FOR a long time I have been mean t` ing to pay a special tribute (entirely unsolicited) to Donald Attwater's Catholic Encyclopaedic Dictionary. You know how irritating indexes and reference books can be when the thing you want is never under any of the obvious heads you
think of. Well, it may be because of some strange mental affinity between Mr. Auwater and myself, but my experience over years has been that you find what you want immediately in this dictionary under the first head-the obvious one-you think of. Apart from this, each little section is scholarly, brief, theologically accurate and always most charitable and large-minded. Its regular use amounts to a steady Catholic education.
Visit to Manresa
1 AST week I paid my first visit in -Li many years to Manresa, the erstwhile famous Jesuit novitiate in Roehampton lane. Today, Manresa is in the hands of the builders and the famous park looks very much the worse for wear. For some time it has been a Jesuit Training College. where the younger Jesuits finish their course of Philosophy on thoroughly modern lines and prepare for their teaching careers by London University courses. I hear that Manresa and the University are on the very best of terms, to their mutual advantage, I am sure. Deep in the rebuilding is a very fine sculptured pediment of the Assumption by Anthony Foster which shows that the Society is not being left behind in the religious artistic renaissance. The sad state of the park is due to problems of requisitioning and wartime food production. but an ancient deed has prevented any L.C.C. building between the Manresa Portico and the White Lodge across the valley
in Richmond Park. A wonderful
view has thus been saved. The person who should go down in history as the inspirer of so many good and modern things in this.development is the present Prefect of Studies at Manresa, Fr. John Sinnott. S.J.
p1CKING up a copy of the French Samedi-Soir, I duly enjoyed the back page of witty and not always wholly proper cartoons. Turning inside, another large cartoon about a night club hit my eyes. And then, cheek by jowl with it, I found a really first-rate article on the great religious painter. Rouault, such as one would look for in vain in any hut a high-brow British periodical. All this seemed to provide a rather good contrast in national tastes and temperaments. The British bourgeoisie would see little that was funny in the cartoons and much that was altogether too " French." "We
are not amused." But the British bourgeoisie would also be bored stiff by any article on a painter who. in quite another way, would seem to them not quite respectable. The French thoroughly enjoy both. Which is nearer to the civiliseddare I say the Catholic-ideal?
Back into History
R LADING graphic accounts of " those who knew B. Pius X personally and has any Beatus ever been known by more living persons? -1 feel very old and very much more remarkable. For the only Pope I have ever seen, except for the present reigning Pontiff, is no other than B. Pius,'s predecessor, Leo X111. True, I was only a baby in arms at the time; but I make up for the fact by the family story. true or otherwise, that the aged Pope seeing this baby being brought to him in private audience politely exclaimed :' "Che lael bambino!"
I READ that Mgr. Attipetty. Arch bishop of Verapoly in India, recently spent a whole week on a single parish visitation. calling on more than 600 houses, often on foot. This is heroic episcopal devotion, though I know the ideal is shared by many a Bishop. Unfortunately the modern size of dioceses. often for historical reasons, makes anything approaching direct episcopal contact with the faithful impossible. Imagine Cardinal Frings visiting all the 2.973,012 Catholics of his diocese! Or Cardinal Segura visiting the 1.750,000 Catholics of the Seville diocese! Our own Bishops would have an easier task. Mgr. Parker has only 59,252, hut a very large territorial area. The Bishop of Monaco has only seven churches and 15,000 Catholics, and many Italian dioceses have about 50 churches only-and that in a country where churches are to be found everywhere The very small diocese with perhaps the metropolitans taking over the increasingly heavy administrative work would seem to be an ideal more suited to our times.
Lights and The Hollow EVEN Jeanne de Casalis as Mrs. Angatell, the shrewd, vague, twittering and altogether delightful hostess of The Hollow in one of my favourite Agatha C:hristies, now dramatised and presented at the Fortune Theatre, shone palely in comparison with the illuminations of London as I saw them for the first time last week, crossing Waterloo Bridge on my way home. They are truly something unique, and on that particular night the delightful unreality of it all was enhanced by an unbroken deep blue backcloth with crescent moon and star cut out of it. I never realised before the triumph of Somerset House whose immense length Sir William Chambersso cleverly broke up bs his
design. I really think that London
at night is worth quite an expensive journey. and you cannot do better for a play than The Hollow.
Prayer in Common
WAS grateful the other day for • the new ordinance about prayer in common when Dr. Letitia Fairfield took me to a meeting of the Christian Frontier to hear Henry Brookes, M.P.. speak on Housing from the Christian point of view. Miss Violet Markham was Chairman, and the Our Father recited at the beginning set a note of seriousness and spiritual purpose from which it would have seemed very churlish of me to separate myself, even silently. Mr. Brookes's talk would have interested a far larger number of Catholics than the two or three present. His moral was how much more we Christiana could do about the details of the problem if we were really interested.
Trees in Towns
I SEE shall have to alter some of ▪ my country habits. Finding my house enclosed by enormous, and dangerous, plane trees, cutting the sun off from the best rooms, I have taken early steps to have them removed. I hear now of angry murmurs up and down the street at the vandalism of the new people. Just think of destroying these lovely old trees that have been growing for hundreds of years! The townsman, I find, has all the romantic habits of the countryman of fiction. Happily, the fact that the trees were half rotted anyway. and might any day have broken the fences or even caused a major accident in the road, gives me a perfect excuse. Meanwhile. the sun. which 1 value far more than any of I.ondon's grimy plane trees. now penetrates into the drawing room.
Gardening in Suburbia
I FIND gardening in suburbia • wholly delightful. Instead of con templating armies of rich, luscious weeds, beating every contrivance of man and machine. I rush out of doors to pick out the solitary weed which breaks the even surface of a completely barren bed. Much daring, 1 plant a short row of beans. and wonder whether they will ever break through the hard crust which forms after a couple of days without rain or the tight coagulated mess which rain leaves in its wake. Or else I jump on my bike and buy three precious marrow plants on which I spend an hour of digging, forking. mulching, chicken manuring (left over by previous owners), and then covering with a cloche as
though they were a sacred treasure. P.S. The lettuces have actually come , through! With the price of stale vegetables in the shops. must do something about it.