e.-ern...v. Silent But Very Eloquent weeemA
ONE of the most significant comments on the life and reign of King George VI has come from the columns of the Communist press.
The death or departure of a King is always seized by the Communists as an opportunity for an attack upon the monarchy. When George V died they seized upon what they alleged to be his " imperialism" and "Toryism"; they had a field day at the time of the abdication of Edward VIII.
For days they have been showing considerable ingenuity and industry in an effort again to " smear " the monarchy, but they have been able to find no single word to say against George VI, either as man or as monarch.
CATHOLICS are often, and I think rightly, quick to protest when the Press puts forward antiChristian policies. I hope therefore that those who read the Daily Telegraph took the opportunity to express their appreciation of that paper's leading article on Communist-minded clergy in
the Church of England, published in last Saturday's issue.
In unambiguous terms the view was advanced that Christianity and Communism are incompatible and that the " exposition by certain clergymen of ostensibly Communist views" represent a peril to the Established Church.
The leader throughout treated Communism as the primarily spiritual problem that it is—and not just as a political problem. If a test of faith were imposed, it reasoned, a political test would be superfluous. It urged the need for the conversion of Communists, but added: " To convert black sheep it is not necessary to have red shepherds."
Catholics are accustomed to reading similar views in their own papers but this should not blind us to the significance of a secular paper coming out so definitely on the side of Christian values.
On being yourself
WHEN parents-, preparing their children to meet the great ones of this earth, tell them to " just he yourself " they generally mean that they want them to be someone much more priggish, and wholly less interesting, than
their normal selves.
lust how artificial and hopeless a business self-consciously being yourself really is was brought home to me when I played the part of Douglas Hyde in the B.B.C.'s dramatisation of I Believed last week-end. (The actual broadcast has been postponed until after the King's funeral.) As we rehearsed before the recording I envied what seemed at the time to be the relatively easy task of the character actors who played the Welsh dustman, the Negro salesman and the Jewish clothing worker. How easy to mimic others. how difficult to "act " myself, I thought. as 1 anxiously tried to recall what I normally sound like.
In the end I did the only possible thing and placed myself securely in the hands of the producer and let him tell me what Douglas Hyde was really like. Thinking about it afterwards, I decided that perhaps life is rather like that, too.
WHEN Shced and Ward pub lished The Common Man, by G. K. Chesterton, in 1950, I thought that this was one of the most exciting of literary events, for here was a brand new book appearing from his pen sixteen years after the author's death, with the promise of more to follow because of the unpublished manuscripts which had been found among his papers.
Now comes what I feel to be another such exciting event, for Maisie Ward, after having written and published what the Americans would call the definitive life of G.K., has come back with a second helping which many will find even more spicy and flavoursome than the original dish. Return to Chesterton is based on letters, documents and the recollec tions of those who knew him, ranging from the barber who shaved hint and the long-suffering taxi-man who spent many An hour waiting for the client who had forgotten his existence and gone home by another route, to his closest friends and comrades in arms.
Wisely, Maisie Ward has let them tell their own stories and has resisted
the temptation to " write them up."
The result is altogether delightful. So, as well as being a hook of con
siderable importance for the addi
tional light it sheds on the mind and heart of Chesterton, it is one which you can open anywhere for a few exhilarating moments and put down again (if you have the strength of will), which makes it a hook to buy and to keep. Buying it, I admit, may not be easy at 21s. these days (you may have
to get scaneone else to buy it for you when Christmas or your birthday comes) and keeping it from friends who pick it up to take one idle glance at it may be still more difficult.
One word of warning: When T started reading it on Saturday morn ing I got myself into disgrace for not speaking to anyone for several hours. But I was able to shelter behind my convalescence. You will probably have no defence.
" IN 1937, only fifteen years ago, the Communist Party of China had only 40.000 members in a nation of nearly 500 million people. " That is to say its numbers were about the same as those of the British Communist Party today and its relative strength in numbers was hardly more than a tenth of that of the British Communist Party."
—Daily Worker, 7.2.1952.
CRY from the heart of an agonised
Communist propagandist. noting in the party's daily paper the death of Mgr. O'Connor, Chesterton's Father Brown:
" Their friendship led to Chesterton joining the Roman Catholic Church. It also led to the Father Brown stories, a highly original series in which propaganda for Catholicism was never far below the surface." Tut, tut.