()pen Letter to a Journalist
Dear Miss Hilde Merchant,— '" HEAR that you have complained of the
murmurs of sympathy expressed by those who saw broken German prisnners being taken through Newhaven. May I suggest to you that those spontaneous murmurs of sympathy naturally evoked in the hearts of ordinary people when they see their brothers—yes, brothers—broken and mutilated by war stand between our world and damnation? The ordinary people, thank God, still have reasons of the heart, which the mind may know little of. Their heart tells them that it is not the ordinary soldiers and sailors — even of the officer class—who make war and inspire this deadly and damned hatred between man and man. They know that even if German soldiers echo hatred—as you, a woman, a journalist, a person with a mission and a responsibility, do—it is because they have become the helpless victims of mass propaganda, spread by your opposite numbers in Germany and now spat back by you. You, a woman, are apparently doing your best to kill that spontaneous love, that charity, between man and man and woman anal woman. Should you succeed, you will effect the final damnation of our generation. But you will not succeed, for the ordinary people, who are wiser than politicians and journalism will not allow you to turn them from human beings into monsters.
Yours, etc., THE lours.
Broadcast from Cotton
THE Archbishop of Birmingham gave his B.B.C. broadcast last Friday in the chapel of Cotton College, Cotton College is the Archbishop's Alrna Maier and it was here that he was Headmaster for many years up to his election to the See of Birmingham. Cotton stands many feet above sea-level in a beautiful sequestered spot, with one of the loveliest valleys in the country leading from the North Staffordshire hamlet of Oakamoor. It was in this valley that Faber found so much of his inspiration. The chapel from which the Archbishop spoke during a service. is regarded as a gem of Pugin's art. The difficulty of finding suitable places from which to broadcast services is real. I know one Bishop who would be heard oftener if his diocese contained a church or chapel with a choir that reached the required standard.
I HEAR from America that the lay Catholics ot Haiti have begun an antisuperstition campaign, and that it has received the strong support of the Bishops and clergy. Superstitious practices arc described as the bane of the existence of the Church in Haiti. This would be an exaggeration if applied to western countries, including this one, but even here there may be room for an " anti-superstition " society, of which I would nominate Donald Attwater as the president.
A City Ghost
WHEN I saw in the Times a photograph of the ruins to which the Anglican church known as All-Hallows-by-the-Tower has been reduced and recallocl the story that it was haunted by a little old lady in black, I wondered what had become of the ghost. Arc bombs as dangerous to spooks as they are to mortals? The story in question, by the way, is supported by numerous witnesses, and among them a friend of mine, who declares that, while still ignorant of the church's reputation as a haunted place. during a visit to the, church he distinctly saw a figure resembling
the one which features in the story. Its spookish character was attested, he avers, by the fact that it suddenly and unaccountably disappeared under his very eyes
Sunk's the Word!
I HAVE seen a criticism of the allegedly 1 inadequate lack of remuneration given by Catholic publishers to their writers. There may be cases where the standard is too easily set by the willingness of Catholic writers to work for the love of God, but they are rare. The real truth is that for the most part Catholic publishing (like Catholic journalism) is a pool commercial proposition. We are up against costs set by big business which prospers because of its size and its popular (and too often vulgar) appeal. In publishing for example, a 75, 6d. book is sold to bookseller or wholesaler for only 5s. or 4s. 6d. The cost of publication is about 2s. 6d. a copy. What is left has to provide the writer with his share, pay for advertising and overheads and allow some profit to the publisher. Commercial publishers live on their " bestsellers " and their stable library trade. Catholic publishers have no such luck, The public would be surprised if it knew the amount ot capital that has been sunk in Catholic publishing and journalism. Sunk's the word I
A Brave Bishop
THE following story is told of Mgr. Du Parc, the 85-year-old' Bishop of Quimper in Britanny, who died last November. After the armistice the Bishop went to the German authorities, who had requisitioned his palace and rated them severely for their encouragement of the Breton separatist movement, The Nazis were furious. " 'You seem to forget," they said, " that you have been defeated." " You will forgive me," said the Bishop, " but as long as England fights, we are not defeated." Scarlet with fury, one of the Nazis drew out his revolver. The Bishop went on unmoved, " I have done my duty. Now do yours." The guard led him away and he was kept for weeks under house arrest.
BY disposition a sceptic in matters of human testimony, especially in war-time, I do not easily believe all I hear. But I pass on with confidence the impression I recently got from a conversation with a man who is in a position to know about as much as anyone about opinion on the Continent. Moreover I can thoroughly trust him only to report what he himself believes after careful study. This information is that there really has been a very marked change of opinion in recent months, that the vast majority are now really looking to this country for deliverance and that any scrap of news coming from us is eagerly lapped up. This applies especially to the Scandinavian countries, to Holland and Belgium and to Occupied France. The apparent certainty of a German victory, as well as German attempts to make a good showing, especially in economic matters, did once induce a sort of feeling of fatalism. Also Britain was not always as popular as she thought herself. But the new order means nothing to-day, now that Germany has her hands full and Britain has grown infinitely stronger. As a consequence, whilst we, a few months ago, were bolstering ourselves up on slender hopes —just as we thought the Atlantic Battle was going better than it was—to-day our hopes are really corning true. Hitler was never more right than when he demanded a short war.
Pleasant for Journalists
GENERAL de Gaulle showed great tact in his conduct of the luncheon which he gave to the Allied press representatives in London. As he was host, it was understood that he would speak, but his was the only speech. This had been translated into English (for the General is still shy of speaking our language), and handed to the press so that the function was not in the least a busman's holiday for hard-working editors and reporters, but a pleasant social function, with an excellent Savoy lunch. The English text was, indeed, a scrupulous translation of the General's address, and it was obvious that he had memorised the whole thing. What a good memory he has
Canonized in his Life-time
/k QUESTION that would baffle most people was put in Question Time on the Irish radio recently:
" Who was the only Saint who was canonized during his lifetime'?
"The team present to answer posers was unable to solve this perfectly fair problem. One falteringly suggested Saint Augustine, another Saint Peter, although their tones showed that they were making unconvincing guesses. We listeners wondered if the answer would be that some great soul had such a repute for sanctity in his living days, that he was popularly called saint; but that, after all, would apply to many. When was young, they called me beautiful,' said Santa Teresa, d and I was foolish enough to believe them. Now they tell me that I am a saint, and I pay them no heed.' " There was no trick, no forcing of history, in the right answer. when the questionmaster gave it. Here it is:— orattu, arranged aug,
A Stupid Misprint
WHEN I opened Dr. Nathaniel Micklem's new book, The Theology of Politics, the first sentence I saw began: " A famous encyclical of Pope Pius VI ; Casti Connub?! . ."; and " Pius 'VI,'" appears again in the index. People in glass-houses, 1 admit, should not throw stones, but newspapers are not the same as Oxford University Press books. It is, of course, obvious that it is a misprint, for the author states that in a sentence in the Encyclical the Pope does not speak with his usual clarity. He would scarcely claim such intimate knowledge of the writings of a Pope, who, by the (Continued at foot of next column.) way, treated the French revolutionaries with much the same severity as Pius XI treated the Nazis and the Bolsheviks.
Yet Another Angle
THE world becomes more and more complex. I pick up a broadsheet called Socialist Appeal, and the first thing I see is a series of twenty-four portraits with the headline : " Lenin's General Staff of 1917 ; Stalin the Executioner Alma Remains." Under it we read:— Stalin and the bureaucracy have not stopped at " weakening its authority." They have annihilated it, and with it the programme of international Socialism for which it stood. It is to this that we can trace the terrible defeats which, despite the heroism of the Russian workers and soldiers, the Red Army is suffering to-day. Only the restoration of the methods of Lenin and Trotsky can save the Soviet Union from total destruction at the hands of international imperialism, either of Germany or the " allies "—Anglo-American imperialism. It is, of course, a Trotskyite production, and its thesis is that Stalin is selling Russia and the revolution to Messrs. Churchill and Roosevelt.