Candidates for the papal election
THE odds against a nonItalian being elected during the conclave which begins next week are fairly heavy. The last non-Italian Pope to be elected was Adrian VI. a Dutchman. who was elected in 1522. In a rather uncharitable-sounding Italian phrase, he is referred to as the last Pontefice barbaro.
Adrian was a Cardinal before his election, as have been all the popes since Urban VI was elected in 1378. After Pope Pius XII's death, the name of the Archbishop of Milan was widely mentioned and some people suggested, that the Archbishop would be the first prelate below the rank of Cardinal to be elected. The Archbishop of Milan of course. was Archbishop (now Cardinal) Montini This time, at least, he will sec the election from the inside.
jT is possible, of course, though hardly probable that a layman could be elected. And this raises several thorny problems. How can the Pope. as bishop of Rome, be a layman? The answer seems to be that he receives his authority and jurisdiction from the moment of his election. even though, if he were a layman or a religious who is not a priest, he would not have the power to ordain or consecrate. Another point is that, while the Pope is bishop of Rome, some theologians hold that he could choose any diocese at all, or dispense with one completely. The majority opinion. however, is certainly that he holds the position of Bishop of Rome by Divine Law. and will continue to do so, Last week we stated that the coming Conclave would he the first for 60 years to be convened without an English Cardinal. This. of course, is not the case, as the late Cardinal Godfrey did not receive his red hat until after the last papal erection in 1958, and therefore no English cardinal was present at that conclave.
THE indefatigable Patricia Hall tells me that another of the well-known "Holiday Houseparties" at Farnborough Hill Convent in Hampshire is on the assembly line and should be ready to go into orbit on August 10. Between then and August 18, the "young, not-so-young, the busy, the leisured and the retired" will have the benefit of fine hospitality, excellent discussions, excursions, tennis, swimming and music, not to mention the occasional party. The priest-adviser and host is to be Dom Leo Smith from Buckfast Abbey, and everybody of great, little or no faith is welcome.
MRS. PAT DE TRAFFORD, who has just returned from a trip to Moscow, tells me that she discovered while there that she was eligible for one of the few Soviet decorations where there is no political "pull" involved.
She is, I discovered a "hero woman" — a title awarded to mothers who have had seven or more children. Mrs. de Trafford
reached the required number without knowing that a title awaited her, but now she can bask in reflected Russian glory. It provides her with an inimitable conversational gambit at cocktail parties. I doubt, though, that the Russians have anything as exotic as Irish Mist, a notable liqueur that was on offer at the social gathering where I met Mrs. de Trafford. One doesn't have to be Irish to appreciate it, I gather, and in fact it is rather an advantage if one is not, because the surprise is all the more pleasant. It can not only he used as a liqueur, but also in the concoction of various potions and draughts garanteed to set any palate alight. Myself, I prefer it straight, but have it your own way.
WHY is it, I wonder, that our very worthy Catholic societies frequently fail to attract a representative membership of young people? This random reflection is prompted by several photographs taken at last week's Union of Catholic Mother's Rally in the Albert Hall, in which the number of young U.C.M. members seems to be disappointingly small. Some young people I know feel that the bigger Catholic organisa tions are almost exclusively peopled by older people, and tend to think that the only way to meet people of their own age is to form splinter groups of their own.
Surely this isn't necessary. If you can't beat them, join them, to coin a phrase. And the talk needn't always be about babies. A surplus of this kind of conversation, as Shirley de Leon remarks in a memorable phrase in
the current issue of that excellent American magazine Sign, made her think of "a nightmare provoked by reading the Ladies Home Journal and eating bananas before going to bed."
WITH the electorate getting its teeth into the present series of by-elections, it is my pleasant duty to report that West Bromwich electors are now offered the choice of two Catholic candidates to fill the seat vacated by the death of Mr. John Dugdale (Labour). They are Maurice Foley, who has often appeared in these columns in connection with his work for the Young Christian Workers. and Alderman George Hawkins. Mr. Foley is the Labour candidate, and Alderman Hawkins, who leads West Bromwich Town Council Conservatives, is carrying Mr. Macmillan's battle-scared flag into the fray.
The repetition of this sort of
information about Catholic M.P.'s, councillors and Mayors, and so on, as well as the Honours List story in this week's paper — may irk some of our readers, but it provides a useful index of the part being played by Catholics in public life. And from this point of view, the more of them there are the better, Further afield, 1 see from the Jewish Chronicle that two Jews will be among those contesting the late Hugh Gaitskell's seat in South Leeds. One is a Liberal, the other a Communist. In a pertinent little paragraph at the foot of the report, the Chronicle notes cheerfully that "two other candidates — Conservative and Labour — are also contesting the by-election."
THE Sons of Divine Providence, tinder the energetic guidance of Fr. Paul Bidone, have just begun their holiday season at Westgate on Sea with what I hear was a very successful visit by some 70 old age pensioners.
Twenty of these had come from different parts of the country some from as far away as Darlington, Liverpool and Bristol — for a much-appreciated holiday.
One old lady from Surrey said that she hadn't had a holiday for IS years, and another pensioner from Sussex confided that "I have saved up for years for a holiday, Many readers have written in to express their appreciation of the special memorial issue we published last week. All copies of this on sale in one Manchester church, I am told, were sold out early on Sunday morning because a considerable n u m be r of Anglicans came to the church to buy their copies! Anyone who wants a copy of this special number can have one by writing to the circulation manager at 67 Fleet Street, London E.C.4. Single copies cost 9d. each, post paid.
I don't know when I will be able to manage another one." Three of the party were over 90 and 26 were over 80. When they returned to Westminster House. many of them were seen and congratulated by Archbishop Castelli, an old friend of Don Orione, who is Secretary General of the Italian Episcopal Commission and a member of the Emigration Board.
DAME JOANNA, O.S.B., of Stanbrook Abbey, has now produced the second of her extremely attractive posters which arc being distributed by the Sword of the Spirit and Inter-Church Aid of the British Council of Churches during the Freedom From Hunger campaign. The caption on this second poster, which is printed in an attractive shade of brown, black and white, is "Millions thirst for knowledge, skills, books", and is surely self-explanatory. Copies are free from the Sword of the Spirit (Hinsley House, 38 King Street, London, W.C.2.) but donations towards their cost are always welcome.
Crime and ...
ARECENT issue of the Italian Clergy Review con tains an article reviving suggestions about the nature of penance that have surely been dormant since Gilbert and Sullivan's day. The aim, of course, is to make the punishment fit the crime.
With this in mind, Italian priests are being prompted to give gossipy penitents the penance of speaking well of a certain person who had been criticised (always within the limits of the truth, one supposes). Misers might he told to give alms — although I imagine that the number of self-confessed misers must be pretty small — and the greedy asked to undertake a voluntary fast.
This system offers unlimited opportunities. One can think up penances for all one's friends. Journalists could perhaps, be
asked to . . but I am letting my imagination run away with me,
PROFESSOR JOHN REID, a New Zealand professor, who has just spent nearly a year in Britain and on the Continent on "sabbatical leave", has come up with a few discouraging views about England.
"We carried away a distinct impression that England is a very tired country looking to the past," he told readers of Zealandia, New Zealand's major Catholic paper. England, he continued, was "looking hack on its traditions, drawing sustenance from a noble past, with a tired government and no real sense of purpose".
It is instructive to compare these words with the professor's description of other aspects of England. lie found full Catholic churches everywhere he went, and a vigorous Catholic intellectual climate.
While his strictures on the "tired government" (written before the Profumo affair) may seem apt, is it too much to hope that the "vigorous Catholic intellectual climate" he discovered could help to bring about a change?
BUSINESS is booming. I understand, for the Caldey Abbey shop in Brompton Road.. The reason? The shop is just a few yards away from the new Aer Lingua airport terminal, and the manageress of the shop, Mrs. Judkins, tells me that Aer Lingus passengers arc mostly responsible for the increase in business.
Husbands on business trips. it appears. who have, as usual, left present-buying until the last moment, take this more or less heaven-sent opportunity to race across the road and browse hurriedly through the shop's wide selection of perfume, bath salts and eau de cologne.
And return to face the little woman with considerably more confidence than they might otherwise have done.
AFRIEND who is a priest told me the other day that he had celebrated a mass for his parents' golden wedding anniversary and was just blessing the ring — as is done in the ordinary marriage service — when he overheard one of his nieces tug at her mother's sleeve and whisper urgently: "Rut mummy. I thought that Granny was married already".