Page 1, 1st August 1952

1st August 1952
Page 1
Page 1, 1st August 1952 — 'CRUCIFIXION' IN THE STADIUM

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By Maurice Quinlan

WITH 80,000 people looking down from the terraces and stands " into the arena of the Wembley Stadium, a New Testament picture book, framed in a living Rosary, came to colourful life on that incredibly green and perfect lawn which they call a football


King Farouk was a friend to Catholics

By a Special Correspondent

V ING FAROUK'S abdication has -Mended a reign in which Catholics and other Christian minorities in Egypt were fairly and equitably treated by the authorities.

Indeed the ex-King's reign will be remembered for the friendly relations which existed between the Crown and the Holy See.

Numbering only 1,500,000 in a population of 17,500,000 Mohammedans, the Christians consist largely of members of the historic Coptic Church. They trace their origin back to the days of St. Mary the Evangelist.

King Farouk's ancestor, Mohammid Ali the Great, first established cordial relations with the Holy See. Since then the Copts and other Christians have been gradually integrated into Egypt's social and political life.

With the creation of full diplomatic ties some years ago, a London White Father, the late Archbishop Arthur Hughes, became the first Papal Internuncio to Egypt. This historic event was hailed by the country's quarter of a million Catholics.

Practical aid

King Farouk himself was credited with showing a strong personal interest in the question, and his regard for Archbishop Hughes was well known. His grief at the untimely death of the Archbishop in 1949 was deep and genuine.

Apart from formal Palace and diplomatic contacts, King Farouk's interest in Catholic educational work was shown in a practical manner. Every year he gave a donation to help the efforts of the 'Catholic Free Schools Association in the Nile Valley.

During the troubles this year over the Suez Canal Zone—and after the Cairo riots during which a Coptic church was attacked by the mob— Egypt's Christians appealed to the King for justice. In reply they received, through the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch, a courteous and reassuring reply.

The ex-King recognised the desire of the Christian minority to take a more active part in the country's life.

Atom planner dies at 48

ENATOR BRIEN McMAHON, s) chairman of the Joint Congressional Atomic Energy Commission and the one Catholic who had been in the running for nomination as Democratic candidate for the Presidency, died on Monday in the Georgetown limit) University Hospital, Washington.

He was a graduate of the university.

Connecticut, his home State, had cast a unanimous vote for him before t h e Democratic Convention in Chicago last week. and at the Convention itself, although he had definitely retired from the contest. he received 16 votes on the first ballot as a "favourite son."

At the age of 32 he was Assistant Attorney-General in charge of the U.S. Criminal Division.


Miners in the Rio Pallanga district of Peru have just built what is believed to be the highest chapel in the world.

It stands 15,000 ft. above sea-level on top of one of the tallest mountain peaks.

For the first time before such an assembly in this country we saw, in the middle of the arena. a representation of the Crucifixion with the nearest approach one can imagine to the scene on Calvary itself. It was as though a priest had turned the printed page of the Missal to that full-page picture of Our Lord upon the Cross which preludes the Canon of the Mass and it had suddenly become alive.

An unnamed priest, wearing only a loincloth—as naked as his Lord had been when the Roman soldiers had torn away His garments—remained on the cross while a voice, in slow, measured tones, told the Gospel story of the Death of Christ.

We saw what might have been a lifeless body taken down from the cross, and watched it, swathed in a white shroud, carried from the arena to an unseen tomb.

ASCENSION• In due time we watched a representation of the Ascension. This seemingly impossible thing was achieved with the genius of simplicity. The white-robed Christus, with the disciples. walked into the arena as though they were going for a time alone into the hills of Judea, the Master speaking gently to those on either hand— and ascended a platform. The disciples gathered closely around him and hid him from our view. A moment later they looked up and gazed steadily into the sky. Then the little crowd broke up and dispersed— and the white figure had gone.

We knew for certain that now, in a different robe, he must be among those walking out of the arena; yet for a moment it was not easy to be too sure what had happened.

From the first, this mime of the Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary at the final rally of the Family Prayer Crusade, had been a triumph of beautiful simplicity; and so well modulated were the succession of voices which gave a commentary throughout the mime that their giant tones seemed as soft as the voice of a priest leading the Stations of the Cross in a village church.


It was in accordance with life as we live it now that these solemn scenes should be preceded by the gay. spirited playing of a band. The band of the Irish Guards opened their programme with the Silver Trumpets— which seemed appropriate enough on a "papa!" occasion (though it was a march by Viviani, not by that Noble Guard, Lieut. Silvestri, who wrote the solemn melody you hear in St. Peter's).

The programme ended with a reminder of the Hierarchy Centenary Congress gathering in this same stadium nearly two years ago— Handers Water Music.

Lieut. 'eager then turned from the band, held up his baton to the 80,000. and directed them in a full-throated singing of "God Save the Queen."

The band left the arena, and almost at once. from different parts of the stadium. the first decade of the living Rosary began to flow on to the green stage.


Each Hail Mary was formed by 10 girls robed all in white. Three small boys in white shirts and grey flannel trousers formed the links between each. and a large group of elder boys, also in white and grey. were grouped to form the Our Father.

From the unseen commentators and from a priest speaking at a microphone on the flower-enclosed white and blue platform from which the speeches were later to be made. came the story of each Mystery as the decades grew; and we prayed the Rosary as they gradually all but encircled the lawn.

From the far entrance whence the Cup teams enter the arena there came the Angel Gabriel and attendant small angels all in gold, their col

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