Evelyn Waugh read the letter printed on the opposite page to his, a letter from Damian McGuiness, who contrasted the power of the Beatles film to make good friends of those who were watching it, with the utter failure of the church services even to attract youth inside the church building.
If he did read it, I hope he blushed for shame at the pathetic sentimentality of his remarks on the Mass--the priest and server, a craftsman and his apprentice, indeed. Could he he more wrong?
Yet there was a time, thirty years ago, when Mr. Waugh had the same power as the Beatles to draw men together in happy companionship by the skill and wit of his writing. But not now; Mr. Waugh seems to want to be alone.
But the Church was hidden to "teach all nations" and it is in obedience to that Divine command that the Popes of recent years have made the modifications which Mr. Waugh is pleased to call "innovations". In fact, with typical English arrogance he writes of the Popes as if they were ineffective Italian gentlemen trying to interfere with something they didn't understand, namely Mr. Waugh's liturgical preferences.
Yet Mr. Waugh can speak of the guarantee of orthodoxy being "Peter has spoken".
"Throughout her entire life," writes Mr. Waugh, "the Church has been at active war with enemies from without and traitors from within". This sentence betrays an essentially militaristic understanding of religion, more suited to a follower of Mohammed than to a Christian. Christ taught us how to treat our enemies.
The dramatic, and already fruitful changes being wrought in the Church by the great men who, under God, control Her destinies today, are motivated by a burning desire to follow the advice of Christ in all things. This may involve turning our backs on the loves of our youth.
John Bate Glenrothes.
ENGLAND is the country of liberty—that at any rate is the tradition. It is, I regret to write, fast becoming a myth. Year after year the powers of the government and statutory authorities increase and in direct proportion the freednm of the individual is diminished.
It is a great disappointment to me that the Conservative party seems so indifferent to this process when in fact concrete proposals for the protection of the individual should figure prominently in the Tory election manifesto. As it is. the party which has given most attention to these problems of liberty is the Labour party and Mr. Harold Wilson has promised. if Labour is returned, to set up an ombudsman, on the Scandinavian model, to whom people with a grievance could go.
One branch of the law which is in need of drastic overhaul is that governing the admission of aliens and others into Britain. People say that we need a royal commission. Fiddlesticks! Governments are elected to govern and take decisions not to appoint another set of gentlemen to tell them what to do.
The major defects of our immigration laws are glaringly obvious and would need a comparatively short statute to put them right. First of all the distinction between aliens and commonwealth citizens should be done away with and all should be subject to the same general tests on entry, for example whether they reach certain health standards, whether they have a job to go to or can support themselves, etc.
Second. if entry is refused, the immigration officer should give a written statement to the person refused explaining why he or she has not been permitted to land.
Thirdly and most important of all, there should he an appeal from the decision of the local immigration officer to a properly constituted appeals tribunal which could go impartially into all the facts of the case.
Immigration comes within the province of the Home Office, not the most liberal of departments as many have cause to note. The motto of the Home Office, to paraphrase a great Catholic historian, Lord Acton, is that power is delightful and absolute power absolutely delightful.
The record of the Home Office in producing vital documents in disputed cases where Home Office officials have been involved is incredibly bad. At the drop of a hat the Home Office will claim crown privilege for documents and until recently that was the end of the matter. The courts refused to question a certificate from one of Her Majesty's Ministers that it was not in the public interest to produce a document.
Now this tyrannous doctrine has taken a sharp knock from the Court of Appeal. In a decision just handed down which may well rank as one of the historic cases involving English liberty. Lord Denning has stated that the courts will no longer treat the certificate of a minister as if it were an example of holy writ.
He has laid it down that the courts will in future ask whether • there was any reasonable ground for a minister to refuse to produce a document and if they find there was not, they will order him to do so. The court could, said Lord Denning, if it thought fit. call for "the documents and inspect them itself.
Hurrah for Lord Denning and a blow to restore the traditional liberty of the subject against arbitrary authotity!
Footnote 1 am a convinced monarchist with a romantic attachment to the crown and recently heard a story confirming my best prejudices. When plans were afoot for Her Majesty to visit Ghana. the Conservative parliament. ary party was alarmed for her safety and through its chairman, Major Morrison, made representations to Mr. Macmillan. then Prime Minister, asking him to convey to the Queen the wishes of the party that the Ghana visit should be cancelled.
"Prime Minister," Her Majesty replied, "if your party thinks I am going to be kept at home opening bazaars when I could be visiting Africa, they can get a new sovereign." My monarchical tendencks are clearly justified
Sir, — On reading the excellent letter from Evelyn Waugh in the CATHOLIC HERALD, I am prompted to write on other aspects on the present drive to liberalise the Catholic Church.
Week after week, the so called Catholic press is the source of dismay and worry for me for the security of the Faith among my Children.
Are we to seriously believe that the Faith of our Fathers was incomplete, and that the White Robed Army of Martyrs died in vain? For that is the conclusion that will he reached by the growing generation whose sole intellectual fare and spiritual reading consists of Progressive Catholic Newspapers.
Our Blessed Lord himself told us that "He who is not for me is against me" but perhaps modern theologians will get over that one by pleading the old translation bogey.
Further concern is caused by Prelates and Pastors of Our Holy Mother who are quoted as supporting the American Civil Rights Movement. which is nothing but a Communist Front Movement. I can supply the names of active members of the National Association For The Advancement of Coloured People, who are members of the American Communist Party.
To-day, I observe that the Vatican Newspaper has started dabbling in Politics, and is joining the Parrot Cries which smear Senator Goldwater. Despite the fact that his Private Secretary is a devout Catholic. and the obvious fact that many American Catholics support him.
Perhaps the Progressives and Liberals will answer this by stating that the state of Nations matters not at all as long as the Church is brought to all.
To this I answer by pointing out that by the time the moderns have finished with Catholic belief and liturgy it will hardly represent the original article. What souls will he lost in the process?
J. R. Gradwell, Liverpool, 13.
Sir, — Who is Evelyn Waugh, (brilliant as he may be), to make the sweeping statement that the English do not want liturgical reform, and to claim that we do not want to raise our voices either in prayer or song? He speaks only for a small section of "the English", a certain old-school-tie, stiff-upperlip type of Englishman, who has long frustrated his fellow-countrymen and his neighbours abroad.
I have only been in Anglican churches for weddings, but I have never failed to he moved at the heart-warming way in which they sing their hymns. And are they not English?
And what of all the other Englishmen and women — the crowds at Blackpool, enjoying their community singing on the pier — the city-dwellers gathered round the Salvation Army band, singing their hymns on the street corner — the members of choral societies in Huddersfield or Leeds or London? Are they not English?
And are they any less worthy than Mr. Waugh and his public-school associates who have been taught for generations that there is something rather distasteful in showing joy or sorrow or enthusiasm, or indeed emotion of any kind?
I write as a teacher of singing, and have some knowledge of trying to combat the disease spread by Mr. Waugh and his friends—hut I write also as a Catholic, and know that I speak for many who long for liturgical reform, and for a true community spirit in our worship, and who long also to "cry out with joy to the Lord: sing to the glory of his name; 0 render him glorious praise!"
Peggy Bunt, Mayfield.
Sir,-Mr. Evelyn Waugh is so right. How un-English can we get — introducing English dialogue into the Mass!
Frank Mobhs Hull.
Sir,—In his anxiety to see all Christians free to pray together and to participate in each other's form of worship. Mr. Norman St. John Stevas deprecates the "ban on Catholic mayors and councillors from attending the civic services of other denominations."
But is there not here a basic inconsistency, since Mr. Stevas goes on to say that "such attendance is more civic than religious and participation is passive rather than active"?
In other words, the laudable idea of praying together would seem to be more in the nature of a pretext for that increasingly popular idea among Catholics, i.e. to demonstrate to the world our freedom from authority, an idea that climes perilously near to the Protestant belief in private judgment.
(Mrs.) Noreen White London, S.W.19.