Page 4, 15th July 1949

15th July 1949
Page 4
Page 4, 15th July 1949 — IN A FEW WORDS

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VERY many will be shocked in deed to hear of the sudden death, while on holiday in England, of Mgr. Arthur Hughes,Papal Internuncio in Cairo. As I knew him, the late Archbishop was one of the most genial, witty and informal of prelates—this despite his most handsome, bearded appearance which somehow made you want to treat him with almost excessive reverence. He had indeed a very great sense of the dignity of his office within the Church's spiritual and temporal contacts with the world, and not least with the vital world of the Middle East so ready to appreciate the pomp and dignity of the ancient traditions of the Holy See. Yet he was a stern critic of the human defects within the Church he loved so much and served so faithfully—even unto early death. This paper has certainly lost a very good friend. May he rest in peace!

How to Deal with Misprints I HAVE just come across what seems to me to be one of the Most brilliant journalistic ideas I have ever heard of. An agricultural magazine, run by a farm implement firm, which has reached me at home, offers a substantial money prize to the reader who finds most misprints in the issue. I don't know whether this was the magazine's last resort when it noted. too late, the number of misprints in the issue, or whether it thought this an excellent way of making possible clients read every line. but there it is. Not that reading for misprints is a good way of taking-in the sense — indeed, the best printer's " reader " is the one who can entirely abstract from the meaning of the printed word. However, the idea is clearly one which many other papers, not excluding this one, might take up!

Scientific Progress in its Heyday ANOTHER commercial magazine which has reached me this week is the sumptuous Go, the " International Travel Magazine." Among other features, it contains extracts from a conversation manual used by travellers in 1840 in which the

usual banal conversation appears in English, French, and Spanish. "A Course with the steam-carriage "

begins as follows : " They ring the bell at the rail-wayoffiSe. Let us go, to make this leap of tourteen miles. We shall arrive at five o'clock, This course will be agreeable; there is no wind at ails the smoke of the steam-engine ascends to heaven in a straight line . . We are flying off ! I do not wish for a conveyance more commodious, more rapid and more sociable. You are right, Sir; there is nothing left to be wished for. Thank the undertakers."

The Consolations of Science

"Jet aircraft, burning kerosene, have been known to crash at 200 m.p.h. without catching fire."—From the Economist.

Father Louis WE may expect the publication towards the end of the month of a long-awaited American bestseller, Elected Silence. by Thomas Merton. Thomas Merton is Fr. Louis--he was ordained on Ascension Day this year—of the Trappist Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky. Elected Silence. written by Father or rather Brother, as he then was—Louis in his silent cell, is. however, all about Thomas Merton, a brilliant young' American who painted New York red, apparently rather tike Paris' Cocteau, suddenly became thoroughly disgusted with himself, joined the Church and was clothed in 1942 in the habit of St. Robert.

A Question of Taste

MY support for good, rousing,

traditional hymns that one can sing lustily has brought me a most indignant letter from a Mr. Goodger, of Newcastle, who tells me that " the man of taste who essays to catch the Common -I ouch often sounds as phoney as the most involved contortions of the highbrow art critics." He views my statement, be tells me, " with the same suspicion that I would a public con fession by Dr. Edith Sitwell that she reacts to Freak Sinatra . in the same way as the bobby-soxers." I can only add that my taste is such that I don't even know what a " bobby-soxer " is, but that I like good. rousing hymns. Taste, no doubt, like every thing else under the sun, is limited.

Manning-60 Years Ago MR. Alfred Grosch, whose little verses have often entertained my readers, sends me the following timely note: " It is 60 years since the London dockers won their first great victory in the Strike of 1889. This victory was made possible by the wise counsel and careful guidance of one man, Henry Edward Manning, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. He became the men's unofficial advocate and when victory was assured was able, by his persuasive eloquence and the esteem in which he was held by the men, to prevent that victory being carried to excess. To quote one biographer: 'After other conciliators — among whom was the Bishop of London— had given up the task in disgust, the octogenarian Cardinal worked on with indefatigable resolution.' At last, at a meeting late at night in Kirby Street School, Bermondsey, he rose to address the strikers. When he sat down, all in the room knew that he had won, and so far as the Strike Committee was concerned the matter was at an end.

" How we could do with his like today, perhaps a remembrance of him in our prayers might help us in this dangerous situation."

A Quarterly Becomes Topical • THETHE Eastern Churches Quarterly to have a somewhat remote and specialised sound, but a great deal of contemporary news has made much of its contents of immediate concern to us all—and one can safely look to it for carefullywritten and documented articles. Thus, the current issue begins with " Background to the Palestinian Problem," by J. W. R.-F., which

reads as though we were at last going to get a thoroughly balanced

Christian account. Unfortunately, the writer is content with a very few pages based on G. Dumont's pamphlet La Belgique an Secours des Refugies de Palestine. One could wish that the Quarterly had given us much more of the pamphlet. Other articles, " Ethical, Social and Political Position in Transjordan, Syria and Iraq " and "Christians and Islam in the Near East " are most valuable and of wide interest.

Another Kettle of Fish 1T looks as though I was losing the 1battle about Friday abstinence, though I have yet to receive anything approaching a major pronouncement on the subject. One clerical correspondent, agreeing about the fasting law, points out that " the meat question is another kettle of fish altogether." But in explaining this, he compares the abstinence law with "Thou shalt not kill," thereby disregarding the whole basis of my position which is that unjust killing is intrinsically wrong, and therefore obviously wrong every time you indulge in this vice. Eating meat on Fridays is not wrong in itself; it is only wrong because the Church has chosen to impose a disciplinary rule (for the good of our souls) about the matter. And the Church's rule is you may not eat meat on a Friday—a rule you cannot possibly fulfil on any one Friday if you have accidentally broken it that Friday. (Actually, I am beginning to see for myself a slight weakening in my argument! Using my argument, a person might say that since the Church forbids eating meat on Fridays, any accidental breach of this law would release a person for his lifetime from the rule which has once and for all been broken!) Anyhow, it is extremely pleasant to argue about a rule which one really has little temptation or opportunity to break these days. Really

well-cooked fish is

infinitely preferable to those little gristly hunks which butchers I understand, have toget special spectacles to see at all.

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