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Catholic loyalty and “the will of Jesus”

Pope Pius XII. Source: alchetron.com


By Lara Pickford-Gordon, lpgordon.camsel@rcpos.org

The longevity of the Catholic News as the communications’ medium for the Archdiocese and Church was a major concern of successive Archbishops who refused to let the paper fold despite the challenges. Beyond local shores, the continuance of the publication was encouraged by Pope Pius XII.

Archbishop Finbar Ryan. CN Archives.

Archbishop Finbar Ryan informed clergy in correspondence of November 6, 1948, that the paper came up in conversation during two audiences he had with the Pope. The reason for communicating with clergy was to rally their support for the Catholic News before the implementation of a price increase January 1949 because of mounting production cost.

“There is always danger at times of such changes that circulation may drop, and unfortunately people have little hesitation in meeting the raised price of secular papers and periodicals are inclined to make any increase of price an excuse for dropping their Catholic periodical.”

Pope Pius regarded the existence of a free Catholic press in the archdiocese as “a first-class priority”. The Archbishop related that on the occasions when he had the honour of being received officially by the Holy Father “He urged me, at every cost, the maintaining any Catholic paper we had”.

Pope Pius encouraged the use of “the printed word, the radio, the platform in order to keep our people aware of the teaching of the Church on all public questions and particularly aware of the directives of the Holy See”. Lectures and radio talks were also recommended. Archbishop Ryan stated, “The Catholic Evidence Guild has these in hand. I ask clergy to help this work also, particularly by urging their people to attend the lectures and to listen to broadcasts.”

Every Catholic and every priest, especially clergy with pastoral responsibility, were instructed they should accept the wish of the Holy Father as “expressions of the Will of Jesus Christ, and should do everything possible to implement it”.

He referred to the consistent messages coming from the Pope Pius XI and XII that “a Catholic ‘voice’ is a necessity, and we must not wait until some time of crisis to try to have it heard”.  The Archbishop stressed the importance of clergy taking an active interest in maintaining the Archdiocese Catholic papers.

He suggested ways of doing this, “by urging their people to buy them; by drawing attention to Papal and Archiepiscopal directives contained in them, by contributing material (particularly local information which can be summarised in the ‘Round the Archdiocese’ column”.

Clergy were advised to direct any constructive criticism which might lead to a more satisfying use of limited resources and suggestions to the Editor or Archbishop.

Archbishop Ryan states the voice from the pulpit is “essential” but this was largely reaching converts. He called for “extra-mural activities of the sects” to be combatted extra-murally. Clergy was asked to urge their parishioners not to stop buying the Catholic News because of the increased cost.

“Catholic loyalty demands this,” the Archbishop concluded his missive.

Source: Archdiocesan Archives Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Port of Spain.