Page 4, 26th July 1957

26th July 1957
Page 4
Page 4, 26th July 1957 — Scandalous Incident

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People: Donald Attwater
Locations: York, Rome


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Scandalous Incident

By Jotter

from Ceylon

I START this week with an extract from the current number of the " Catholic Gazette " simply ssocked me so deeply. " Recently because the incident it mites has an excellent Catholic student from Ceyoln," the magazine reports with all his leisure time to the lay distress, " who devotes practically apostolate, bought a ticket for a dance to help' a Catholic charity. He was asked to leave because he was coloured." The terrible thing is the juxtaposition of the two words " Catholic charity " with the utterly un-Christian action of insulting, in the name of a Catholic cause, a so-called coloured Catholic. The ignorance, too ! Highly civilised and highly religious people inhabited Ceylon when the ancestors of the " Catholic charity" were woad-painted savages. I am not so naive as to suppose that race and " colour" problems do not exist, even in this country, though they are but a part of social problems that are necessarily always with us. But this has nothing to do with the lack of elementary Christianity and the ignorance and prejudice which can hurt to the quick a fellow-man, let alone a fellow-Catholic, by ostracising him in this way. It seems that either Catholic life and observance are, too often, utterly without meaning, or else ignorance and prejudice are reaching to almost incomprehensible depths.


THE " Catholic Gazette." corn' menting on this incident. states that marriage between white and coloured people is sociologically undesirable. But I think certain distinctions have to be made. Many white peoples, most of them Catholic, have not in fact suffered from marriages between whites and the higher races, even though technically coloured, which they have ruled. The absolute prejudice which the paper seems to support is very much an Anglo-Saxon — and as such mainly Protestant — one. You cannot, of course. change people too soddenly, so at any given time a real problem may exist per accidens; but I see no intrinsic reason for a categorical statement that such marriages are sociologically undesirable. Fundamentally, it is not a question of race or colour, but of totally different backgrounds. Races which are still primitive and with totally alien traditions are unlikely to mix successfully in marriage with whites.

Why Those 26 inches?

WAS asking myself on Sunday what precise reason prompted the " Sunday Express " to allot 26 inches, of which 18 were on the

front page (worrtehaue lot in

revenue, , advertisement for advertisement for

example) to the story headed " Benedictine Monk Becomes a Parson." Though the person in question is to become a clergyman in this country, he is not English himself and his life has been spent abroad, No one is going to teach the " Sunday Express " anything about news-value, so we cannot quibble about that aspect. But in what preciselt does the news-value in this case consist ? Presumably the paper is certain that a large proportion of its millions of readers are today deeply interested in the religious allegiances of men in Holy Orders. Yet it is certain that when scholarly parsons—even English ones—become Catholic priests, they receive no comparable publicity unless they have previously been much in the news. Smeller.: said to me that the paper is biased against Catholics, but I think we see here a perfectly simple example of the newspaper view that it is not news if a dog bites a man, but it is news if a man bites a dog. Whatever the paper's bias, the point of the story cannot have been other than that it was a very rare thing to happen in a subject-matter at present of public interest.

A Dictionary of Mary THERE is, in my view, no better. clearer or more useful Catholic reference book than Donald Attwater's " The Catholic Encyclopaedic Dictionary". Mr. Attwater is a real genius in selection, classification and absolute clarity of language. He also has a horror of extravagance. This book, properly used, puts at the disposal of the layman. the journalist. the writer, everything they can normally possibly want. Therefore, I hail with equal enthusiasm the just published " A Dictionary of Mary " for the very cheap price of 12s. 6d. from Longmans. The same qualities are displayed everywhere in it, though the fact that it was originally produced for America gives it a bit of an American flavour. Manology today is often confused in the minds of many of the faithful, and I was delighted to discover and to learn from headings like " Mary's Mediation " and " Mary and the Redemption." The short statements under such heads offer exact theology in a page or two — and this fact should do a tot to prevent extravagances on the one hand and minimisations on Use other. Here we get the true mind of the Church expressed in detached, yet reverent and a hundred per cent. Catholic writing. At the same time, a new (16tht edition of Addis & Arnold's big " Catholic Dictionary " (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 45s.) has arrived. This revision is by the staff of Wonersh. I can only say that though this reference book has always been on my desk, I have never found it easy to use. It is perhaps more for the theologian than the layman and journalist.

Cardinal York's Church in Rome

Fonow-up to our article last week on Cardinal .York by Cormac Rigby is a note on St. Mary in Portica, the Cardinal's diaconal church, which has reached me from Rome. Cardinal York endowed the shrine of Our Lady in the church with a perpetual legacy for the celebration of Mass every Saturday at 11 a.m., followed by Benediction, for the return of his separated English brethren to the Catholic Church. The practice has been continued without interruption ever since. Visitors to Rome should sisit the Church which is in the most attractive old quarter, Piazza Caropitelli, near the Capitol. The story of the shrine is that in A.D. 524, a marvellous image of Our Lady appeared to a noble Roman lady, St. Wile. while she was distributing food to the poor in the portico of her palace. Miracles and graces have continued ever since and St. Mary in Portico is invoked as " Mary, Harbour of Roman Security."

All for a penny

DAY (July 26) marks the first

anniversary of the little penny paper, printed and published in Lancashire, called the "Catholic Sentinel." One wishes it a very happy birthday, not only because the number of things that can be bought for a penny nowadays has become practically oil, but because it has set itself the aim " to warn everybody—Catholics in particular—of the dangers of Communism.' The danger is not remote if we are to judge by a letter in 'last week's issue which describes how young Irishmen in this country under the Irish flag declaim against partition on a soapbox. The ostensible cause is

good, but " in actual fact, the

speaker is preaching Communist propaganda and is specially anxious to sell young Irishmen

copies of the ' Irish Democrat'

and possibly enlist them in the 'James Connolly Association '. . . . Anyone who has any doubts about the `Connolly Association' should contact their local C.Y.M.S. or the Catholic Trade Unionist Association."

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