From "CATHOLIC HERALD", November 6, 1936.
CATHOLIC ACTION: GREAT BRITAIN'S FIRST STEP
Mgr. Hinsley And The Societies
National Bond Of Unity
Dr. O'Donovan To Be Lay President
Catholic Action in this country is to be organised into one co-ordinate body of Catholic Unity.
"One Apostolate, united in prayer, in faith, and in apostolic activity," said Mgr. Hinsley, the Archbishop of Westminster and President of Catholic Action in England, whose appointment by the Holy Father was reported in the Catholic Herald of October 23.
Mgr. Hinsley spoke at a meeting of representatives of all the Societies of Catholic Action working in the Archdiocese, which was held at the Westminster Cathedral Hall on Friday, October 30.
The meeting was held with a view to discussing the means of co-ordinating the various objectives of the societies of Catholic activity and to form a committee to study the problem and to suggest methods of applying the Holy Father's plans to England.
Mgr. Hinsley was careful to stress that this was only a preliminary meeting, but it was the beginning. It was to be "no flash in the pan." He did not intend to rush matters or to start any grandiose schemes which would only fall flat in a short time. The beginning would be modest and moderate. In time it would be built up.
"Pitfalls of impatience and misunderstanding lie ahead."
No Muddling Through
Mgr. Hinsley referred to the criticism in the Catholic press of delaying Catholic Action. Criticisms of what had been done and of what had not been done. Criticism of his own appointment by the Holy Father as President of Catholic Action. He wished to plead not altogether neglectful and that delay had not been caused by backwardness nor by lack of interest. It had been delayed by the death of Cardinal Bourne. He spoke of the Pastoral on the
An article by Edward Quinn on the rapid advance of organised Catholic Action in Austria will be found on page 12.
Lay Apostolate summoning all to join in National Catholic Action, of the crusade for closed Retreats. He had requested the Westminster Catholic Federation together with the Knights of St. Columba to compile a list of Catholic Activities in England and Wales, which they had carried out. That had been a necessary preliminary step.
Essentially Lay Action
" Catholic Action must be essentially Lay Action. An organised Apostolate of the Laity with the co-operation and under the guidance of the hierarchy. We must mobilise the laity under the leadership of their pastors — to save Christendom," he said.
An obstacle was the tendency of the laity to interfere into the work of the clergy, but in England that danger was very remote. The spirit of anti-clericalism was almost non-existent. The clergy and the laity were in harmony.
With reference to the name "Catholic Action." Mgr. Hinsley said it implied effort and resolution, determination to fight, but it also implied pugnacity and aggressiveness which could very easily be misconstrued. He preferred to use another phrase: "Catholic Unity." He would like that to be the war-cry. "The unity of all Catholics. One Apostolate, united in prayer, in faith, and in apostolic activity."
But unity entailed considerable sacrifice. It meant the sinking of all petty differences; the sacrifice of a certain amount of individualism and personal preferences and ideas when Catholic Unity required it.
" To form a single compact army to fight against the sons of darkness is our aim. Our direct enemy is atheism." Mgr. Hinsley said.
Mgr. Hinsley then spoke of the construction of Catholic Action. There would be a National Board of Catholic Unity, which would be parent to Diocesan Boards of Catholic Unity, which in turn would be divided into Parochial and inter-Parochial Boards
" Machinery will be set up in every diocese, in every parish to face the problems that are confronting us. The problems of loss and leakage from the faith, and of our terrible social questions."
" I have no intention of abolishing the existent societies or institutions nor of sweeping away of the present activities, but they will be adapted and absorbed into the one Catholic Unity."
Mgr. Hinsley spoke of the great work which the societies are doing.
Organised, Co-ordinate Unity
There were far too many of them to mention each separately. But it should not be imagined that Catholic Action is a multitude of disjointed disconnected activities. Soon they will be one organised, co-ordinate, consecutive Catholic Unity. From layman to parish priest from parish priest to Bishop, from Bishop to the President of English Catholic Unity and from him to the Holy Father. "We are all links in the chain of Catholic Unity, and as links we must pull together. Obedience and Unity must be our watchwords.
"Other Dioceses have some form of Catholic Action already, and these will fall in with the National plan. Each Diocese will by the authority of the Ordinary, have its own scheme which will be dove-tailed into the Central organisation," said His Grace.
Unity of Spiritual Knowledge
Mgr. Hinsley spoke of the great work of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine in dealing with "leakage." It should be instituted in every parish, and would do much to ensure what the Holy Father wanted — a Unity or spirituality of knowledge of activity. This can only be gained by the co-operation of other societies. The Confraternity will be the foundation of Catholic Action.
Built on Personal Sanctity
"Greater spiritual perfection will be the aim of all who undertake the Apostolate. And if the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine be the foundation, the Guild of the Blessed Sacrament will be the key-stone.
"Catholic Unity is not merely a religious association — not simply concerned with the
THE NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF CATHOLIC UNITY WILL CONSIST OF: — President: The Archbishop of Westminster. Ecclesiastical Assistant: The Archbishop of Liverpool. General Secretary: The Bishop of Nottingham. Lay President: Dr. W.J. O'Donovan. And four lay members approved by the Archbishops.
"This Committee will carefully study the various pronouncements of the Holy See on Catholic Action. They will suggest and determine how far we can adopt the programme of Catholic Action to the needs and temper of England and of this Diocese in particular. This Committee will have power to co-opt other members' representatives of the various existing societies." — Mgr. Hinsley.
sanctification of its own members, though personal sanctification is its firm bedrock — at principle it is as wide and deep as the Church's Divine Mission; it aims at establishing and upholding the Kingdom of Christ in each soul, in each family and in Society at large, and its aim, its work, its influence extend to that vast number of souls who are outside the fold of Christ."
Mgr. Hinsley emphasised the importance of Women's Organisations. Through women, he said, man can be reached.
Second only to women's organisations, the Archbishop placed children's organisations which were to receive the National Board's closest attention.
Dr. O'Donovan, as the newly appointed lay president of Catholic Unity, was the next speaker. He moved the vote of thanks to the president, and said he knew that the hierarchy would not fail our expectations.
"We are all brothers and sisters in Catholic Unity and we wait willingly to hear and do what His Grace directs," he said. He appreciated the great responsibility on Mgr. Hinsley, and assured him of the trust that every Catholic felt in him.
A short informal discussion then took place following on Mgr. Hinsley's request for questions, during which Mgr. Hinsley spoke of the importance of this inaugural meeting of National activity. " What is done now must be done with the greatest care and exactitude." he said.
In answer to queries made concerning the Church's apparent attitude regarding Socialism, and of the seemingly paradoxical position of such Catholics who also profess to be socialists, the Archbishop said that the Church admits that there can be a Catholic Socialism and also a sort of Catholic Communism. Socialism is within the Church so long as it does not exclude God nor the rights that God gave man, so long as it is not the materialist teaching of Marx and Lenin and it does not deprive man of the fruits of ownership.
Mgr. Hinsley said that the doctrine of economic socialism, with reference to such principles as "The State shall be the sole capitalist, and 'communisation of the means of production' was quite possibly right."
In closing the meeting and formally passing the resolution. Mgr. Hinsley said:
" Never may I weary in my efforts to remedy the evil and the inequitable labour conditions that exist to-day.
" It is hard work being the Archbishop of Westminster, but I know I have your support."
Fear and suspicion
Cleaning Up Heads Of Foreign Propaganda
Since the Moscow trials a few months ago and the organising purging of alleged Trotskyism in every home fear both the part of the Government who see treachery in every back alley and of its people whose every action is regarded with suspicion.
Mass arrests and deportations have taken place in all the principal Soviet towns, writes Our Russian Correspondent. Thousands have been banished from Moscow, a larger number from Leningrad, Kiev and Kharkov. The number of people shot is said to be very considerable. Ezhov, the new commissar for the interior, is dealing with foreign Communists accused of slackness and inefficiency by the international commission, of which he is the head. Many Communists from abroad have been ordered to report to Moscow where they are tried, and if found guilty, sent to prisons outside Moscow, and there quietly "liquidated." In this way a group of 18 Polish Communists and several Ukrainians have been disposed of.
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