THE day of the lay Pope is not cause if John Braine gets the it. "When I become Pope," he says (editor of the New Statesmen), Graham Greene and the editor of here yet, and perhaps it's just as well bejob quite a few people had better watch , "I shall excommunicate Paul Johnson Lord Longford, Archbishop Roberts, the CATHOLIC HERALD.
"I may well revive the HoIs Office. and if I do Paul Johnson will he frizzled to a crisp in Great Turnstile. Lord Longford is a nice man so he'll simply be made to eat the bread of affliction all his life in a deep dungeon." of the patty reserves his For the rest Mr. Braine judgment. For the rest Mr. Braine judgment.
What. you may well ask. have all these gentlemen done to incur the displeasure of the eminent author of Room at the Top? Its nothing personal: just that they are all. iccording to his hook Lefties. And for Mr. Braine. a former Lefty, now turned very Rights. that's quite enough.
But they arc not the only ones who will be suppressed under the new Vatican regime. Mr. Braine insists that all Lefties will he excommunicated once he's established in the See of Peter.
"It is impossible." he says with disarming finality. "for a Christian to he a Socialist. I see no future at all for the Church if the progressives take over. We will increase our influence only if the progressives are held hack and we stand fast in our fundamental beliefs.
"Once you get too progressive you reach the stage where clergymen stand up and say Christ was a homosexual. It is progressives and Socialists who have murdered the Church of England. That is why people become converts because they know where the Catholic Church stands.
John Braine is 45 and one of the country's most successful writers. Ro,im art the Top, which was made into a film and earned him thousands was followed by Life at the Top in 1962 and The Jealous. God— dealing with Northern Catholics— in 1964.
lie's working on a new novel called The Crying Game, set in London and all about young unmarried men at the time of life when they have nothing to do but get on in life and enjoy themselves.
Braine was born in Bradford and lived near there all his life until last year when he moved to Surrey. "I just needed a change and besides. I like to be surrounded by prosperity."
He says he first saw the light of Capitalism in 1964 when he was in America. "For the first time in my life I felt completely free. Now I think that the choice between Communism and Capitalism is clear-cut: between Capitalism with all its faults and Communism which has no virtues. "There is no longer any time to debate," Braine says. "The issues are absolutely straightforward and all the more so since the rulers of Russia are rapidly achieving a detente with the West which doesn't solve anything but just means a fairly settled truce in agreeing to differ.
"But the Lefties believe a detente is the same thing as a rapprochement because they are so bloody illiterate and their knowledge of French is as bad as their knowledge of English. I'm quite happy to have a detente. I don't believe we can have world peace. At best we can achieve a balance of terror."
Braine sees Lefties—"I use that word because it annoys them" -behind every tree. even in the Daily Telegraph. '`They have infiltrated everywhere." he says. "Under capitalism, even in its most brutal form. there is always a chance of a better life. Under Communism there is no chance and no freedom."