RAZING cities to the ground is very much in my mind as last Sunday I drove
through Coventry. I have often suggested here that bombing does not leave such bad traces as one is apt to imagine--but with Coventry it is different. The sight is truly appalling: a city with its beating heart twisted out by brute force. Just enough remains, particularly the lovely cathedral spire, to give the horrible impression that the town remains bleeding and in a death agony.
But there was some consolation to be derived from those parts, since in a pub between Coventry and Birmingham I was given the finest plate of ham and the best lump of cheese I have seen for six months. I can only hope that this means that the authorities have seen to it that they gel more food there than we do in safer areas.
THE cleaning-up process after the untidia nes. foisted upon us by Hitler last week involved the 'bus that brought me to the London office in a considerable diversion. Round and round the streets we went—the traffic blocks reminding one of the best
things of their type in peace-time. It was quite an adventure, and at length, with a great sense of achievement and minds full of blitz and the effect thereof, we arrived in Fleet Street.
was soon brought hack to earth, for the first thing I saw on alighting from she 'bus was an improvised poster announcing "Captain Blank's selections for the day." That sort of thing certainly restores one's perspective
A National Lottery
THE war has brought so many changes that I am wondering whethei a national lottery may not be accepted in the end as a ready way of raising further money and of reducing consumption. Actually, I have never heard the question raised—which is a tribute to the tough Nonconformist spirit of the country that objects to the gambling ekmeta in lotteries. Catholic countries. as far as I know, have never objected to them, and in many of them vast sums both for the State and for charity are raised by lotteries. Gambling in moderation and within one's means is not immoral, according to most of our theologians, so Cathlics would be the first to enjoy the fun and to contribute yet further to the National Exchequer. Good Shepherd Sunday, 1941 RI( the Good Shepherd we were told " To feed His lambs and sheep;
Lest wolves should come and scatter them, He bade us close watch keep.
How then the more effectively Shall we our Lord obey Than by providing children's homes With funds to pay their way?
There are Crusade of Rescue Homes Which lie in Westminster, With Southwark next, and Liverpool, Salford, and Lancaster While Father Hudson's Children's Homes Meet Birmingham's gieat needs, Others serve Clifton, Shrewsbury, Plymouth, Northampton, Portsmouth, Leeds.
Give him a Costennonger's Barrow
A HAVE always felt that it was tragic as well as amusing that minds seemingly incapable of assimilating truths that might bear upon their preconceived notions and prejudices did nevertheless expose themselves to the annoyance they obviously feel upon reading the case for the opposition, Our correspondence brought us this indictment of Mr. J. L. Benvenisti this week :
" The theoretic vapourings of your Mr. Benvenisti are extremely foolish. Give him E50 and a costermonger's barrow for three months and let him learn something about business. Individual enterprise has made this country and raised the whole national standard of living. If you want a job done quickly and with understanding the individual firm will do it best and at lowest cost. A big firm or a Government Department wastes time and money."
After further such arguments our correspondent returns to the personal attack. " For goodness sake send Benvenisti into the cold world of active business; if a costermonger's barrow is too hard a lite, put him in a small general stores somewhere, with an initial capital and no subsidy. II he makes a success of it and can earn a living he will be able to write with sense, if he fails it will show he is an incompetent theorist whose writings are worthless." The fallacy that mere practice gives intuitive knowledge never dies.
The Prayer Card and Baptism
ISEE that queries abow the orthodoxy of the " Prayer Card " which Fr, Owen Dudley, at the request of the Cardinal, has distributed in such immense quantities, has been discussed in the Irish Ecclesksrical Record. Someone has objected to the statement in the explanatory letter that " the Acts of Faith, Hope, Love and Contrition on the Card are sufficient by themselves, if sincerely made, to place a person, baptised or unbaptised in a state of grace." There teems, it is contended, an implied suggestion that Baptism is no: necessary But the learned theologian discussing the objection holds that this statement can be understood in a true senss On the other hand, he leans to the opinion that it may create a false impression both by reason of what it seems to imply and by what it omits to express, namely, " the grave obligation of receiving the sacrament on the first available opportunity " But this seems rather an objection against the explanatory letter, which could be made fuller, rather than against the Card itselt.
Hell Fire Club and Pigotts
I CAME across, in a recent number of the New York Herald Tribune Book Supplement, an unexpected reference to Eric Gill and Pigotts In a review of Massing. ham's Chiltern Country I read: " Tourists know this part of England by its show-places, which are many; historians of literature by the shrines around Jordana; sensation lovers by the sinister Hell Fire Club of the eighteenth century, whose pagan church still stands—redeemed perhaps by the near-by serenity of Eric Gill's homeworkshop at Pigotts, near High Wycombe."
It had not occurred to me to contrast Pigotts with the Hell Fire Club, though indeed Pigotts stands on a ridge to the right of the magnificent valley that sweeps up the Chilterns from Church Hill. I wonder who the reviewer was, for the idea does not occur in • the book. One of the saddest sights of the Chilterns these days is the way the timber is being rapidly cut down—to fetch, no doubt, the fancy prices offered, but also we must remember to free shipping for other goods.
German and British Methods
0NE still comes across a number of dis torted minds who are ready to judge the Germane by a totally different standard from the one they apply to ourselves. And they are particularly annoyed to find that because one may be known for being a severe critic of aspects of our national behaviour in the past and to-day, one remains
an equally severe critic of the Nazis. I find the best retort to those who excuse everything the Nazis have done is to tell them just what we should have done to Eire, had we adopted Nazi standards. Long ago we should have taken the Treaty Ports, as well as any other places we might think useful, under the pretext that we were anticipating German action. Eire would have resisted Whereupon we should have sent 500 bombers to raze Dublin to the ground in half a day. I recommend this thought to Irishmen and Americans, who hold that there is nothing to choose between the two sides.
" Sinistra, Sinistra!"
I READ that one of the conditions of the A surrender of Asmara, capital of Eritrea. was the use of the English rule of the road, so that Italian police had to go about shout ing wildly " Sinistra I Sinistra I" But it appears from a cutting on my desk that in thus adopting the " Keep to the Left " rule, the Eritreans were also being led back to Roman orthodoxy, for it seems that Pope Gregory the Great ievented the rule,
According to this account he promulgated it at the Milvian Bridge 1.300 years ago, and it was thc French of the French Revolution who led Eurqpe into the heresy of " Keep to the Right."
"What Do I Do If— ?"
DEGEN, of Swadlincote, Burton-on1 Trent, has kindly sent me a much more serious version of the " What Do I Do . ." formula. It will help many. Here it is.
What do I do . . when sirens warn me of the approach of enemy aircraft?
As soon as I hear an air-raid warning, I make the Sign of the Cross with care and reverence—realising that it is an act of Faith in: 1. The three Persons of the Blessed Trinity.
2. The death of our Lord, Jesus Christ. on the Cross for my salvation.
Then I make a sincere Act of Contrition and say the " Hail Mary."
Having done this, I leave my soul with complete confidence in the hands of ray Heavenly Father.
Every now and again—until the "All Clear " signal is given, I pray for the welfare of those near and dear to me, for the converston of sinners, for a holy death for the dying and for other intentions. I also invoke the Angels and Saints—especially my own Guardian Angel and my Patron Saints. If I am nervous, I don't let others see it, but set them an example of cheerfulness and courage in the face of danger.