Founded in 1840
Voi. 223 No. 6740
26 July 1969
One shilling end sixpence
One Giant Leap for Mankind ; Pornography On Trial ; Turmoil Again in Northern Ireland 72!) PARLIAMENT
John Biggs-Davison, M.P. 731 BRITAIN’S NEW DIPLOMACY
PREPARING FOR THE POPE IN AFRICA
A Special Correspondent 733 THE RELEVANCE OF CARDINAL SUENENS
Karl Rahner, S.J.
FROM OUR NOTEBOOK
THE LIVING SPIRIT
THE ARTS :
Mary Crozier; Maryvonne Butcher ................ 746 BOOKS:
David Johnson; Robert Speaight ; Oscar Morland ; James Spence ; Christopher Hollis ; Winefride Wilson ; Gillian Avery ; Peregrine Walker . . 741 LETTERS 745 THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD :
Papal Message Taken by Apollo 11 Astronauts and Left on the Moon ; ‘ L’Osservatore Romano ’ Speculates About Man Meeting Life on Other Planets ; Cardinal Wyszynski Explains his Conception of a Special PostConciliar Road for Poland ; Four - day Soviet - style Ecumenical Conference 747 ECUMENISTS AT HEYTHROP 749 NO END IN SIGHT: THE TRAGEDY OF THE HOMELESS
John Howes ...
THE LAY MISSIONARY
Mary Cavanagh ................ 751
ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND
“ I AM GOING to step off the LM (Lunar Module) now. That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The world held its breath as it heard these words coming from thp moon and as hundreds of millions of television screens showed the shadowy figure of Neil Armstrong a good quarter of a million miles away. Admiration for the cool courage of these three astronauts far outstrips any appreciation of the technical achievements of the flight— so technical that they can hardly be understood by ordinary mortals. There was a spiritual quality in all who witnessed it that reacted spontaneously to something of the highest order in these their fellow men. How petty seemed the ordinary news of the world as it followed the televised reports of their exploit!
The Pope was right to warn us against the idolatry of the instruments of technical progress. “ But,” he also said, “ this very bold enterprise obliges us to look on high, beyond the earthly field, to remember the immense and the serious reality in which our little life unfolds. This new discovery of created life is very important for our spiritual life. To see God in the world and the world in God, what is more exciting ? Is it not thus that we escape the terror of the void that unmeasured time and unconfined space produce around a microcosm that is us ? ” To the astronauts themselves, he had this to say: ‘‘ Honour, greetings and blessings to you, conquerors of the moon,
pale light of our nights and of our dreams. Carry to it with your lively presence the voice of the spirit, thé hymn to God our Creator and our Father. We are near you with our vows and with our prayers.”
So far as the specialists are concerned, as theology becomes less and less anthropomorphic and science more speculative and humbly agnostic about its limits, we hear less of their conflict and have to invent new words like coinherence. For the ordinary man the fantastic achievements of modern science are bringing back that sense of wonder which he lost in nineteenthcentury materialism and which is at the heart of all religion. Science is an unending quest, and people are already asking where we go from here.
. . . All experience is an arch wherethro’ Gleams that untravell’d world,
whose margin fades For ever and for ever when 1 move The solitary mystics and ascetics of another age are often depicted in contemplation of the white roundness of a human skull, a memento mori. In no way did it disturb their hope in the resurrection: it stood for the transitory nature of life on earth. So—now that we have made the moon our own, so to speak—we may all look on this bare white ball of dust and solidified lava, or whatever it may be, and see it as our own world will be at the end of our time : the remainder of death and symbol of our resurrection.
PORNOGRAPHY ON TRIAL A WORKING PARTY convened by the Arts Council of Great Britain has proposed that the Obscene Publications Acts and sections of the Theatres Act should be repealed for a trial period of five years. During this time there would be, in effect, no legal control of obscenity or pornography in this country. The reason for advocating this course, given by the Report, is that “ The laws against obscenity, which constitute a danger to the innocent private individual, provide no serious benefit to the public. The basic problem of founding a law that can be accepted on so subjective a concept as obscenity appears to be insuperable. Any formula of definition must be doomed to beg the question, so there can be little hope of formulating alternative legislation with more than peripheral improvements.”
reality than the difficulty of defining death (which now preoccupies the medical profession) does away with dying. Our objection to this Report is that it loses itself in sophistries and special pleading, is based on no ascertainable principles or code and is evading social evils, which should be self-evident.
That there are defects in our laws is readily admitted. Nobody would suggest that they are perfect, but that is only a small part of the story. It is surely outrageous to suggest that just because occasional illogicalities and inconsistencies may be found in the application of our law (which might hypothetically affect an “ innocent private individual ” suspected of pornographic activities), we should therefore abandon it altogether and advocate total licence. It would be just as outrageous if the State imposed a total censorship and the narrowest of restrictions on creative
The difficulty of defining what is obscene- no more does away with its