The Hampstead Catholic Federation. 1912

The Tablet Page 13, 23rd March 1912

The Hampstead Catholic Federation.


The fourth general meeting of the Hampstead Branch of the Catholic Federation was held in the Hampstead Town Hall on Thursday in last week, the President, Reginald O’Bryen, Esq., in the chair. Among those on the platform were the Very Rev. Lewis Thomson, 0.P., Prior of St. Dominic’s, Haverstock Hill, the Very Rev. Charles Nicholson, S.J., the Very Rev. Canon Sutcliffe, the Very Rev. J. P. Bannin, the Revv. F. Henry, G. Keating, S.J., Oswald Thornton, 0.P., Wulstan McCuskern, 0.P., and Fitzgerald ; Mr. Lister Drummond, K.S.G., Alderman J. W. Gilbert, K.S.G., Councillors E. A. O’Bryen and H. W. Snow, Messrs. J. M. McCarthy Barry, A. E. Winstanley, E. Crowe, H. C. John, C. J. Munich, K.S.G., T. E. Lescher, J. B. Lamb, C. V. Whitgreave, E. J. Bellord, G. H. White, C. Moore, and E. W. Sweeny.

The CHAIRMAN drew the lesson of the need of organisation from the various effective organisations of the country ; it was necessary to be well organised before the crisis arose. He called upon Monsignor Grosch to deliver his address.

MONSIGNOR GROSCH began by saying that the duties of every member of the community to the community at large, which were recognised, at least as a general principle, by all, were especially incumbent on Catholics, who recognised as part of their religion the State’s sphere of work and who best understood the full significance of temporal matters. In matters of common interest they could best foster the interests of Christian truth, which must govern society, if it was to attain the end God destined for it. True progress could never be separated from justice and honour. Catholic principle could never be in opposition to laws fundamentally just, nor to those of equal application to all and not in favour of a particular party. It was not difficult to imagine a leader quite unwilling to do injustice, but doing it, nevertheless, in ignorance, owing to the absence of those who ought to have been at hand to prevent him. What was wanted was well informed Catholic men, who had obtained credit from their fellow citizens, who were interested in what affected the public, and who were able to show that the ideas held by the mass regarding Catholicism were absolutely false, men who could get it known that Catholicism, apart from its spiritual character, was a broad human policy, with its foundations deep in those truths which must govern men’s actions, men who could show that Catholicism made for safety and the welfare of the people, because it was founded on authority. Before Catholics could teach these truths they must know them themselves. He pointed out how many of the ” red-hot ” questions of the moment had been dealt with in the utterances of Pope Leo XIII., such as the position of the working classes, the evils of modern society, the duties of Christians and Catholics as citizens, the true meaning of human liberty, its limit and extent, the true teaching with regard to Christian marriage. The well-informed Catholic was well equipped to face the pernicious principles of the present day, and of enormous use in opposing anti-Catholic action and in obtaining equality for all religions. The Catholic citizen ought to be able to stand before the public and tell them that the day of Catholic disabilities was past never to return. Catholics should see to it that no change was made in the Education Act, which gave at least a measure of justice, that no Act was passed except such as should remove the last trace of unfairness, and secure equal treatment for every child in the State alike. Catholic men, yes, and Catholic women too, must study and master their position and should be able to show that their demands were just and reasonable ; should be able to appeal to that sense of justice and fairness their fellow-countrymen possessed and would give them the benefit of, if Catholics were always interested in public matters, that is, did their duty as citizens. If Catholics demonstrated that they were willing to labour, they stood to get a sympathetic hearing. Their fellowcountrymen must be made to understand that in matters affecting Catholic principle there was no dissension or indifference on the part of Catholics ; they were absolutely and uncompromisingly one. Nor should they be seen to seek Catholic interests only, but should show they sought to rouse the sense of moral justice in their fellow citizens. Monsignor Grosch then spoke of the importance of having Catholic members of the House of Commons. Thirty years ago there was one member, for a ” pocket borough ” ; now there were ten representing their Catholic fellow-citizens. Was that the limit of their possibilities? Formerly there had been some excuse. The position had been reserved for those who had leisure and means. Now the position was no longer reserved for such £400 a year was paid from public funds. They thankfully acknowledged that Catholic interests had been guarded by the Irish Party in Parliament. (Applause.) How long would they be dependent on these? Catholic members should be found, and could, he believed, he found, if Catholics all did their duty as citizens. Again, the representatives of Labour had recently made rather a large figure in the House, he asked who could more suitably represent Labour than the Catholic working-man. Brains and public spirit were surely not the monopoly of Protestants or of unbelievers. Why was not a single member of the Cabinet a Catholic? Whether the Government were Liberal or Conservative the importance of the Catholic body necessitated a Catholic member. As to the Board of Education, he asserted that if they had had a Catholic President of the Board there would now no longer be an education question, because justice would have been done all round.

The VERY REV. J. P. BANNIN, in a brief speech, referred to the excellent work Catholic laymen were already dding, and agreed with Monsignor Grosch in preferring laymen for work on public bodies, as there was often a prejudice against “the cloth.” ALDERMAN GILBERT called attention to a sad reflection about the existing strike. In the struggle going on between employers and employed there was no religious body that could influence the strife one way or another. He bore testimony to the welcome given to Catholics in public life, if they were willing to take a generous share of work. He advocated being forewarned and forearmed in view of the possibility of a new Education Bill. If only they worked together and stood together in defence of their Catholic schools they, as true citizens, would have no fear of a Bill in 1913 nor fear for many years to come. MR. LISTER DRUMMOND pointed to the lack of Catholic organisation in France and Portugal as ‘an object lesson to Catholics in England. An excellent programme of music was rendered during the evening.

The PRIOR OF Sr. DOMINIC’S proposed, and MR. COUNCILLOR O’BRYEN seconded, a vote of thanks to Mgr. Grosch for his address, This and similar votes to the other speakers, and to the performers, were carried unanimously.

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