Carl A. Mortenson grew up on a farm in Illinois. At 28, he is again working in the Illinois farm country, but not as one who, having put his hand to the plow, looks backward. For Mortenson’s life now revolves around one of the most forward-looking Christian enterprises of modern times: development of a compact aircraft specifically designed to meet the rigors of missionary use.
Electric toothbrushes and powered golf carts illustrate the vast range of man’s appropriation of technology for sheer human convenience. By contrast, there are invariably long delays in employing scientific advances for the furtherance of Christ’s Gospel. Some churchmen see this lag as one of the gravest indictments of contemporary Christianity. A key example is audio-visual equipment: only a smattering of the wide assortment now on the market has been adapted for use in Christian education.
Here and there, however, a devoted Christian catches the vision. In Quito, Ecuador, it is a group of technicians at missionary station HCJB who have been building and distributing pre-tuned radio receivers and have established the world’s first missionary television station. In Philadelphia, it was the late Percy Crawford, who pioneered Christian television. In Palo Alto, California, it has been Wil Rose, who runs a technical problem clinic for missionaries.
The late “Jungle Pilot” Nate Saint saw the need for a specially designed missionary aircraft a number of years ago: “There is no market in the U. S. for the type plane we need and consequently it isn’t built … so, we just bite our lips and go ahead with what is available.”
Mortenson, a short, brown-haired graduate of Moody Bible Institute’s missionary aviation course, picked up Saint’s challenge while serving in the jungles of Peru as a pilot-mechanic with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Almost all missionary aviators must now use light, single-engine planes, which provide little hope of survival if the power plant fails over jungle or water. But the risk involves not only missionary lives and a costly airplane: if skilled Bible translators are killed, years of research and experience are lost. A tribal generation could live and die before another trained team could achieve a similar experience level.
Mortenson might never have taken on the task of building a high-wing, twin-engine prototype had not an attack of bulbar polio threatened to end his missionary career. He used his convalescence to begin the work. His enthusiasm, moreover, caught fire with a handful of fellow Christians who set up Evangel-Air, Inc., an organization dedicated to seeing the prototype fly successfully. Dr. Paul M. Wright, head of the chemistry department at Wheaton College, is chairman of the board of directors.
The present phase of the project—development of the prototype—is the most costly. Once the bugs are worked out of this original plane, Mortenson expects little difficulty in getting an aircraft company to produce others like it. He expects that to build the plane and have it certified by the Federal Aviation Agency will cost $54,000. (By comparison, the Defense Department’s TFX will cost an estimated $6,000,000,000.) All of those dollars will come from donations; gifts thus far have ranged from $1 to $2,000.
So far, Mortenson has already given more than 5,000 hours of his own time to the project. The plane is taking shape in a 40- by 50-foot frame shop along a remote private air strip at Hampshire, Illinois. Mortenson, his wife, and their three children live in Wheaton. He drives 70 miles each day to and from the Hampshire shop, which he and former Boeing mechanic Fred Culpepper rent for $100 a month. Culpepper, a 25-year-old bachelor, works for $50 a month and is depleting his savings account to see the plane to completion.
If funds become available, the plane—to be known as the “Evangel 4500”—should be in the sky before the end of the summer. It will climb fully loaded to 30,000 feet, higher than any mountain in the world, and will be able to maintain 15,000 feet on one engine if turbo-superchargers are employed. Yet it is intended to take off normally in just 200 yards. Although its wing span is only 36 feet, the plane will carry six or eight persons or convert quickly to accommodate bulky cargo. The design blends power, ruggedness, compactness, and simplicity, with easy maintenance (e.g., a fixed landing gear). It will feature a high wing to clear obstructions on rough air strips.
Mortenson knows that missionary aviation has had an admirable safety record. “This is the Lord. By the law of averages we should have had losses.”
Mortenson did not say it, but the safety record may itself contribute to apathy even among missionary-minded Christians concerning the need for better equipment. Missionary pilots cannot always expect to escape tragedy if they continue to make single-engine airplanes do twin-engine duty. In the United States, where flying conditions are ideal, large corporations insist that their executives fly in multi-engine aircraft.
As Buffalo’s icy blasts melted into timid thunderstorms, the National Association of Evangelicals’ fast-moving 21st annual convention swept in a whirlwind of meetings through the Statler Hilton Hotel and sounded a trumpet of evangelical concern over contemporary trends. About 1,000 delegates attended, and capacity crowds greeted public sessions.
Its ecclesiastical continuance now taken for granted, the movement is reaching for developing maturity as an interdenominational force; it anticipates fewer financial pressures in the years ahead and aims to become, in President Robert A. Cook’s words, “a vigorous voice for practical evangelical activity and dynamic Christian unity.” Its leaders seem determined to arrive on fewer battlefields “after the issue is settled.”
Leaving no doubt of discontent over the National Council of Churches’ “intensified efforts to advance the ecumenical revolution at the grass roots level,” Dr. George L. Ford, executive director, characterized American Protestantism in terms of “trilemma” rather than “dilemma” and insisted that NAE would take a middle road between NCC’s “path of accommodation” and the American Council of Christian Churches’ “path of reaction.” Its national staff now settled in a functional headquarters building in Wheaton, Illinois, NAE sets “the full freedom of the Gospel as we preach it” over against “the forces of Communism, Catholicism, ecumenicity, and secularism.” Ecclesiastical optimism over the present ecumenical development was depicted as replaying liberalism’s past enchantment with inevitable world progress.
Hosting NAE for the second time, the Queen City of the Great Lakes showed its traditional welcome for Gospel causes. A generation before Billy Graham, Charles Finney and Billy Sunday had held successful crusades in Buffalo. Local evangelical clergy sponsor a vigorous Christian youth center, pioneer an influential pre-marital clinic, and in October will host the National Sunday School Association convention. Thus the evangelical community is able to wield an impact despite a large Roman Catholic population.
In expounding evangelical spiritual unity NAE spokesmen stress that “evangelicals are pioneers in Christian unity.” But the organization is self-conscious about its own organizational apparatus, particularly the danger that evangelical interest may thrive in many related commissions at the parent organization’s expense. Said one regional director, reflecting this need at the top for a strengthened image, “NSSA I know, NRB I know, EWA I know … but what is NAE?” The movement opposes centralized ecclesiastical controls over affiliated constituencies. But it is seeking to overcome excessive decentralization of staff.
Seeking “holy unity in amazing love,” NAE is sometimes pictured as a gelatinous group largely lacking a program of specific future objectives, but waiting for a divinely initiated breakthrough charting directional imperatives. Its thesis is that modernism is bankrupt, neoorthodoxy is groping, and evangelicals have the solution: not strategy, but power. Yet the movement seems to be asking: “Where and who is our prophet?”
The convention adopted strong resolutions on biblical authority, Communism, adult and juvenile delinquency, and race discrimination. Dr. Rufus Jones, second vice-president, called on evangelicals to practice the parable of the Good Samaritan in respect to race relations and declared that “if evangelicals had been preaching ‘the whole Bible’ it would not have been necessary to send troops into the Southland.”
The “Evangelical Layman of the Year” award was presented to Herbert J. Taylor of Chicago, former president of Rotary International. Resignation of Donald H. Gill as assistant secretary of public affairs was announced; he leaves to join International Christian Leadership.
The temper of representatives of evangelical liberal arts colleges toward federal aid was mainly softer than that of the convention generally. The Commission on Higher Education steered away from the issue, but was drawn into discussion by the Commission on Social Action. Educators did little to draw a consistent line between acceptable and unacceptable aid. They spoke rather of the atheistic consequences of complete church-state separation, of campus tax exemption as already an indirect form of federal aid, of the propriety of federal (scholarship) grants for educational purposes without a religious test in the choice of a school, and of the requirement that federal aid not interfere with the institutions’ independent judgment. There was stiffer opposition to federal aid for church-related schools at primary and secondary levels, where evangelicals have a lesser stake than Roman Catholics. The Resolutions Committee, which had referred the issue to the Education Commission, offered no resolution on federal aid to colleges, despite the association’s long history of opposition.
C. F. H. H.
A Code For Holiness
Some 435 spiritual descendants of John Wesley and Jacobus Arminius met in Chicago for three days in mid-April. Much of what happened at this year’s National Holiness Association convention had a traditional flavor. Amens and shouts of praise punctuated prayers and speeches. Speakers often used large voices and gestures to match. Seminars discussed camp meetings, the focus of the Holiness movement when it organized 95 years ago. And sermons amidst the plush rococo environs of the Morrison Hotel advocated the sober life and denial of worldly pleasures.
But the convention theme—“Charged to Communicate”—was an effort to relate this old-time religion to the space age. It was also a chance for introspection among Holiness groups, which do not always communicate to the outside world despite their vitality and superb records in giving and missions.
Chief communication remedies were perfection of Christian love toward unbelievers and an increased yielding to the Holy Spirit. While changes in technique were generally avoided, there was some feeling that traditional mass evangelism should give way to increased witnessing by individual laymen.
There was a ground swell toward more communication with groups outside the Holiness world. The spirit was not ecumenical, perhaps, but at least conciliatory. Dr. Kenneth Geiger, general superintendent of the United Missionary Church who is now entering his fourth year as NHA president, stated, “In defense of doctrine and our insistence on terminology and standards we have at times forgotten the higher law of love.” The Rev. G. B. Williamson, a leader in the Church of the Nazarene, found the interdenominational approach essential in the face of a population explosion which makes world evangelism more overwhelming every day.
A bishop of the Brethren in Christ, the Rev. Henry A. Ginder, noted a healthy trend toward more Bible teaching—a typical Calvinist emphasis—as opposed to mere Christian experience. And Dr. Leo Cox of Marion College, in summarizing a seminar, said, “Our people want to reach out, to find a place in the broader Christian movement, without surrendering their own message.”
This message is the necessity of a personal Pentecost subsequent to conversion, a crisis experience of the Holy Spirit’s power. Otherwise, NHA holds to fundamentalist theology, personal assurance of salvation, and missionary zeal. NHA represents 14 denominations (the largest: Salvation Army), individual members from other groups (including Methodists and Nazarenes), as well as 65 colleges.
NHA is interested in reviewing the content, as well as the method, of its communication. The Holiness movement is no longer mostly rural, and there is a growing awareness that concepts and terms which may have outlived their usefulness must be viewed objectively, perhaps modified or eliminated. “After two centuries, we still quote Wesley most of the time. We owe something to this generation,” said Dr. Paul Kindschi, NHA vice-president and a Wesleyan Methodist executive.
Thus, the most important decision at this year’s meeting was to schedule another meeting, in November of 1964. At this special study conference, selected scholars will review and codify common doctrines of Holiness groups for the first time. Observers from other theological camps—Calvinist, Pentecostal, and Keswick—will probably be invited. The study conference is being preceded by a series of NHA-sponsored campus seminars on doctrine. And this year’s convention saw the most auspicious group of Holiness leaders and scholars yet assembled.
Geiger emphasized that the 1964 conference is not a defense mechanism, nor did he think it would change basic Holiness doctrine. More likely, it will try to tighten up popular understanding on such topics as “sinless perfection,” which Geiger says was never a part of Wesleyan-Arminian teaching. Rather, the correct concept is “Christian perfection,” a recognition that believers can and should increasingly improve their lives. But only motives can be perfected, not performance. As Wesley said, “A man may be filled with pure love, and still be liable to mistakes.”
In official resolutions the convention found signs of decreasing American morality in “the massive volume of deceptive advertising,” “suppression or manipulation of news,” a breakdown in the decency of literature, and “cheapened and sadistic forms of entertainment,” as on TV. It supported efforts toward racial understanding, while implying disfavor of pressure tactics. In a seminar on Christian ethics, Dr. Richard Taylor of Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City (Mo.) added professional prize-fighting to the list of targets.
Convention seminars on doctrine took a temperate view toward divine healing and speaking in tongues, current phenomena elsewhere in Protestantism which have sometimes been stressed by Holiness groups.
Spiritually, the most stirring event was not a sermon or prayer, but a concert. Just as they left to sing for the convention, the Orpheus Choir of Olivet Nazarene College saw a tornado rip into the college’s Kankakee (Ill.) campus, causing an estimated $1,000,000 damage and injuring 47 students and faculty members. Yet the students still found the resources to sing boldly of their continuing trust in God and his deliverance of them in this life and the next.
Not the least of current controversies in Washington is one involving a proposed $66,000,000 complex of apartment and office buildings along the Potomac River. One argument is that the complex, called Watergate Towne, would dwarf important points of interest such as the proposed new National Cultural Center. A corollary argument is that in the projected location, an area adjacent to the Potomac River called Foggy Bottom, it would be obtrusive (the Washington waterfront is still free of tall buildings). The controversy took on religious significance, moreover, when it was disclosed that the developer of the project, Societe General Immobilaire of Rome, is partly owned by the Vatican. That disclosure gave rise to charges in some quarters that Pope John XXIII was behind a scheme to construct a Holy Roman Empire State Building in Washington.
The height of the complex is the focal point of the controversy. Watergate Towne sponsors want an easement of zoning restrictions from the 90-foot limit of “residential areas” to the 130 feet permitted for commercial areas.
Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State spoke up early. They suggested that favored treatment was being sought because the development firm was “Vatican controlled.” A letter-writing campaign inspired by POAU drew some 10,000 protests from all over the country.
Subsequently the project came under scrutiny of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, a cooperative Washington agency sponsored by several large Baptist denominations, which came up with different conclusions. Dr. C. Emanuel Carlson, executive director of the Baptist committee (and a member of POAU’s governing board), said his study could find no favoritism.
Carlson said the committee study was made solely for the purpose of being able to answer letters of inquiry. It nonetheless served to dispute the anxieties expressed by POAU.
This month’s issue of Church and State, official POAU periodical, does not refer to Carlson’s assertions specifically, but some observers see one article therein as an attempted rebuttal.
“Has there been preferred treatment for the Vatican in the Watergate Towne project?” the periodical asks. “Sources inside the officialdom responsible for zoning enforcement and easement have advised POAU of pressures being exerted there and of the need for publicity.”
The POAU publication declares “there is solid documentation for the claim that the Vatican has a controlling interest in Immobilaire.”
The Baptist committee study said its investigation showed that the Vatican owns only about 20 per cent of the stock in the Italian real estate firm. A spokesman for the committee explained that this figure came from a report on the firm that appeared in Time magazine.
Carlson listed a number of Washington buildings much nearer the Capitol that have been given special exemptions beyond the 130-foot limit. He added that in view of the $25 per square foot cost of the Watergate Towne land, high-rise apartments are financially necessary.
POAU countered that the government is not obligated to change zoning regulations in order to insure a profitable investment for a private group.
The Watergate Towne land is located about six-tenths of a mile from the 99-foot Lincoln Memorial.
Carlson concluded that churches in Washington are frequently involved in exceptions to the zoning laws, as evidenced by the 301-foot tower now being erected by the Washington Cathedral (Episcopal) and the 329-foot bell tower of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Roman Catholic).
The U. S. Supreme Court will review the conviction of ten white and Negro clergymen for unlawful assembly in the course of an anti-segregation demonstration in Tallahassee, Florida.
The group had come to Florida on a Freedom Ride sponsored by the Congress of Racial Equality.
The litigation dates back to June, 1961, when 18 northern clergymen arrived in Tallahassee by bus and proceeded to the air terminal. They found the terminal restaurant, which has separate facilities for whites and Negroes, closed. Eight of the group left on an afternoon plane, but the other ten stayed in the terminal waiting room until late evening.
Next morning they returned to the air terminal to find the restaurant still closed. They again canceled plane reservations minutes before take-off and remained in the waiting room. After they had canceled plane reservations a third time, police asked them to disperse or be charged with unlawful assembly. Upon refusal, the tenRabbi Martin Freedman of Congregation B’nai Jeshrun, Paterson, N. J.; Rabbi Israel S. Dressner of Temple Sharey Shalom, Springfield, N. J.; Dr. Robert McAfee Brown, professor of religion, Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.; the Rev. W. P. Collier, Jr., of Israel Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church, Newark, N. J.; the Rev. Ralph R. Roy of Grace Methodist Church, New York City; the Rev. Arthur L. Hardge of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, New Britain, Conn.; the Rev. A. McRaven Warner, a Disciples of Christ minister and a church council official in New York City; the Rev. Robert Stone of Adams-Parkhurst Memorial Presbyterian Church, New York City; the Rev. Wayne Hartmire of the Church of the Resurrection, New York City; and the Rev. P. D. McKinney of Garden Memorial Design Church, Springfield, Mass.—two Jewish rabbis and eight Protestant ministers—were arrested and convicted.
A Florida appellate court upheld the convictions, granting that any citizen has a right to “freely express his views and to seek to cultivate converts to them with a view of bringing moral or political pressures” but asserting that the clergymen had carried their cause to “unreasonable lengths imposing unreasonable burdens on others.” (The net effect of the last-minute cancellations was to deny seats to would-be travelers and to deprive the airline of ticket revenue.)
In appealing their conviction, the ten argue that their arrest and conviction violate the due process clause and the equal protection of laws clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the privilege and immunities clause of Article IV and the interstate commerce clause of Article I of the Constitution, and the Federal Aviation Act.
Bikini-clad coeds twisting on the beach at Fort Lauderdale last month might remind some of Salome’s dance. But a score of modern John-the-Baptists have no fear of losing their heads for taking issue with antics that have made the annual collegiate migration to Florida infamous as “Where the Boys Are.”
Most of the estimated 25,000 sun-seeking students who made the spring vacation trip this year couldn’t care less, one way or the other.
Twist and limbo contests don’t seem to excite them. Neither did the efforts of 20 students, members of an Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship team, to stage debates and discussion groups.
But the Inter-Varsity team found that the vacationing students will listen if buttonholed individually. Moreover, it proved to be a wholesome spiritual exercise for those on the team. All seemed to agree that their own faith had been strengthened.
Fort Lauderdale breathed a sigh of relief when the vacationing students left. They had behaved themselves well. Only a few arrests for minor disturbances were reported, a sharp contrast to riotous activity of previous years.
Some 250 miles north at Daytona Beach, where 30,000 additional students stretched out on the sand, a Christian group of 18 professional athletes and musicians also sought to bring a witness. The group, operating under auspices of the Methodist Board of Evangelism, was headed by Ed Beck, All-America captain of Kentucky’s 1958 basketball team, which won the national championship.
Each afternoon, the group drove up and down the beach in two trucks, stopping periodically to offer entertainment and talk to the students.
“Many students made definite commitments to Christ in individual conversations with group members,” said Beck.
Beck’s party included Chicago Bears quarterback Bill Wade, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Vernon Law, pop singer Tony Fontane, and the Rev. Malcolm Boyd, Episcopal chaplain at Wayne State University, Detroit.
The group presented two evening programs, one of which drew about 7,000 students.
The experiments have given rise to several theories:
—College students are not as wild as they have been pictured. They are lonely and are looking for something, but they are not sure what.
—They want authority they can respect. (They are anxious to believe in the Bible, for example, if they can be convinced it is historically reliable.)
—They listen to somebody with a name.
—They turn up their noses at second-rate performers. They walk off even from hootenannies or twist contests if performance is inferior.
—They are impressed to find anyone giving a Christian witness who is not paid to do it.
Among a number of those who led the witness, a stronger feeling developed that Christians must reach outsiders where they are.
A Tornado Strikes
A devastating tornado swept across the 100-acre campus of Olivet Nazarene College last month. Forty-seven students and faculty members were injured. Damage was estimated at $1,000,000.
Four buildings on the campus at Kankakee, Illinois, were declared a total loss. In addition, 57 house trailers occupied by students and their families were wrecked. The college administration building was badly damaged and rendered unusable until major repairs can be made.
College President Harold W. Reed, who was attending a pastors’ conference in Iowa when the tornado struck, said quick action by his administrative council enabled schedule readjustments with virtually no interruption in class meetings.
Reed voiced confidence that there was adequate insurance coverage to compensate for the loss. He said he was not yet able to give an official estimate of loss. Other reports said the damage easily totaled $1,000,000.
All but five of the injured were released from hospitals the following day. The tornado claimed the life of a young woman several blocks from the campus. A number of homes in the town of Kankakee were destroyed.
Reed said a class in the heavily damaged administration building had been dismissed just five minutes before the tornado struck. Had it hit 15 minutes later, he added, scores of students would have been in the dining hall.
The college, which has about 1,000 students, is affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene. It moved to its present campus in 1940. Previously the campus had been the site of a Roman Catholic college.
Richard Cardinal Cushing, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston, called for “serious efforts” by Roman Catholics for unity with the Eastern Orthodox.
In an address before the Boston College Theological Colloquium marking the Jesuit university’s 100th anniversary, Cushing asked forgiveness for Catholicism’s role in the events which led to the schism between East and West.
Subsequently in New York, Archbishop Iakovos, head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America, confirmed that he expects to enter “intimate discussions” on church unity with Cushing. He said in a television interview that he expected to receive permission to conduct the talks soon from Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras of Istanbul, supreme head of the Eastern Orthodox.
New Ground For Christ
Evangelist Billy Graham broke ground last month for a $400,000 pavilion to serve the spiritual needs of visitors to the 1964–1965 New York World’s Fair. He expressed hope that it will “make some small contribution in helping the world choose God and peace.”
The octagonal pavilion, designed by Edward Durell Stone, will include a theater with 500 seats for the showing of evangelistic films. Trained counselors will be on hand to talk with visitors.
There will also be a chapel to seat 150, plus counseling rooms, a lounge, and offices.
“Mr. Stone has spared no effort to make the pavilion an architectural jewel,” Graham observed. “In its presentation of biblical truth it will use every modern technique that science can provide.”
The pavilion is located on a 50,000-square-foot plot donated by fair sponsors. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will supply funds for construction and operation. Official estimate of building construction is $400,000, but a spokesman said the cost including operation may go as high as $1,000,000.
A constitution and bylaws formally establishing the Canada Section of the new Lutheran Church in America were approved last month by delegates from six Canadian provinces at an organizational meeting in Toronto.
The section comprises 125,000 communicants in 360 congregations.
Dr. Hugh Whitteker, pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, was elected president.
Observers saw the establishment of the section as a step which could lead to formation of a separate and autonomous Lutheran Church in Canada.
Construction of a $2,000,000 missionary radio center is under way on the Caribbean island of Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles. A complex of modern buildings will house transmitters, studios, and a chapel for a new radio station to be operated by Trans World Radio of Chatham, New Jersey.
Spokesmen say their 520,000-watt short wave transmitter, now being built, will be the most powerful in the world. They will also employ a 500,000-watt AM standard broadcast transmitter, which is expected to overshadow everything in the Western Hemisphere. Both are to be on the air before the end of the year.
Gospel programs will be beamed to target areas in Europe, Africa, Russia, the Americas, and the Near East, according to Trans World Radio spokesmen.
A More Excellent Way?
“Thanks to Williams, thanks to Vidler,” writes Monica Furlong in The Guardian of London, “thanks to the splendid litter of cockatrices they seem to be hatching so energetically in Cambridge and elsewhere, being a Christian is now intellectually more exhausting than it has been for years.” An organization which has never shrunk from intellectual discussion about the faith is the Student Christian Movement, serving those who “desire to understand the Christian faith and live the Christian life.” Even this mild yoke is lifted as a result of the decision by the movement to encourage non-Christians to become members.
Said Dr. Ambrose Reeves, SCM general secretary and former bishop of Johannesburg who fell foul of South African Prime Minister Hendrik F. Verwoerd: “What I want to see are Christion students sitting down with other students, grappling with problems that concern us all, and bringing Christian insights to bear upon them.” SCM denies any intention to drop the word “Christian” from its title.
In Praise Of Folly
An ultimatum from the Vatican to dismiss his housekeeper was being resisted last month by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Aberdeen, the Rt. Rev. Francis Walsh. In a statement to the Scottish press he said: “A man’s last court of appeal is his own conscience. That is Catholic doctrine. Whether I resign or not, I hope God will give me the grace to do what is right.” His housekeeper (who became a Roman Catholic eight years ago) is the divorced wife of a Church of Scotland minister.
The Catholic Herald denounced in the strongest terms “jealous, irresponsible and scandalous tongues within the Catholic community” and added: “At a time when Pope John is going out of his way to be ‘foolish’ in his attitudes to the Communists, one may be entitled to ask whether the folly of Bishop Walsh is perhaps after all, a holy folly. The saints and those who get things done in the Church are, almost invariably, the eccentrics in one way or another.” The bishop intends to appeal to the Pope.
Praising The Pope
What kind of global authority did Pope John XXIII have in mind when he penned the encyclical Pacem in Terris?
The pontiff was not specific when he suggested a worldwide “public authority” to guard the peace. Some observers, therefore, speculated that he wanted the Vatican to seek direct participation in United Nations activities.
But Vatican sources, replying to such a suggestion by a columnist of Paris-Jour, issued a denial. They said he was not thinking of strengthening the U. N. or giving it more or greater powers. Pope John, these sources added, actually meant creation of a totally new organization in some ways parallel to the U. N., but separate.
A number of Protestant and Jewish leaders commended the encyclical. Among them were President J. Irwin Miller of the National Council of Churches, Presiding Bishop Arthur Lichtenberger of the Protestant Episcopal Church, President Ben M. Herbster of the United Church of Christ, and Methodist Bishop John Wesley Lord.
Miller said Protestants “welcome the historic encyclical” and are “gratified at the growing areas of agreement among leaders and people of the Judeo-Christian heritage and of other religious faiths on basic matters affecting the peace of the world and the well-being of God’s whole human family.”
“We find remarkable similarities in this statement between Roman Catholic thought and that in our own constituency,” he added. “The encyclical parallels in many of its thrusts the policies developed through the years by the National Council from the perspective of Christian faith and ethics.”
Rabbi Julius Mark, president of the Synagogue Council of America, said the encyclical’s reference to religious liberty was “exceedingly refreshing.”
Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr noted that it “brings together the natural law of Catholic theology with the natural rights theories of modern liberalism.”
Said President Kennedy of the encyclical: “As a Catholic I am proud of it … as an American I have learned from it.”
In Rabat, Morocco, an official of the Secretariat of State for Information was fired after writing that his government should take the lead in implementing the pope’s advice.
Father John Courtney Murray, noted Jesuit theologian, says that in his encyclical Pope John has taken a stand against the deterministic view of history which dictates that men are shaped by events.
In the April 27 issue of America, Murray wrote that he thinks the pope “deeply understands the disastrous extent to which men today are gripped by the myth of history which the Marxists have so diligently inculcated.”
Two instances of the pope’s “full acceptance of modern progress,” Murray noted, were his affirmation of the quality of women and his “strong insistence on racial equality.”
“In the past, papal pronouncements on political and social order have always suspended … from three great words—truth, justice, and charity,” he added. In Pacem in Terris, he declared, a fourth word has been added—freedom.
Fernando Vangioni, one of Latin America’s leading evangelists, began a preaching tour May 1 in the Galicia region of northwest Spain. He will also conduct meetings for six days in Madrid and ten days in Barcelona.
Because of a legal ban on the use of public buildings and advertising, knowledge of the meetings must be spread by word of mouth. Both cities have evangelical churches seating 1,200 to 1,500.
Vangioni, of Buenos Aires, is now an associate evangelist on the Billy Graham team. Meanwhile, Graham and his party will devote their evangelistic efforts this month to key cities in France.
On May 12 the Paris Crusade opens and will continue for eight days in a large tent at Porte Maillot, a site just a few minutes’ walk from the central attractions of the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées.
During this period a week-long series of meetings will begin in other cities under the leadership of Graham’s assistants: in Toulouse, the Rev. Eugene Boyer, well-known French-speaking American evangelist; in Nancy, associate evangelist T. W. Wilson; in Mulhouse, associate evangelist Grady Wilson; in Douai, heart of the coal-mining region north of Paris, associate evangelist Roy Gustafson; in Lyon, at the new Sports Palace, associate evangelist Leighton Ford. Graham will make one-night speaking appearances at some of these meetings.
Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy announced last month that the United States is granting asylum to about 250 men, women and children, members of the Old Believers, a Russian Orthodox sect, now living in the Lake Manyas area of Turkey.
The group is believed to comprise the last descendants of a band of some 5,000 Old Believers who split from the Russian Orthodox Church in the seventeenth century over a religious dispute and migrated to Turkey.
Transportation for the Old Believers was arranged by the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration.
Members have been under constant pressure from Russia to return to the U.S.S.R. since 1959, Kennedy pointed out. An estimated 1,000 Old Believers returned to Russia last September, while some have gone to Brazil.
Kennedy said the “Soviet pressures on those remaining to join the first group intensified and the morale of this small group is declining. Immediate action is required to prevent its complete demoralization.”
He said he was extremely pleased that “this study group of pilgrims will come to our shores.”
Farmers and fishermen, the group will come to America under auspices of Tolstoy Foundation of New York, headed by Countess Alexandra L. Tolstoy, daughter of the famous Russian author.
An amendment to the Somali Republic’s constitution which makes it illegal “to spread or propagandize any religions other than the true religion of Islam” was scheduled to go into effect this month with its ratification by the National Assembly.
In New York, Dr. Ahmed Darman, consul at the Somali Mission to the United Nations, said Article 29, dealing with freedom of religion, was amended to underscore Islam as the state religion and not to impinge on the internal activities of other religions.
He said followers of other faiths may carry on their activities “in their own communities,” but may not proselytize among Moslems. He also noted that only the Islam religion is taught in state schools.
The amended Article 29 reads: “Every person shall have the right to freedom of conscience and to profess freely his own religion and to practice its rites, subject to any limitations prescribed by law for the purpose of safeguarding morality, health and public security.
“However, it shall not be permissible to spread or propagandize any religions other than the true religion of Islam.”
The religious freedom issue was highlighted in the Somali Republic last year when Merlin Grove, 33, a Mennonite missionary from Canada, was slain by a Moslem fanatic as he was engaged in reopening a mission school. His wife, Mary, also was stabbed but survived.
Police said the assailant felt that the mission presented a threat to his religion.
Proponents of the amendment said the article’s previous wording concerning the state religion “appeared to be obscure” and called for “a more lucid and accurate restatement of that article lest it lend itself to misinterpretation and misapplication.” They said they considered that “Islam is the supreme Constitution God has created for the whole world.”
The amendment had been approved by the National Assembly last January by acclamation, and was to be ratified following a three-month waiting period.
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