Page 4, 21st April 1944

21st April 1944
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Page 4, 21st April 1944 — IN A FEW WORDS
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People: Welch, Joseph Heald
Locations: Stoke-on-Trent

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IN A FEW WORDS

We Are So Strange XSO wonder the foreigner cannot understand us. I heard the other day from a German refugee this story which typifies the English approach.

The refugee and his family (waiting for naturalisation) were living between two English neighbours in a suburban sheet. The refugees often approached their neighbours, hoping in time to be " accepted " into English home life. The response was small. A " goodmorning " in the road. A cup of tea occasionally on Sunday afternoon, nothing more.

Then came the internment order. Papers came for the refugee. He filled them up, and every day he waited for the call. Months passed. His friends had been taken off, but he was left. It is a mystery unsolved to this day, but he discovered that, unbeknown to him, his neighbours, whom be felt he hardly knew, had gone to the authorities and said, " Do not take away our Dr. X, we are his friends. We will vouch for him."

Rabbits MY query about the custom of say1.I jag " Rabbits," or rather " White rabbits," as I now remember, as one's first words at the beginning of each month, has brought me a number of replies. One writer, Miss Nichols, of Stoke-on-Trent, says " it is breathed with the air of Albion." She points out that some people insist that " hares" be the last word uttered in the previous month. She continues: " In Germany it is an Easter hare who lays the Easter eggs that children find in the garden. The only other furry animal that lays eggs is, I believe. the duck-billed platypus. Thousands of years ago there was evidently some rabbit god in Central and South Africa. Native legends, brought back by tactful missionaries, make this fairly certain. In them the rabbit seems to represent the power of harmlessness (positive harmlessness) to survive and to help others. Brer Rabbit strikes mo as a slightly adulterated echo of the African Rabbit Cycle."

Another' writer reverses the position and says that " Rabbits " is the last word to be said and " Hares " the first next morning. He adds that one should walk upstairs to bed backwards, a difficult feat at school, as he points out, when someone is watching to stop you doing it.

The Recited Mass

FATHER Joseph Heald, an authority on liturgical matters whose articles some of our readers have enjoyed, sends me a little booklet called The People's Mass. with a note saying: " You know I regard the usual ' Dialogue Mass ' as a liturgical anomaly and a dangerous abuse." But he believes that people should learn to answer and recite aloud the parts which are sung. I don't know whether he means that the Low Mass should be a " Recited Mass " in that sense. If so, this is a new departure to me. The text in Latin and English is given, but no quantities arc marked in the Latin, which is surely a pity.

Cleaning a Cesspool

FATHER Lord, S..1., columnist in American Catholic papers, tells the story of how American planes lost their pictures which had been developing in an unsavoury direction.

" lt became a custom for a time, if you remember," he said, " for the newsreels to show us pictures of our big planes with paintings on their sides. They started with a comedy touch, an insult hurled defiantly at the enemy, a symbol of crude but vigorous humour. Then the paintings started to become more and more sexy. An officer friend was telling me about this, and bow the newsreels grew in indecency and suggestiveness, and how youthful imagination found a new release and gave itself free rein. And then all that stopped. The planes that were flown to England were without decoration.

" But it happens that we Americans had nothing to do with the cleanup. English dignity turned the trick. Some perhaps obscure English nobleman was nosing around a field where the newly arrived bombers were laid down by their pilots, and he came across a plane

unmistakably branded. It bore the picture of an asinine English nobleman, the sort of caricature long familiar to American humour. The plane was christened ' Lord Cesspool.' Promptly the English lord raised the roof. He appealed directly to his Government, which spoke to the Americans who control such minor features of war, which Americans issued orders—and the insult to English nobility resulted in the cleaning up of the bombers."

The Douai Version

TURNING the leaves of Mgr. Knox's -5 version of the Now Testament, I was reminded of what a correspondent said about the version which, it may be hoped, it will replace. " It is impossible," said this writer, " to make the Douai version readable or popular. Not only is it unintelligible in places, but it lacks rhythm and exaltation, By Its stilted phraseology it gives to Bible. reading the same kind of unnatural atmosphere as is conveyed by a parsoni. cal voice." My own criticism could be scarcely expressed more aptly. This correspondent suggests that the best way out of the difficulty would be for the Church to remove the ban on the

Authorised Version after correcting the few passages in it to which there is doctrinal objection.

A Modern New Testament

mGR. Knox's version has removed 1'1 many of these blemishes. It is easy to read and has gone far to clarify the meaning of obscure passages. I doubt, however, whether the colloquial style adopted, in strong contrast to the A.V., is the proper medium for the original. It fails to convey what my correspondent calls the " rhythm " and " exaltation " of the Protestant Bible. which, it should be remembered, was translated in the classic period of our language. between Shakespeare and Milton. Mgr. Knox has not altogether escaped the effect on the English tongue of an age which willingly sacrifices dignity and depth to popularity.

The New " Anvil"

DEFYING Christianity to cure our social evils is a la mode to-day, and it was left to Fr. Agnellus Andrew. 0.F,M., in the revived broadcast " Anvil " on Sunday to restore a true balance by reminding listeners that these evils will be remedied in proportion to our success in being good on earth and in ensuring our eternal salvation in the next life. " Seek ye first . .", in other words. It all came through a questioner wondering what use there is in calling on God to help man's dilemma when Russia solved it without God. One " Anvil "-ler politely suggested the question was being begged by saying he just didn't know what Russia had in fact accomplished in this respect. incidentally, the new "Anvil" is more true to its name, for, as the chairman, Dr. Welch, said, it will not guarantee to answer questions, but to furnish listeners with matter for further discussion among themselves.

JOTTER




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