EDITED BY KEVIN MAYHEW
y MENTIONED recently in this column an inter' national group of prelates who, at the end of the Vatican Council, signed what has now become known as Schema 14. This was an unofficial document having as its theme poverty as an intrinsic sign of the Church.
A correspondent hastened to tell me that Bishop Worlock of Portsmouth should have been mentioned in the list of prelates. But when I asked him about this the Bishop told me that although he shares many of the views of the signatories of Schema 14, particularly about poverty and simplicity, he would find some difficulty about the undertaking only to use public transport. "If I am to try to co-ordinate the work of the Church in the diocese, I must make myself available to as many people as possible as often as possible," he said. "In territory like this, to rely on buses and trains would reduce the efficient exercise of my task by at least 50 per cent."
The Bishop's everyday dress is a plain black cassock and a wooden cross. Known in London when he was Monsignor Worlock as "The Mon", he now admits that he prefers to be called "Father" and dislikes "My Lord" as a form of address. Though some in his diocese were a little apprehensive at first, most of the priests and people now follow this.
Bishop Worlock accepts that there are those who would regard this as a gimmick. "Basically it should not make the slightest difference to people what is the colour of my cassock-buttons, or even what they call me," he says. "Certainly it would be nonsense for me to issue regulations on the subject. What does matter is the relationship between myself, the other priests and the people. If such things as titles and purple sashes are in any way a barrier to some, perpetuating the 'us and them' mentality, then I think that in my case they are better dropped. But this is a purely personal view, and we must try to keep a sense of proportion about these things."
The Bishop is known to attach great importance to this question of relationship between priests and people. "If the relationship is right, and consultation becomes the normal thing," he says, "then all will have the chance of playing their part in the mission of the Church. It is useless to try to impose a common structure on every parish. Some structure may prove to strengthen that relationship, but to impose a common structure on each parish before the right relationship is established would be to restrict the proper development of an apostolic spirit within the parish community."
STILL on Bishop Worlock, I hear that someone was trying to ring him recently but couldn't find his number in the telephone directory. So the caller got onto the operator: "I can't find the Bishop of Portsmouth listed, can you help me, please?" And came the answer: "Have you tried under the name of the licensee?"
Escape from boredom
31HE kind of people the Hoar Cross Centre organisers are looking for are the boys and girls who always seem to be trying to escape from apathy and boredom, who hunt for adventure in the streets and coffee bars, who find themselves in the world of knives. knuckle dusters and purple hearts.
Hoar Cross Centre is an enterprise to give young people the stimulus that youth needs—physical, mental and spiritual. It's all going to centre around a magnificent house set in wooded country. A supercentre with sports fields, adventure courses, swimming pool, gymnasium and the rest. There will be about 70 bedrooms and, say the organisers, "there is ample room for scores of young people for weekends or longer periods."
Behind the scheme is the Community of the Glorious Ascension, an order started in 1960 to devote itself to youth. Already the younger members of the Community have been getting things ready at Hoar Cross, sleeping rough, clearing the gardens and preparing the house. The Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop Dwyer of Birmingham are among the patrons of the scheme which will cost £300,000.
The Centre is 24 miles from Birmingham and within easy distance of a dozen more large Midland towns. If the organisers realise their dream, Hoar Cross will be open by the end of the year.
Comments by 400-plus
rr HE editor confided this week that when he decided to publish the alternative mass texts in the CATHOLIC HERALD in April he expected a response of somewhere around 50. True, one or two reminders were given, but when we came to tally up the replies we found that more than 400 had responded to the invitation to comment.
Something like double this number have replied direct to Mgr. Humphries, who is collecting all the comments prior to sending them off to the International Liturgical Commission who will have the task of sifting them and finally of producing the definitive text.
I have been looking through the comments sent to our office and I imagine the Commission will be well pleased with the contribution of British Catholics. Certainly the opportunity given for making comments was appreciated and almost every letter received here mentioned this fact Neither of the versions published emerged as a clear winner—most people seemed to want a bit of this and a bit of that—but the general pattern of the replies was "make it simple yet dignified". The Cornmission has quite a task ahead of it.
A cosmopolitan touch
THEY'VE got a nice cosmopolitan atmosphere down in Woodcote. The simple stained timber church they've built themselves might have come straight out of the Tyrol, there's a parishioner called Franz Lehar, and the parish priest speaks Magyar, the dominant language of Hungary.
Robert Laffan, an ex-Cambridge don, tells me that he and his fellow Woodcote Catholics, who are a very small minority in this 17th century village just outside Reading, opened the £9,000 church in May. Until then they used a hut for Mass. With such small numbers it seemed almost impossible to build a church. Then someone left them £6,500 and they got started on the new church, which will seat 160.
The Franz Leber parishioner is a nephew of Franz "The Merry Widow" Lehar and he came to England from Canada two years ago with his wife and 15 children. He's now a London music publisher (no prize for guessing where most of his royalties come from) and was pleasantly surprised to be welcomed to the parish by a letter in Magyar written by the parish priest.
Ancient vigil re-staged
AVIGIL staged in Canterbury nearly 1,400 years ago is being repeated in the interests of Christian Unity—at the same church. The church is that dedicated to St. Martin of Tours outside Canterbury's city wails.
There, in the year 597, Bertha, the wife of King Ethelbert of Kent, and her chaplain, Bishop Lindhard, welcomed St. Augustine on his heroic enterprise to convert the heathen English. Bertha was a Frankish princess who had been converted to the Christian faith before her marriage to Ethelhert, whose kingdom of Kent, in which Canterbury is located, was the leader of the numerous petty Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of that day.
For 35 years Bertha maintained a vigil at the church which is now considered to have been of great importance to the conversion of south-east England. Now, every Thursday, the same church is the scene of a vigil and day of prayer for Christian Unity, observed by the sisters of the Community of St_ Andrew, who are on the staff of the parish of St. Martin.
It begins with the celebration of Holy Communion by a student of St. Augustine's College, the central college of the Anglican Communion, and for the rest of the day the church is open for silent prayer and reflection on the 17th chapter of St. John: "Neither pray for I these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; and thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
A Church of England announcement says it is hoped to build round the vigil an organisation to be known as the Friends of St. Martin's, which would seek to provide a forum for pilgrims from all over the world. It is also hoped that a quarterly paper may be published for people of all denominations and nationalities.
The Catenian image
SOMETHING like 500 Catenians and their wives descended on Brighton at the weekend for their annual general meeting, banquet and ball. It seemed a suitable occasion for the image of the organisation to be put on record.
Bishop Cashman—who had been described by one speaker as "not just the most switched-on Bishop, but the latest transistorised model"—thought the Catenians might want to do a little re-thinking on the matter.
"I would not like the Catcnians to deserve an image as the People of God dressed for dinner and ' dancing," he said. "I would like to sec the virtues which you show to one another—charity and zeal— applied on a world-wide basis. Our minds, hearts and physical efforts must be within the Church in its efforts to help mankind."
Mr. S. P. Quick, the new Grand President, told me that "the object of the association is to provide relaxation for its members. Of course," he added, "many members take a most active part in Churchlife as individuals and we shall continue to encourage this, but I don't think we can do anything as an organisation."
No "exception" to Jesuits?
IHEAR from Berne that Jesuits may soon be allowed into Switzerland again. An unofficial, predominantly Protestant research group which includes several members of the Swiss Government, has recommended the abolition of clauses in the federal constitution that discriminate against religion.
These clauses include one that bans Jesuits from Switzerland, another that regulates the number of convents permitted in the country, and others that govern Jewish dietary laws.
The Swiss government set up a commission to report on the advisability of suppressing the discriminatory laws, known as "articles of exception", but it worked so slowly that several unofficial groups formed and issued their own reports.
There seems to be a growing consensus among the Swiss that these articles are not only outdated, but throw a shadow on Switzerland's reputation.