IT is not every day in the -L week that a full-scale Press conference is held in the Throne Room at Archbishop's House. Westminster, and addressed by Cardinal Heenan. So when this happens, as it did at the end of last week, one goes along expecting a few fireworks as the sacred get down to dialogue with the profane.
And when the conference is to announce to the Press at large details of the New Pentecost (which CATHOLIC HERALD readers heard about in last week's issue and can read about again on Page One) then a journalist can be forgiven for expecting the odd squib to explode under someone's unsuspecting feet In the event it turned out to be a very staid affair with the Press on its best behaviour and not a Jack Moron or Booze O'Brien in hailing distance to ruffle the calm Westminster See. Yet, although it was not vintage stuff, there were some nice incidental touches for the connoisseur.
A representative (whose name I forget) of the CATHOLIC HERALD was, after asking a question, popped goodhumouredly but smartly back into his box by the Cardinal. A woman reporter (from a paper whose name I also forget) inevitably ran up the feminist flag, which brought the information that women were certainly not excluded from preaching in our churches on Whit Sunday. Dr. Johnson thou shouldst be living at this Catholic hour!
A priest arose from the Press ranks and referred to himself as a "rose among thorns" because he was wearing a dog-collar. The Cardinal gently pointed out the priest's erior by saying that he was a "thorn among roses."
Mr. Auberon Waugh, who incidentally gave me the perfect excuse to use if invited to give a Whit Sunday sermon, seemed strangely exercised about imprimaturs and the Theology Commission, Mr. Tom Burns, of the Tablet, appeared to be as happy as a chemist who has just discovered a new pill. And Mr. Patrick O'Donovan gave the impression of being modestly unaware that he was the journalist who had written the New Pentecost sermon for use by those who lack his magic with words.
But back to the main business. Some of the laymen responsible for the New Pentecost, which aims to involve the laity more deeply in the runrung of the Church and put teeth into the various commissions, were on the platform with the Cardinal and Bishop Worlock.
Referring in a statement to these good men and true (Ronald Brech, Laurence Cotterell and Hugo Dunn-Meynell) the Cardinal said they were not puppets—and they certainly did not look or behave like puppets, According to the Cardinal, the bishops had not made the shots for them to fire. "They are determined to take this