Correspondents are again urged to write as succinctly as possible as a large number of interesting letters have to be held over weekly owing to pressure on our space.
SIR,—Surely Fr. Arbuthnot (Aug. 7) has missed Dom McElligott's trenchant article in your issue of July 31.
During the last hundred years Catholic worship has been tainted by the pursuit of the " Aesthetic " in the music of the Mass—music for music's sake—the singers' personal delectation; and it is precisely that aestheticism which we want, not to foster, but to get rid of, because the Holy See having spoken, it is, at long last, be ing borne in upon us that there is a better way, commending itself to our filial duty and, unequivocally, also to our common sense. And, have we really wrong ideas about "Culture " when we rebel, with Mr. Cowles and others, against dubious ways in vocal prayers and the notorious poverty of our hymnody and our dead psalmody? I quote the Very Rev. E. Bonney, in Conference at Llshaw, 1934 :—"Really, it is the everyday things that matter most, a certain insistence on a dignified recital of vocal prayers; more attention to the choice of everyday music, to Congregational rather than to ' Choir' music"; whilst, the same day, a learned priest, Mgr. Miley, deplored the bad taste in so many of our sentimental hymn tunes as compared with the bold vigorous melodies of German hymns, for example. Finally, the following, d propos of Catholic Action, is not out of place when thinking of the Liturgical Revival, likewise dear to the Pope:'. In the new age of the Church, envisaged by Pius XI, there must be created a new consciousness of the layman's dignity as an Apostle of Jesus Christ — first in the minds of the clergy; and next, through the clergy, in the mind of the layman himself" (Rev. T. J. Fitzgerald).
JOHN S. LIVINGS ION.
9th August, 1936.
SIR—Your correspondent (An Anxious Priest) feels that during the Celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass the laity are divorced from the altar because they do not join in singing the Liturgy with the beads.
There is much to be said for and against that indictment. But in my opinion a much more serious form of divorce is taking place Sunday after Sunday in all our London churches between the altar and the laity because of the fact that 80 per cent. are assisting or pretends to assist at Mass without the aid of a prayer-book missel or heads.
Fifty years ago, a man or a woman assisting at Holy Mass without one of those weapons or objects of devotion was an exception, and was indeed looked upon as an indifferent Catholic, but to-day that position is completely reversed and the most noticeable offenders are the young men and young women, and yet those young men and young women if they are employed in a factory or in the farm or garden they would be quite useless to their employer if they presented themselves without the weapons must suitable for their employment. Of course it is quite possible to hear Mass devoutly without a book or beads only by raising the mind and heart to God, and following with devotion and attention the priest at the altar, but here again, to quote (An Anxious Priest) "watch the average congregation,their attention is not on the altar. And the Gospel of
St. Luke says, Where thy treasure is there is thy heart also."
AN ANXIOUS LAYMAN.
Stit.—All enthusiasm to the contrary notwithstanding, it seems that we poor lay folk will after all have to resign ourselves to remaining " dumb dogs " during SIR—AS one who knew the late Edward Marlyn intimately—and will cherish to my dying day the memory of a great-hearted generous loveable man—I protest emphatically against your reviewer's statement, in the notice of " Dramitis Personae," that he had a " twisted hatred of life ... fed by the saturnine genius of Beardsley and having foupd existence hateful found abstinence easy, and so posed as an ascetic." This comment is so fantastically idiotic as to be merely a silly lie.
Edward Martyn had as keen an enjoyment of life as the late " G.K.C.," and his faith was every whit as profound and as living. At Daily Mass and Holy Commuleiou his absorbed recollection was saintly in its quality—and most edifying to all who saw him. Widely read, deeply cultured, a keen sense of humour, he yet had too sincere a nature to be guilty of any pose; much less that of an ascetic.
One of the founders of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, the Arts in Ireland (Drama, Music, Literature and Painting) found in him a keenly appreciative and generous patron. His own output of dramatic work if small was good—as anyone who has seen " The Heatherfield " and " Maeve will admit.
Always keen to help and encourage young and struggling artists his house and his purse and his time were constantly at their command.
About twenty-five years ago George Moore, his cousin, published an attack on Martyn in his book " Hail and Farewell " which I read when it came out. Very angry I asked Edward Martyn if he had read the attack and what he was going to do about it. His reply was characteristic, " My dear boy, I've not read the book and 1 do not intend to. George and I have been friends for over forty years and I don't propose to imperil that friendship. Besides he amuses me!" There is precious little of the poseur about such calm dignified charity!
GERALD WYNNE RUSHTON.
The statement concerning Edward Martyn quoted above was not the opinion of our reviewer, but a quotation from W. B. Yeats' book.
SIR,—The author of " A Belgian Link with Camden Town " omitted to mention what is by far the most remarkable thing about the Belgian Church. I refer to the Scheut Fathers' custom of keeping the church open during those hours when the 90 per cent. who work all day are free,
instead of when nobody is free. The church is open for several hours from 7 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m., winter and summer.
(The porch is open all day). This is an immense boon, not only to the happy parishioners, but also to many who pass North each evening on the Edgware and Highgate line, and would have precious little chance of a visit but for this oasis in the desert, which is quite near the station.
The crowded congregations at the City and West-end lunch-hour Benedictions prove that we working folk only need to be facilitated and encouraged a bit; but priests on the whole do not seem to realise that very many, in fact 1 imagine that the majority, of those who go to work at 8 or 8.30 and arrive home at 6 or 7 have little or no chance of entering a church from weekend to week-end, unless they can manage a lunch-hour visit, or live near a church served by an Order. In many parts of London one has to queue up for lunch. and so there is no time left for a visit, even with the best will in the world.