Compassion on the Multitude AT a Brains Trust organised by 4 the C.S.G. in the hall of Belgian Church parish, Camden Town, we heard a great deal of learned chatter, but the profoundest remark I beard came from the parish priest, Fr. Van Zuyt, whose charity and love of his fellow-men is well known. We were chatting together after the show and discussing the way in which quite well-paid people are still content to put coppers in the plate. Said Fr. Van Zuyt: "I don't think you can really blame them; they are so used to doing it." I have a feeling that Our Lord might have said much the same.
On Hampstead Heath THE spell of sunshine brought a record crowd last Sunday afternoon to Hampstead Heath, Jack Straw's Castle, the pond and the donkeys, a friend tells me. Among them he noticed Lord and Lady Pakenham and four of their
children. The Minister of Civil Aviation. however. like all other fathers of boys, had to give his attention to boats. The stiff breeze made for wrecks and records in sail. While the speed-boat experts, young and old. attracted their crowds, the two heroes of the Catholic Evidence Guild, a man and a young woman, had not a single idler to listen to their most valiant attempts to rouse interest in " The Trinity " and the "Worship of the Virgin Mary." Can there be any more severe test of a speaker than to have to address nobody and be interrupted every few minutes by a string of four donkeys ridden and led by laughing children passing immediately beneath the rostrum? Maybe if the pitch had been opposite the donkey mounting point where waiting parents crowded, there might have been more listeners. But the police may assign the pitch, I don't know, I only know how much he admired the effort.
Priest Weds Girl I T is always interesting to note the way in which the national dailies use up the extra space allotted to them. Thus the Daily Mail devotes a two-column heading with nearly a full column of story on its front page to the news. "Roman Catholic Priest to Wed Catholic Girl." One is of course glad to think that on the Fleet Street principle that " man bites dog " is news, this unhappy and highly exceptional episode is news. But the space allotment is surely peculiar.
Religious Masters and the Ferula WHEN I saw in the Times a letter iv It headed "Corporal Punishment " and glanced at the signature, John G. Vance, I made a completely accurate guess at the contents of the letter. I mention this. not in any spirit of criticism of Mgr. Vance, whom I have never met, but merely because I have so often noted that religious schoolmasters of a certain degree of experieuce practically always defend corporal punishment on the lines of how much good it did to them. They may well be right, both about its effects on themselves and about its general value. I certainly have no special views, one way or the other, on the subject. But it is interesting to try to trace the psychological and/or doctrinal reasons for this consensus of opinion —if I am right in supposing it to exist. I may as well confess that during a very brief experience of schoolmastering I was quite unable to keep order, whether with or with out recourse to the ferule. I am sure that in this I totally differ from the former distinguished Headmaster
of the Vaughan School. At the same time, I did get results and made many lifelong friends, which 1 am sure he does, too—and in much greater measure,
Matisse—Religious Artist FROM Time I learn that Matisse, aged 79, is at work on religious paintings, including the fourteen Stations of the Cross, for a Dominican convent near his home. He takes this work in his life stride, saying: "In my own way I have always sung the glory of God and His creations. I have not changed." I hope this news will impress those who hold that all modernist art is of the Devil. But I doubt whether Picasso will imitate Matisse in this development.
The Kinsey Report A FRIEND in America sent me " some months ago a copy of the Kinsey Report which is supposed to have created a sensation in that country. I found it far too dull to read, though I have little doubt that it is calculated to do an immense amount of harm. It had not occurred to me that anyone would publish it in this country since even as a soi-disant scientific book it is in parts dangerously realistic. The book attempts the quite absurd feat of analysing male sexual behaviour on the basis of a sort of complex poll of a tiny section of Americans and on the hypothesis that a man's behaviour in this respect can be completely divorced from every other side of his personality. In so far as the book attains its purpose, it is a dreadful indictment of the contemporary American, but I prefer to believe that if you start on the presumption that men can be looked as nothing but animals, plus " reason," and analyse on the basis of those conditions, you will infallibly conclude that he is a stud animal, plus a reason that merely ministers to this function.
The Miracle of Fatima THE January 3 issue of Life. which
a reader has kindly sent me, contained a very interesting illustrated feature on " The Miracle of Fatima." Among the pictures is included a full-page story of the Bishop of Leira, who is now an old man nearing 80, with the sealed envelope containing Lucia's account of Our Lady's last prophecy which is not to be opened until 1960. There are also three rather disappointing, but nevertheless interesting, pictures taken on Oct. 13, 1917, the day of the public miracle.
The Little Pupshe-dog ACORRESPONDENT from Ham
burg tells me that my " respectable joke" about gondolas (anyhow I think it came in Fr. Basset's column) is at least 45 years old. And he sends me this anecdote which may be younger but isn't so good: " My son has got a little pupshedog, and this dog has a little brother who belongs to Dorrit's uncle, and who had met that very day with a serious accident, being still in a very precarious condition. While Dorrit was baying her tea, the little dog kept on begging, as all dogs will do, and so at last Dorrit burst out indignantly: You should better be praying for your little brother, instead of begging all the time."
From a Letter DEAREST Jotter: In omnibus caritas. You must surely know that this is not a Calvinist hymn. For Heaven's sake do not imitate the uncharitable—of-----(another paper is mentioned).
But I was told by a former Nonconformist that it is a Calvinist hymn.