Opening Gambit I WONDER if the Virgin Birth is really the best subject for the opening speech at the Hyde Park Catholic Evidence Guild pitch, on a Sunday afternoon. Taking the Protestant objection and answering it from'the still Protestant-backed Bible does seem to me rather vieux feu, even if it is an opening gambit which enables the speaker to knock down pretty swiftly and very completely this self-picked Aunt Sally. I went forward with what I think is a common Catholic reaction to this noble work to support the speaker by sympathetic presence and help to form a crowd but the opening cluster dwindled and I was bored by the details of the old, old controversy and bethought me of Compline in a church nearby, and left. 1 think the poor old woman next whom I had been sitting a few moments before in the main drive of the park really had a better opening line to instruction in the True Faith, for all of 20 sitters in the sun to hear, but directed to three equally old and dowdy " mates," she said, " Nobody can't get on without religion— Socialism or no Socialism." In her case I think it was by way of Parthian shot, for with that the old lady stalked off with all the dignity her truism entitled her to.
New Place or"Pilgrimage" f HAVE three times passed through 1. Grosvenor Square since the statue to F. D. R. was unveiled there just over a month ago, the latest was on Sunday test. I was on each occasioti amazed at the constant stream of visitors making their way to see the memorial. Both early on Sunday morning and late in the afternoon, there was a constant two-way traffic up to the Reid Dick standing image of this great man. The memorial, with two fountains and two small pools, now bids fair to become a normal "sight " for the visitor to London. Evidence of this was not lacking either. In the morning I went right up to the memorial myself, I saw at least five taxis bring visitors to the top of the main epproach, in the afternoon there were two charabancs parked on one side of the gardens. Another sign of lasting popularity was a group of gaudily bebadged girls posing for a group snap on the side of one of the ornamental pools. The visitors —pilgrims perhaps would be the better word—were of all ages and from all levels of society. For some not easily explainable reason I feel this devotion to F. R. D. to be a justification for optimism.
V for Vinning pNDEAVOURING to follow our 1-4 own item, "Listen to This," I struck by accident on Sunday an announcer at Hilversum giving an account in English of Mr. Churchill's triumphant tour. Mr. Churchill, said the announcer, was continually giving the V sign which, "during the war, stood for Victory and now stands for Vinning the Peace." And why not? Has anybody a better right to " vinning " the peace if we have got to " fight " for it than Western Allies, Apostolic Blows and Knox pR. Gordon Albion, under the tide " Apostolic Blows and Knox," has some hitherto unpublished ICnoxian quips together with a few " evergreens " as he calls them, in this month's Duckett's Register. I recognised some old friends but these two "Clerihews " were new to me:
St. Cyprian of Carthage S'at down on the bath-edge And wondered whether it would be a sin If he didn't get in . • • and another;
Sr. Simeon StFlites
Left off the use of nighties; But St. John Chrysostom Said it would never do for HiS system."
Hot News 0 N1 of the Most distressing things that can happen in this newspaper business is, I think, to discover too late that your own private bit of "hot " news or gossip is weeks old. How horrible must Frederick Mullally's breakfast-time have been when he, the Sunday Pictorial's candid columnist, discovered—I expect kind friends soon put him wise— that his hot news about the Dorset County Chronicle and Swanage Times was a rival to the Daily Worker in being " an instrument of political propaganda " and wholly enslaved to the British Communist Party, was years old. This news, said the columnist, was the secret of the editor of the Daily Worker; but was it ? Time and Tide published the same information on March 7, 1942, Still it's well that Catholic societies and active laymen in Dorset should be reminded that there's an opening for a Christianbacked local paper down there.
The Lord Mayor's Banquet
PERHAPS more telling than the
stories given last week in this column on the present German rations is the menu of the banquet given by the Cologne equivalent of London's Lord Mayor. Because the Study Week of the German Catholic journalists was an important interzonal meeting—an inter-zonal meetings are important for the Germans at present living in rifle-tight zones— the mayor and corporation of the city made the members of the conference their guests in a trip to Cologne, a conducted tour, and a luncheon. The hosts included, apart from the civic dignitaries, the Rector Magnificus of the University and the Administrator of the Cathedral. The menu for the civic lunch: tinned tomato soup (good), a piece of smoked haddock 3 inches by 2 inches (no comment), with the inevitable bowl of potatoes and something in a pretty consistent mess (no comment), a small saucerful of some partly sugary, partly glutinous jelly with lemon flavouring (very poor), two glasses of white wine and a cup of tea (with milk)-----really good! But alas and slack we were hurried off before some of us could cool the tea seaciently to drink it, there had been such an abundance of good will, gbod wishes, good speeches I GUEST JOTTER