaves his job as administrator at Newland House at the end of this month to organise the new unit.
Growing national recognition of the ever-expanding work of the Catholic Social Welfare Commission has led to the sale of more than 11.000 copies of their booklet, "The Management of Community Homes."
Mr. Bob Walsh secretary of the commission, said the booklet had been bought by local authorities and organisations all over the country. Another booklet describing how unmarried mothers can be helped, written by a founder-member of the Commission, Canon Philip Harvey, Administrator of the Crusade of Rescue, has just been published by the Catholic Truth Society.
The commission's most recently established working
party on the "in care" and "after care" of prisoners has begun its work of bringing together organisations such as the Catholic 'Prisoners' Social Service, prison chaplains, hostel organisations and probation officers. Mr. Walsh said the comM dice edited to improve the services available for prisoners and ex-prisoners.
The working party for the handicapped, under Dr. E: Whelan of Manchester. University, has begun a draft of a guide to catechetical teaching for the handicapped and for those who work with them. This will aid parish priests in suggesting the right questions which, should be asked about this group and how parishes may help families with handicapped children.
.S discussion on the problem, of care for the elderly. led by Mr. David Hobman. Director of Age Concern and a former chairman of, the commission, led last month to the setting up of a committee to examine the problem.
The Training and Consultancy Committee, which helped to start courses now offered at Liverpool University especially useful for nuns engaged in parish work. has discussed the seminarians' need fur an understanding of social problems with seminary professors.
The committee also provides a Social Work Advisory Service and is holding conversations with religious congregations about the sort of social work that could be undertaken.
Discussion at the last full meeting of the commission in February ranged from the recent suggestion that half the count ry 's drug addicts were Catholic to the problem of the pastoral care of homosexuals and the proposed changes in the Charity Law.
Mr. J. N. Winstanlev, former
head of St. Wilfrid's Comprehensive School, Crawley, Sussex, and now' adviser on secondary education to the Catholic Education Council, was elected chairman of the commission for 1974.
Lilac time for Hendon
he Hendon' Catholic Operatic Society is this year performing Schubert's "Lilac Time" in The Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute from April 3 to 6.
, The society branched out from a church choir to performing musicals and operas from 1945. Now the need is for new members, Anyone , interested should write to the secretary: Miss K. Gorman, 19 Ellerton Lodge, East End Road. Finchley, N3 3QH, Membership is open to everyone: The producer, Mrs. Maire Halliday. very successfully produced "Oklahoma" last year.
Franciscan full house
The Franciscan Study Centre at Canterbury, which opened last autumn, continues to pursue its aim of being more than just a seminary for training priests. Its first series of open lectures, entitled "Understanding Faith," has been a notable success, drawing a large audience each week. ILay people and religious from a wide area have joined students from the University of Kent to make a full house for each of the lectures so far, despite storms and gales.
The centre has.now published details of its next venture, a oneyear full time course in theology for a limited number of students, to begin in October. Students following this course will he able to choose from a range of motions.
Some of the individual courses available to them already form part of the seminary course, while others are specially designed for the one-year programme, It is thought that this is the first time that this kind of participation in a seminary or religious house of studies has been offered to nonclerical students in this country (though Heythrop of course provides a similar opportunity at the university degree level).
The Franciscans are expecting a considerable demand particularly from teachers who wish to renew and deepen their theological understanding.
Incidentally, the Franciscan Study Centre is planning to hold its official opening on September 10, in connection with the celebrations of the 750th anniversary of the first coaling of the Franciscans to Canterbury.