Jotter reminds Editor
Christmas wishes cHRiSTMAS this year falls awkwardly for weekly papers. This issue is the 18th, while the one after it would normally appear on the Friday which this year is Christmas Day. In fact, it will be available on Wednesday, the 23rd. While we hope that a good many copies will be bought on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, the main sale will, no doubt, be on the Sunday after Christmas. For this reason. we are regarding the present issue as the pre-Christmas issue, and so it falls on me now to express my customary wish to readers, in which all members of the staff share. that they may all have a holy and happy Christmas. The editor has been rather solemn in his Christmas editorial above, but it is one of the perennial joys and consolations of the Church that the greatest solemnity and seriousness are compatible with the very human rejoicing which expresses our very human thanksgiving to God for His graces and goodness to us. At no time is this more true than at Christmas when families are reunited and friends meet. So, in every way: Happy Christmas!
Guinness and Chesterton
HIRLEY FLACK, of the "Daily
Mail", is to be heartily congratulated on having achieved something which many others have tried to do and failed: to interview Sir Alec Guinness about his faith. He explained that he had been a half-hearted Anglican, and then, because of his dislike of stability and conformity, he toyed with Communism. At one time he even tried Buddhism. He makes the extremely interesting point that he had to reject other religions be
cause they "lacked a basic worldliness". At length, after much difficult thinking, he became a Catholic, and three years ago his wife did the same. There is a strong Chestertonian feeling in his remarks that the Catholic faith has made a great difference to their lives, hut it only shows in little things like getting up for Mass on Sundays instead of lying in bed. Was it not G.K.C. who said that only a full acceptance of the truth of the Catholic Church could possibly get a reasonable man out of bed on a Sunday morning? Ake Guinness is planning to make longplaying records of readings. ChesterMn will be in his repertoire.
More dialogue churches FURTHER enthusiastic letters about parishes where the dialogue Mass is a great success reach me. I am glad to get one from North Wales, though the writer seems to have been carried away when she says: " We do the whole of the Canon of the Mass." The enthusiasm was perhaps transferred to the dialogue description from the Church's need for help. It is the Holy Redeemer, Portmadoc, mentioned before in our columns. Anyway it is "definitely in the forefront of liturgical achievement." Another London City church where office workers may hear a daily dialogue Mass is St. Mary's, Moorfields. "We owe a tremendous debt to the hard-working clergy." the writer adds. " It would be nice if one could plot a graph to show that the pastoral effectiveness of a church varied
directly with its liturgical achievement." From Our Lady of Sorrows, Effingham: "Every Mass, complete dialogue just as the Holy Father wishes." It has struck me that in very big churches, espeoially cathedrals, daily Mass in a side-chapel would facilitate the dialogue. Wide empty spaces make it very difficult. This is often the way abroad.
THE architect, Mr. Charles Gray,
has sent us a photograph of the Crucifix, carved by Miss Julian Allan, for St. Peter's, Paisley, Scotland. He sent the picture because of a comment in this paper to the effect that the Crucifix with the arms held high up is sometimes called a Jansenist Crucifix, the
Jansenists depicting the Crucifix thus because they held that salvation was not for all men. Mr. Gray explains that he had the Crucifix thus carved because he wanted a 25-foot narrow Crucifix which could be seen from several angles on the narrow tower. Queries we have made suggest that there is no real substance in the attribution of such Crucifixes to Jansenist influence. Many such Crucifixes antedate Jansenism, especially ivory ones when the Crucifix was carved from a single narrow piece of ivory. I myself possess what seems to be a fairly early ivory Spanish Crucifix with the arms, made from separate pieces of ivory, upstretched. Still, it is an interesting point, and perhaps some expert on the subject will enlighten us further.
Never-had-it-sogooders MORE and more, I think, we should be aware of the dangers inherent in the present social set-up where all that counts is money-making and moneyspending. From a very intelligent correspondent in America I have received the following observation on conditions there: "One senses here a most dreadful stagnation in the social field. For capitalism to survive I cannot but think it must make some advances towards giving workmen some participation in management. Lippman flatly says that is what the current steel strike has been about. But capitalism here is pristine; for one thing it owns the newspapers and the men's case is not being put before the public. There is much bitterness. Striking workers get no aid from their unions. Americans are encouraged to spend all they earn; it must be so or the 'system' would collapse. The frugality which is. I think, second nature to us Europeans is a social evil, in U.S. terms. Thus when a strike or unemployment of any kind comes, it is little short of disastrous in its effects. Few pay cash for the cars, household equipment, TV sets. etc. Credit is the way; consequently futures of whole families are mortgaged. Even clothes and holidays are purchasable on `time' ... You can imagine the effect of a strike that began in June upon these people. There is no elasticity in the system. And I sincerely hope that the Macmillan Government, the Never-Had-It-So-Gooders, will not delude our people into living On credit."
Courage, comrade wATCHING TV editions of the Labour Party Congress, it struck me that at least one change might be made: to abolish the appellation "Comrades." Today the word is almost archaic save for its Communist assOciations. Nor is its etymology helpful. It is the same word as camerade from camera, a room. It is also military and was first used in the Spanish army to flenote those who shared the same auarters.