By Jotter News with a moral
R EAD I NG the " Osservatore " recently. .1 have noticed an increasing preoccupation with the disregard of marital ties and family responsibilities among people in the news, especially in the film and sporting world. To make its point last week, the Vatican paper referred to debates in Italy as to whether animals possessed more than just instincts. The discussion was based on the evidence that after a sow had had 14 piglets, the farmer sold the latter to a peasant living some distance away. The sow, deprived of her young, refused all food, and after three days worked her way out Of the sty. Three days later she was banging and grunting at the entrance of the sty where her young were kept. The farmer, one is glad to learn, bought hack the piglets. The " Osservatore " cornments severely: " From this we see that many a star of the film and the sporting world has something to ponder over. Beasts can become news because they behave admirably; men and women reach the headlines through behaving execrably."
Critics of Portugal
I LUNCHED last week with a friend who has lived for many years in Portugal, knows the country thoroughly and is in touch with everyone. I could not get her to sympathise with any of the violent criticisms of the country which appear in our left press. " It's simply no use thinking that Portugal would get on under our democratic system," she said. " People will not credit the country with the quiet progress she is making. Political prisoners today are only a handful, and as for the slums and shanty-towns, Portugal's problem is much the same in principle as ours. The building of houses cannot catch up with the increasing population. You have to think ot Portugal as socially at about the level of Britain at the turn of the century." She thought that Fatima had had a big effect on the level of Portuguese Catholicism. But she did not altogether dissent when I suggested that a better alternative to the Salazar form of dictatorship would be a strictly limited form of Parliamentary constitution with restricted suffrage and the final word with a President, playing the same part as an 18th cenlry British monarch.
He lost his church
IT is rarely that one comes across a priest who cannot find his own church. I was travelling by train to Brighton for a Brains Trust organised by that excellent and growing work " St. Mary's House for the Elderly," and my old friend, Father D. O'Kane. for so long parish priest of rural Edenbridge, met me at the station to show me his new church, St. Mary's, Preston Park. What with his very recent arrival, the dark, endless criss-cross roads of urban Brighton and the fact that the church is not attached to he presbytery, we had to do quite a bit of driving before we reached our destination. Fr. O'Kane, with the energy that created a real country parish out of a wilderness, is already planning the building of the sanctuary at St. Mary's which was left unfinished before the first war. Unlikely in his new home to find pheasants and partridges on which to expend his surplus energy. I am sure he will make short work of the task he has already set himself.
Dominican beats George IV
THE Brains Trust, which was very well attended. at least was unique in its setting: the Music Room of the Brighton Pavilion. The Regency extravagance and exuberance of exotic art produced a serious session rather than a riot, however. Perhaps the grave and wise personality of Fr. Hilary Carpenter, so often elected Dominican Provincial, was too much for the aura of George IV. One theme seemed to me to run through answers to many questions: how much Catholic work, like any other, depends on money. Effective Catholic action, after-care of prisoners, Catholic documentary films how well members of the panel showed how the scope for necessary development was being held up at present because the cash is just not there 1 am told that TV discussions and brains-trusts are reviving the popularity of these functions in which so much can be painlessly indeed entertainingly learnt, But may I plead with organisers to keep the numbers down. Four. I think, should be the maximum and if possible the speakers should be seated in an arc and without a table. A sense of intimacy is needed. In this case, the best discussion was between the speakers in the train returning to London.
The Great Amen
IN an excellent instruction on the Mass, the preacher eloquently described to the congregation the importance of the "Great Amen" which solemnly closed the most solemn central part of the Mass. Loudly, the celebrant, he told us. Sang or raised his voice as he ended the great doxology Per ipsutn, et cunt ipso etc with the words per °mina saecula saeculorum and loudly the whole congregation responded with their great "Amen," Stop. Then begins the Communion part of the Mass. One could not help wondering, as one listened, not only why today there is no great Amen from the people, but why most Catholics, like myself, are left to suppose that this per amnia, so far from having any connection with what goes before, is actually the introduction of the Pater Nosier, For whether at High Mass or a Low Mass. the per otnnia is run with the Orettuts of the Pater Nosier. "For ever and ever Amen let us pray ..." I know one priest who makes a long pause, but he is a celebrated liturgist. But it does seem a pity that the centuries have allowed the meaning and the symbolism of the Mass to become thus confused.