Down To Principles
[Father Martindale's reflections on the Manila Eucharistic Congress will reach the Catholic Herald shortly. Meanwhile we print another section of his travel notes made in the last stage of his outward journey to the Philippines.] By FR. MARTINDALE So peaceful is this trip over the sea of crinkled blue silk, slightly ruffled by flyingfish, that I thought nothing could possibly be sent to the Catholic Herald this time. And not much can.
But how I envy these Germans their physical strength (talk about lungs! ), and, I think, a certain mental vigour. Perhaps it is the structure of their language, which forces them to end their sentences distinctly, and doesn't allow them to break off with a " Well, you see what I mean
. . but which drives them to think out their thoughts to the logical end. This, not being a " smart " ship, is full, presumably, of average and not very highbrow, smart, or specialist people. Well, I had tea (that is, coffee) yesterday with the doctor. There were also present the Bishop of Menevia (by now one of the most welcomed men upon this ship), the provincial of the German Dominicans, a parish-priest (Stettin), a film-magnate and his wife, a nurse. and a most brilliant woman so versatile as to be a noted portrait-painter and etnieent huntress (you hunt a visionary fox, for, I think, real fox-hunting is forbidden in Germany today), and I spent half my time wondering why the laity (uproariously jolly) could always get down to a principle, and argue their thought out— not only about a problem like the Egyptian one, but things like suicide, marriage and birth-restriction.
Now in England, this getting down to
principles is rare. We appeal to sentiment, or special cases. How many Catholics have I not met, who really think that it was the Church who invented the Christian law of " No Divorce," and even, of " No Contraception," and who have said openly that she was " very hard," and would have to "come round."
Cackle About Liturgy
One service that the Catholic Herald can render is, to help us to cut out any amount of cackle, and to get down to the principles which can be appreciated only by a clear head. But even to attempt to appreciate them clears the head! What a terrible lot of cackle we have had about liturgical side issues! Everyone (and, God knows, myself) ought to he grateful to the Editor if he squeezes their letters, and gets rid of the talk-pulp.
Denial Not Starvation
Once a month, Germany has an Eintopfgerichte. This means, that you have one dish only for your midday meal, and give whatever you thus save to the WinterHelp fund. It is true that I could live for a day on that one dish. But it is a remarkable example of an ideal officially imposed until it is instinctively accepted. Well, disregard of physical comfortableness (let alone of that disgusting degenerate notion of " luxury "—luxury-flats: luxury-cruises . . . it appears that there are those to whom the vulgar word appeals . . .) is a very good, strengthening ideal.
The uneducated intelligentsia to which I have often alluded is nearly all of it soft, not only in body, but also in spirit, as you can very well see from their jelly-like faces. (After 40 they shrivel, or get very fat.) Were England to impose physical training on all, I should not regard that as any kind of infringement of liberty, and most certainly not as a camouflaged militarism.
Tomorrow, for a reason so far undiscovered, I have to propose the health of the Captain in the name not only of the English-speakers in this ship, but of the Dutch, Spanish, and great German majority, too.
For once I shall not wholly hate making a speech. In this air, heat, scent of salt water, geniality, absence of newspapers, minimum of wireless, and necessary getting outside of your own narrow circle of ideas even while you have to force yourself to express to yourself, first, what your ideas really are—for how else can you hope to convey them in a different language to anyone else?—you get so direct an experience of the decency of men if only they were let alone by politicians, diplomatists and dons, that you actually like to convey your good will, certain that good will is present to stimulate it, and to respond to it.
Meanwhile the day begins freshly with a swim at 6.30: continues with a series of Masses and then coffee: by quiet hours of reading or typing on the boat-deck in a minimum of clothes. and ends with an attempt to find some part of your body which has not been vaccinated to tie on, when you go to bed. Colombo the day after tomorrow.