Praise where it's due
FROM time to time I have urged people to write to magazines, complaining about undesirable features.
Catholics are numerically strong in the north. It would he quite possible for them to produce a situation in which an editor will say: "Good gracious! We can't have that. It would never go down in the north." Impossible? I don't know if it is still so, but not many years ago a Sunday newspaper which printed sexy serials in England cut them out in their Eire edition.
Even if we could only succeed in "cleaning up " the northern editions of national papers we should have done a great job. But fair's fair ...
MANY magazines (especially the ' women's weeklies) printed pictures of Nativity scenes during the Christmas season. If we are going to be abusive when unpleasant features appear, we should be quick to praise when a paper prints something worthwhile.
After all, we never know what lies behind the decision. Some Christian on the staff of the paper might have put in a great deal of work persuading the editor. Or the editor himself may be making a hopeful experiment.
In other words. some human being somewhere may be very dis
appointed if no one responds with a letter of approval. So a vow to praise good things is something we can add to our list of New Year resolutions.
T WAS talking to a friend recently. A He said: "I never take the CATHOLIC HERALD. WS too leftwing for me.'
This would have come as a shock to me if I had not heard similar things said before. The significant thing is that they are usually said by people who never see the paper rep-lady.
I for one cannot detect any leftwing bias in the CATHOLIC HERALD. My experience, both before and after 1 became a regular contributor. is that there is no editorial bias at all, was never asked my politics when I joined the paper. I have certainly never had anything I have written cut out (except where it has been clear that space is
rationed for example, during the printing dispute).
HOW has this "left-wing" repu tation come into being? Some people, of course, are capable of assuming that because it is called the CATHOLIC HERALD it is something like the " Daily Herald ".
Probably if it were re-christened the "Catholic Express" they would suspect it of Beaverbrook i sm.
Others, perhaps, have picked up a copy casually and found in it art article by a Socialist. If they had looked at the following week's copy they would probably have found in it an article by a Tory.
Then there is a third class of people who think of the paper as " left-wing " because it provides a platform for the views of Catholics who are "progiessive " in their ideas about Church matters.
IF you want a tag to pin on this paper. try ' liberal " . . with,
of course. a small " I In it you will find represented all manner of views. If you are lucky, some of them might even resemble your own.
I have heard it said that the paper stands (amongst other things) for the total and unilateral abolition of nuclear weapons. Well, here is one Cantouc HERALD columnist who doesn't.
And, unless you find "Northern Notebook " has disappeared by next week. you may be pretty sure that contributors are allowed to write exactly what they wishprovided. of course, that they are not guilty of heresy or bad taste.
gOMEONE told me the other day of a brush with a welfare officer. A Catholic wife had just had her sixth baby.
The welfate officer started to lead up to the subject of family planning. Her luck was out. Her opening gambit was:
" I suppose the specialist discussed with you the question of the effect on your health if you had any more children."
" Yes, he did." was the reply. "As a matter of fact he told me that I was perfectly capable of having another six children, and he hoped I would!"
As " Punch " in 1880 might have said; "Exit welfare officer, visibly shaken.'"
AT the start of the New Year ' I extend to every reader my very best wishes for a holy and happy 1960, " Northern Notebook " enters upon its tenth month with a slight raising of the eyebrows at the realisation that time has flitted by so quickly.
Many thanks to those who have written. Buy yourselves a new bottle of ink for 1960.