More About Relics
Our Lady's Veil
MY recent note on the veneration of relics whose authenticity may well be dubious did not please some of my readers—any more than it pleased me. But at least let us not suppose that the veneration of such relics today, as the result of traditional pieties, has anything in common with the traffic in relics just before the Reformation. The Church cannot do everything at once, but, as I said, the precedent of Saint Philomena shows that the Church is prepared to act--even if this involves some considerable hurt to the traditional pieties of the faithful. The difficulty of the whole subject was brought home to me by the announcement that a relic of " Our Lady's Veil " would be carried during Walsingham's National Pilgrimage. I did not want to upset anyone's devotion during the Pilgrimage. so I have postponed comment until this week. Attwater's "A Dictionary of Mary " makes it quite clear that relics of Out Lady are very late and are usually " relics by association ". There would be a tradition that a piece of fabric had touched a supposed relic of Our Lady's robe—or much more likely, a piece of fabric would have been part of the dress of a venerated or miraculous statue of Our Lady. Thus " Our Lady's Veil" is probably a piece of a veil that had adorned an ancient statue. Attwater further points out that ecclesiastical authentication of a relic is a negative, rather than positive, guarantee. It states that we cannot be sure that it is false. In this country, the "hand of St. James" at Marlow is not publicly venerated because of its uncertain history. This would surely be a good precedent to follow wherever possible.
Cricket and Politics
IDO HOPE the imagination of Captain Renaud and the virility of the Australian team, as compared with the lack of imagination of Captain May and the lack of virility of the English team under him, is no pointer to the failure of our adventure in seeking admission to the Common Market. If the "never had it so good Britain" is going to compete with the Common Market in so negative a spirit, then let us stick to the Commonwealth and rely on the Australians to help us along.
IN conection with my note on burial or cremation, Peter Anson refers to a "Report from Japan" by a Maryknowle missionary in "Liturgical Arts", May, 1960. It says that in the new church of Our Lady of Kuwana "the large window behind the altar is made up of little caves of glass bricks in which are placed the ashes of the deceased, as cremation is the usual practice in Japan." In each cave is a leather purse with the ashes, with a name plaque, so that the deceased can share in the Mass.
HAVING had occasion to look up some of our pre-war CATHOLIC HERALD files—and what a fascinating week-by-week history of Catholicism in this country they make—I suddenly came across a picture of the late Michael Derrick, looking incredibly young at the age of 22. He was writing in a series called " Things I Badly Want To Say". The article was an impassioned expression of belief in the future of Catholicism in America and of Roosevelt: "Let us remember what manner of man is leading America; and let us make some real effort towards understanding and establishing contact with Catholicism there. That is what I badly want to say. America should be more to us than the land of Cab Calloway, racketeering, baseball and the Marx brothers. It is a land where the Church's teaching has an enormous and growing influence, and where the Church herself is displaying a magnificent vitality. We are much too apt to think that Europe is the Faith." Today it is clear that both America and Europe are the "Faith" in a degree hardly imaginable in 1938.
A puzzle resolved
THE same search in our files gave me the answer to an old puzzle. Readers today would be surprised to see in the "C.H " before the war the keenness of discussion about Liturgical reform, even including the question of parts of the Mass in the vernacular. When critics thought this too daring, . used to reply by quoting Fr. Martindale, who (1 thought) had told me that in an audience with Pope Pius XI he had been assured that while the matter was a grave one. there could be no objection to its being discussed. Many, many years later. Fr. Martindale said to me: " Pius X! never said anything to me on this subject". But now I see that Fr. Martindale wrote in the CATHOLIC HERALD of June 23. 1937, that a Roman prelate had told him that the Pope had expressed to him the view that there was no objection to the subject being discussed.
No Crackpots need apply
GOVERNESS HOUSEKEEPER wanted for serene and happy household. Beautiful country home in Cotswold Hills, You may as well know that we arc spiritualists and occultism. Buddhist and Christian and we want our children to be taught the Truth. Mother is a median,. father a healer. We will sound insane to most who read this advertiNemcnt. We want the person to whom we sound refreshingtY sane. No crackpots need apply. Esacilent I was told the other day of a Catholic criticised for Catholic mumbo-jumbo in the way of "prayer-wheel" repetition of the same prayer as in the rosary. The answer given was that men naturally repeat words and actions to give them emphasis. "Can you imagine," he added, "the school captain standing up after the prizegiving and calling for 'One Cheer' for the headmaster?"
(from the advertisement columns of a daily newspaper)
Ten Hail Marys for Our Lady
salary.--Please write in longhand i wc are also graphologists) . .