WHEN I was there in Berlin, they held the Queen's Birthday Parade. This is the Trooping of the Colour. And in our terms, this is an extraordinary ceremony from the 18th century or earlier, and is one of our affirmations of our civilisation.
Just as the march past the dried-blood red tomb of Lenin in Moscow is a lion's roar of power. And an appalling affirmation of a dog rough future if they get their way. And barbarians usually lose in the end. Or get utterly changed. So with love for my own, on Sunday, I went to Mass with the Rangers. There are two chapels in the barracks in this strange and locally isolated village, walled within that.great city.
Within the barracks. within which battallions take over one from another like lodgers in a boarding house, the Rangers live within the shell, in no way luxurious, of an old German barracks in Spandau which, like Potsdam, were the places of their passion militarism.
I asked to go to Mass with this battalion.
There is, inside this firmly' guarded place, a chapel for each of the obvious religions. The Catholic church here is small and not elegant, but eloquent to every Catholic who feels himself a little put down in the society into which he has been born.
There is a plain altar. There is a great crucifix on the wall. There is a reading desk and there are rows and rows of chairs which on this Sunday were filled with a rich Christian collection of wives and children and a few officers and some soldiers in sweat shirts and a former Commanding Officer of the Battalion, now a retired Brigadier and a Catholic whose singing of the hymns was like one of those great, low tubes from the organs of the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
In fact it was one of the best affirmations of our gentle faith by people dedicated in theory to the possibility of war. Afterwards there was a mass of women and children milling around outside the church and, my goodness me, it was one of the most gentle occasions 1 have ever attended.