Eiry Words: "Church Times's" Feet.
READERS of The Times will have noticed an amusing letter asking why we now talk of Eire instead of Ireland seeing that we don't talk of Deutschland, Norge, Espatia, etc. Now from Ireland I hear that we are making fools of ourselves in talking of Anglo-Eire negotiations, the Lire delegation, and so on. You don't say Anglo-Spain or Anglo-France. Eire is not
an adjective. "The adjective from it is Irish," writes my informant. But surely it is Eireann, e.g., Radio Eireann. I suspect that Eire and Eireann have been accepted with open arms over here because they give distinctive names to that part of Ireland partitioned from the Six Counties. Thus they conveniently overcome an obvious difficulty.
Crosses in Cemeteries
ERY often a little first-hand experience V is more telling than many columns of
written-up accounts. A friend who was recently in Germany has just told me that while she was there a relative (Anglican) of hers died. It proved very nearly impossible to obtain permission from the authorities controlling the cemetery to have a cross erected at her tombstone. This was against the spirit of the Reich. At length the permission was obtained but solely because the local mason had in stock two tombstones with crosses which would otherwise have been wasted.
Week end Philosophy
T SEE that. Fr. Thomas Gilby, 0.P., is directing a study week-end in the Cenacle Convent on the problem of knowledge. This is surely something of an innovation
in that famous house of retreats. The lucky ones who attend the course will be taken to the heart of things.
Fr. Gilby. who is very sensitive to the difficulties of modern people, will not be content with trotting out chapters from scholastic text-books. He will give their teaching but in modern language and in the actual light of present-day controversies.
Am I right or am I wrong in suggesting that. as one grows older, one attaches less importance to the problems of pure philosophy? Anyhow those who still feel young enough in mind should make enquiries of the Superior, Cenacle Convent. West Heath Road, N.W.3. The dates are February 26-27.
The " Church Times " Birthday
LAST week's Church Times commemorated its 75th birthday. " Congratulations " rather than " Many happy returns " seems the more appropriate greeting from ourselves. The event is celebrated by accounts of the paper's history, and I personally could not help noticing the difference between the earlier .days when the paper valiantiy and in the face of persecution led the minority for the Catholicising of Protestantism, for ceremonial revival and for Christian doctrine in Faith and Morals, and the present self-satisfied basking in the sunshine of victory while the Established Church disintegrates under the paper's " feet."
Dislike of Romans
The present editor, having accepted without protest the Report of the Doctrinal Commission, declares that his paper stands for " the fact that the Church of England is the Church Catholic in this realm, with a sacramental ministry derived from the Apostles."
More light on the question, however, was shed by Lord Hush Cecil's rather doubleedged remarks: "There is indeed no more interesting ecclesiastical question than what is the important difference between an Anglican and a Roman. The difference is very notable. One cannot meet a Roman layman, still less a Roman priest, without being constantly reminded of the distance, mental and spiritual, that divides them from ourselves. But no amount of wearing vestments makes it less. Happily chasubles cannot make us Papists."
T HAD not previously heard Canon
011ard's story of Soapy Sam. Soapy Sam was Bishop Wilberforce of Rochester and Winchester, and he got the nickname because of his unctuous manner. But when a child asked him why everybody called him that he answered, " I must be called so because I often get into hot water, and always come out with clean hands."
I know a less creditable story about one of Wilberforce's successors in both sees, as it happens, a very close relation of my own. 1 like the story because it reveals in almost classical fashion the Victorian social mentality of a great and good man. One day at dinner the footman was carrying plates obviously too hot to be held without pain. The Bishop's son drew his father's attention to the matter. His lordship replied: " Don't bother, my boy, James's hands were meant to be burned!"
The Old, Old Story
T HAVE been inundated this week with copies of No. 4 of The War in Spain.
This thing is edited by a Charles Duff and published by " United Editorial, Ltd.", and No. 4 which purports to contain a Catholic's account of the religious issue must have been most widely distributed. Luckily its propaganda is so absurd and bare-faced that the pounds spent on printing and postage must have been entirely wasted as far as Catholic recipients are concerned.
It is hard to understand how any propagandist can be so stupid as to hope to affect Catholics on the Spanish issue by printing the sort of lies which Catholics instinctively know to be lies and which have indeed been refuted time and again in the Catholic Press.
With A New Twist
In this particular pamphlet even nonCatholics may be a little puzzled by the statement on page 14 that under the Concordat of 1851 the Church surrendered its wealth for an annual subsidy of £3.500,000, and the statement a few paragraphs further on that at the outbreak of the rebellion the Church owned between £200,000,000 and a third of the total national wealth.
I like too the remark that the Popular Front " adopted an especially conciliatory attitude towards the Church between February and the summer of 1936. One hundred and ninety-six churches completely destroyed!
" Pirate" r AM delighted that Professor Herbert I Arthur Smith has given the coup de grace in The Times to the use of the word " pirate " as applicable to Franco ships attacking others in the Mediterranean.
He holds, as we ha\ie held here, that we are right in resisting such attacks, but that the ships commissioned by a Government, whether insurgent or not, cannot be and never have been called pirates.
It was Professor Smith who enabled the Catholic Herald to print the warning about the legal danger of Franco sending a ship Franco is No Pirate : Guess Whose Guest ?
to take back Basque children. He is Professor of International Law in London University.
When I talked to him some months ago I got the impression that the extraordinary clarity of his mind and the amount of historical knowledge in his possession were the reasons for his taking an eminently fair view of the Spanish conflict—and that means a view very different from the prevailing one, say at the London School of Economics.
C. J. Fox — Communist
L UNCHING with a member in the House of Commons this week—I shall not reveal his name in case some of my readers accuse me of selling the pass by breaking bread with such a one—I remarked upon the inspiring nature of the pictures from my friend's point of view, Charles James Fox, John Wilkes, etc. With a twinkle in his eye, he said : "elk but you haven't seen the best one." And after lunch he pointed out in the gallery leading to the main lobby the statue of Fox, boldly and uncompromisingly giving the Communist salute. " There's inspiration for you!" he said.
We ended our meeting with the common remark that people are nearly always so much nicer in the flesh than they appear to be in their writings. You would never guess who it was.