The Purpose of Catholic Action
From the Irish Independent, October 25th, 1937:
Marriage Not Slavery
“Ireland is very favourably situated from many points of view. There is no limit to the full unfettered Catholic life, but there are certain fields far from perfection,” said Most Rev. Dr. Browne, Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh, lecturing on “The Purpose of Catholic Action,” under the auspices of the Aquinas Study Circle at the Dominican Convent, Taylor’s Hill, Galway, yesterday.
The first thing confronting the boy or girl leaving school was to earn a livelihood that would give him or her a sufficient wage and security against sickness or unemployment.
“It is a fact that under present conditions a great number of people are deprived of security and sufficiency. It is this that makes the question so perplexing. These boys and girls are often told that socialism is the only thing that will give them sufficiency and security, and we Catholics must show them that Socialism is not the remedy but only makes matters worse.
“We must also do something to bring the Catholic theory into the realm of fact. We must try to solve the labour question in our community. Who can do that? Only the laity themselves, the employers and the employed. They are living in a Christian environment, bound by the laws of justice and charity, and they can do it by working together as Catholics to provide the fullest measure of employment under the best conditions of security and sufficiency.”
Dealing with the Catholic idea of marriage, Most Rev. Dr. Browne said that to-day this was attacked from every side by advocates of free love, divorce and birth control.
Married women were represented as living under a form of slavery, and he was afraid that even Catholic women sometimes accepted that view.
They should remember that the Catholic doctrine was the only doctrine that secured honour and dignity for women.
“If young men cannot get jobs and if women leave to work outside the home, if child-bearing is dangerous, and if all the odds are against the Catholic ideal, how can we expect that ideal to be observed by the majority or ordinary human beings? There is a great danger that to-day, because of Protestant propaganda, our young women do not value wifehood and motherhood.”
Regarding education, he said that every system from Fascism to Communism aimed to get hold of the youth, not for their own good, but for some ulterior motive.
“The Catholic Church seeks the happiness of youth, and it desires to give them the most precious things in human life — truth and virtue.
“The system of Catholic education secures the full and harmonious development of the spiritual, moral, physical, and mental powers of man, and it requires the understanding co-operation of parents, teachers, and children.”
The Church was concerned with condition of the people. She was concerned with seeing that men got a living wage, because that helped to make them better Christians. It was the laity who could bring about the necessary reform because the laity were in the factory, in the shop, and in the trade unions, and they could get the Catholic viewpoint across and respected. Catholic Action had definite and precise objectives and was concerned with the social fabric and the conditions of life. Ninety-five per cent. of our loyal Catholic people, with ordinary gifts and intelligence, were capable of building up fine Catholic homes if they got a chance.
A note of thanks proposed by Rev. J. O’Donoghue, C.C, College House, Galway, seconded by Prof. P. Larkin, Professor of Education, U.C.G., was passed.
His Lordship was received by Rev. R.J. Roche, O.P., S.T.L., Galway, Director of the Study Circle; the Mother Prioress and nuns, and Rev. E. Doolan, O.P., S.T.L., St. Mary’s, Tallaght, who represented Very Rev. Father Provincial, and who presided.
Many clergy, teaching Brothers, the staff of U.C.G., representatives of Primary and Secondary teachers, the Gaelic League, the Irish Theatre, Galway County and Urban Councils, the Board of Health, Co. Education Committee, Galway Harbour Commissioners, Galway Chamber of Commerce, and Army officers were among the attendance.