HOLY TERROR?

During the WCC’s Uppsala meetings two years ago there was a remarkable exchange between a priest and a journalist, both from Catholic Ireland.

Journalist: “How are things going over in the assembly hall, Father?”

Priest: “Lousy, thanks be to God.”

Given that viewpoint, the same cleric doubtless hailed with gratitude the news that the WCC had spent $20,000 of non-Catholic Christian money on sponsoring last spring’s Beirut dialogue with Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists.

I wish he were available for comment on the council’s latest attempt to prove itself meaningful in a changing world. The executive committee has allocated ten times the Beirut sum to anti-apartheid groups, including guerrilla organizations in Africa. The grants, says a spokesman ingenuously, are intended to “strengthen the organizational capacity of racially oppressed people.” Whatever these woolly words mean, it seems clear that the council will have no control over the way its money is spent.

Apartheid is one of many evils that disfigure this fallen world, but such a method of countering white African oppression not only implies a tidy degree of allrightness in the major part of the continent where black rules black, but conveniently diverts attention from other areas of man’s inhumanity to man. When, for example, did the Geneva-based champions of human rights venture an outraged squeak against the inexorable persecution of Russia’s Protestants?

With such a capacity for selective indignation, it is not surprising that the WCC has been losing both momentum and credibility, and not surprising that it should wish to create a diversion. Its straits must nevertheless have been more desperate than we thought for it to identify with partisans whose political ...

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