Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 21, No. 4. April 23, 1958
—Typographical errors aside, "Salient" has made me flinch three times in recent weeks. The first time was Mr. Kelliher's editorial expressing quiet joy at the arithmetical increase of Catholicism in New Zealand. The second was Mr. Bollinger's reply, which, apart from displaying the incipient Bolshevism we have come to associate with Mr. Bollinger, implied that the increase is a dirty trick on the part of Catholics who won't play fair by using contraceptives. The third was another editorial by Mr. Kelliher imploring all "balanced Christians" to base their faith upon "the testimony of history" and "the discoveries of archaeological expeditions".
May I ask Mr. Kelliher whether Christ instructed his apostles to base their campaigns on vital statistics? Or were they imbued with a less arid doctrine? It is beside the point to argue, as Mr. Bollinger argues, that the Catholic increase is due to birth control among Protestants and an adverse balance of trade in immigrants. A more appropriate comment would be to assert the good fortune of Catholicism in increasing when it has such poor advocates as Mr. Kelliher. Why doesn't Mr. Kelliher chuck his census report under the copper and remember the existence of sceptical students who must by now have classified him as a backward child? He might then draw more responsible and helpful comment than that offered by Mr. Bollinger, for whom contraception is clearly an unqualified boon.
Mr. Kelliher also tells us we should subscribe what he calls a "rational faith", based on historical and archaeological proofs, for the "leap in the dark". Bat has he as sure a grasp of these proofs as he makes uot? If he has not investigated the proofs at first-hand, as I believe he has not, then he must have received them at second-hand from a book. Any reputable historian will tell you that to do such a thing is in only a very limited way rational—is, as Mr. Kelliher himself might say, a "leap in the dark". Moreover, if Mr. Kelliher is to decry simple faith and silent prayer and to advance a grasp of history and archaeology as a prerequisite for "balanced Christianity", then he has to wipe half the Christian saints off the calendar. Can we expect this in the next issue?
—A. J. MacLeod