An occasion to begin
SIR,--As the culminating ceremonies and London mass meeting celebrating the centenary of the Restoration of the Hierarchy draw near, may I, a Catholic layman profoundly grateful to the Lord for all that that restoration has meant to this people and nation, plead for a permanent memorial worthy of this unique occasion ? As your correspondence columns have recently revealed. an ever growing multitude of the Faithful long to share more fully than is possible under present conditions in the Sacred Liturgy, a pant of the heritage that is their due and a participation in which our present Holy Father has called for repeatedly, It is the Hierarchy, so wonderfully restored after three centuries and now in the fullness of its second historic life, which alone can answer the plea
of the laity. What more worthy commemoration could be imagined than that, in thanksgiving for 'he centenary, there should be a wonderful liturgical revival everywhere and the official proclamation of an Evening Service for Sundays worthy of the One Church of God ?
.Let this land once again resound with the singing of the Psalter, the Magnificat, the. None Dimittis and all ,those great treasures at present recited silently by the priests of God as they read their daily office. As too we live in an age that needs a wider and deeper understanding and personal love for God and His saving truths, wherever possible let the language in which the people shall worthily give thanks to God be that in which they think, the vernacular, so that in deed and in truth their minds and hearts shall be raised to God their Saviour.
The Elms, Gorserld, near Holywell, North Wales.
Sue-The correspondence under this heading is most instructive. But I fear that the letter of the Three Convert Clergymen, which you published a week or two ago, will carry little weight at the present time. I venture to offer the following considerations towards what many of us conceive to be a remedy for present neglect. 1. Perhaps it is time that late evening services were abandoned? Late evening services are something
of a novelty in this country. I write subject to correction, but I think I am right in saying that they came into vogue about 1850, and coincided with the introduction of the present frequency of Benedic tion. When I was a young man, half-a-century ago, the churches were full on Sunday evenings, largely I should say, because there was little to do on Sunday nights other than go to church. Then came the bicycle. and later the motor car to encourage the week-end habit: and now the radio provides serious and light entertainment: television is here to stay; and the cinemas are everywhere open on Sunday evenings. "So what ?" as they say now-adays. I suggest that the authorities think seriously of encouraging Vespers and/or Compline rendered as solemnly as possible, in the afternoon. And where it is deemed advisable, Night Prayers before the Tabernacle, might he recited in the evenings, in the vernacular, with the Rosary and a Litany, or similar de
votions. Then in course of time, when our people have learnt a greater appreciation of Vespers and/ or the Church's official Night Prayer of Compline, Sunday evening may be left free, as is the case on the Continent now and was so in old times in our own land, for rest, recreation and social intercourse.
2. Personally I should like to see a bonfire of all "fancy prayer books" which, along with pulpit "oratory " and theatrical music, Cardinal Manning said, years ago, largely contributed to loss of faith. And in place of the " fancy prayer hooks" a standardised prayer hook might he put out with authority. Such a book, e.g. a.s the "Liturgical Prayer Book-Mass. Vespers, Ritual and principal Catholic devotions " as compiled under the direction of the Rt. Rev, Dom F. Cabrol, 0.S.B., and published by Herder.
3. It is urged, and with truth, that a vast number of even the "educated " Catholic laity are ignorant of a sufficient knowledge of Church Latin to assfet at the Offices anent( ac devote. The remedy is simple enough. Let the Faithful buy copies of the Missal and Office Book, in Latin, with their adjacent English translMion, and use them.
H. V. Monet-ON.