Running Up a Church
THE heat wave which laid so
halting and panting a hand on so many. failed to deter Fr. Baker, our neighbour in High Wycombe. who accepted a challenge from one of his parishioners to run from Micklefield to Crendon Street (about two miles). clocked 11 minis. 30 secs., and won. Now he in his turn has challenged any other clergyman, professional man. or any member of local Police Force, to meet him over the same route. loser to pay SI to St. Augustine's Building Fund. lis one way of running up a building fund.
The Bible I WONDER how many of the laity are familiar with the work of the Catholic Biblical Association, incidentally, open to Catholics and nonCatholics. I confess that, although I was aware of its existence, I did not know, until presented with its prospectus, just how valuable a plan it had worked out for itself. It has L lending library. and more important. is preparing a one-volume commentary on the whole Bible to be entitled A Catholic Conunentary on
Holy Scripture. it is also working out a plan ror the organising of studies for parochial groups. Like all people engaged on really important work. the members of the association need money. Membership of this august body. whose executive committee includes most of our outstanding biblical scholars. only costs forty woodbines (5s. !) The secretary and treasurer is the Rev. Denys Lucas, St, Edmund's College, Old Hall, Ware. Herts.
Heat-wave Thriller R ECLINING on Hampstead ' Heath. the other day, absorbing the sun and Mr. Peter Lunn's new thriller, Evil In High Places (Methuen. 9s. 6d.), I felt I was getting the best of both worlds. For once a thriller was really, and pleasantly, chilling. Mr. Lunn had been far-sighted enough to set his tale in the Swiss Alps, in winter. I could think of no better atmosphere for a London heat-wave reader. It had many. of the old ingredients, but these were given new twists— black magic, revenge, thwarted love, secret marriages, a new detective, whom I hope we'll meet again, and a logic truly Lunn-like in its relentlessness. I don't think anyone will pick out the killer until a few pages before he is exposed; hut the logic is such that I beat the detective to it by a short paragraph. It could not be anyone else.
For Belloc THE member of our staff who takes
a gloomy view of those of the younger. generation of Catholics who seem woefully ignorant of the works of the "great Haile" was not alone in being pleased to hear • that one American admirer had marked his appreciation by leaving the master " a fortune of some
thousands of pounds. It is good that great men. really great men, should receive some mark of appreciation in their lifetimes: and Belloc, historian. poet, novelist, journalist. essayist, apologist—one of the greatest stylists in the language— is a truly great man; one sometimes fears that in his shadow his successors in the field of Catholic letters shrink to pigmies.
Taxi, Sir ?
A NEW method of transporting " far-distant parishioners to Sunday Mass has been started in the
country parish . of Tarporley,
Cheshire I hear. Knowing that there were Catholic families living miles from church, well off any bus route, and unable ever to get to Sunday Mass, it was decided something must be done. An the absence of car-owning parishioners able to take on transport duties, someone suggested invoking the aid of local taxi firms. Result—through the helpful co-operation of three non-Catholic taxi-drivers from different villages, 16 Catholics (including children) are now able to get to Sunday Mass at least fortnightly. Expenses are borne by certain parishioners in gratitude for the great blessing of living near the church (which was opened in 1941 and is an ex-cafe).
Clouds of Witnesses "WE may expect, writes a cor respondent front Hampstead, London, " to be invaded by the Rutherford persuasion next month. House-to-house canvassing is being carried on by "Watch • Tower' representatives to arrange " accommodation for thousands of people." With remarkable zeal and persist. ence and an effective " Thank you so much, 1 knew you would " technique, three agents have succeeded in bluffing many unwary householders into an inspection of unoccupied rooms (in a way hitherto unatternmed even by the Socialist dictatorship). There follows a provisional arrangement for boarding one or more witnesses. Normally to notify the parish priest of such activities would seem to be sufficient, but. in view of the known anti-Catholic character of the " Watch Tower " and its adherents. especial vigilance on the part of Catholics in general seems to be called for."
Might not the better. if somewhat more arduous course. he to take them in and work on them with a spiritual "Thank you so much" technique.
Two Interesting Questions HOW many clergymen have been " converted to the Church in the last hundred years ? What's your guess before reading further ? I would have guessed between twentyfive and fifty thousand. Alas. no I A. R. Burges Bayley has iust published a list of them all, and, according to my painful addition, they number about 10,000, or an average of a hundred a year.
And here is another question. How many priests working in Britain today have names beginning with 0' something ? My guess would have been about 150. Actually the figure is between 400 and 500 1
Such calculations are not wholly idle, for it is my rather depressing view, confirmed by a good deal of odd research. that the real conversion of England has hardly begun. But for Ireland, the Church in this country would hardly be so very much stronger than in Scandinavia,
Shades of Shinwell ASUPPOSE it is close association with the final stages of the production of this newspaper which spoils the fun I get out of even other publications' misprints, but I must confess I did more than smile when in a prayer for temporal leaders the Holy Ghost was beseeched to "kindle the hearth of those who have to give guidance that they may fulfil their great and responsible task in public life." How appropriate for the Minister of Fuel and Power more notably associated with the " tinker's cuss " than with kindling anything.
• GUEST JOTTER
Wise and Otherwise
"... There is probably more rejoicing in heaven about one repentant French black marketeer than about ten British Ministry of Food Inspectors."—Arthur Koestler.