Page 4, 27th August 1971

27th August 1971
Page 4
Page 4, 27th August 1971 — by Norman St. John Stevas
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by Norman St. John Stevas

A farewell ON July 17, 1964 my first column appeared in the CATHOLIC HERALD. Now just over seven years later it is time to say farewell, and I do so with mingled feelings of relief and regret, which no doubt will he shared by readers.

1 came to the HERALD from the Catholic Pictorial where I had been writing a column for some time. This paper was the official paper of the Liverpool Archdiocese and had approached me to contribute. I did not then and do not now think that a diocesan press is a good thing, but no other Catholic paper had asked me to write for them and Liverpool had the added attraction that the ordinary was Archbishop Heenan. Accordingly I began my career as a Catholic journalist which has lasted nearly a decade.

Some time after I had been doing the Pictorial column I was asked by the CATHOLIC HERALD to abandon the Pic and write for them, but although I never felt that the Pictorial was an ideal metier for me, I felt it would be disloyal to leave them and so declined the offer. Mr. Auberon Waugh was then offered and accepted the column in my place.

This, however, did not prove satisfactory, since the columnist's views at times diverged widely from that of the paper, and while total agreement is not essential in this type of situation, some meeting of minds is. Accordingly 1 was approached again by the HERALD and, Circumstances having changed at Liverpool, I accepted the assignment with the blessing of Archbishop Heenan.

Since then I have worked with three editors. Desmond Fisher, Desmond Albrow and Gerry Noel. It is, I hope, no reflection on the other two if I say that 1 found Desmond Albrow an ideal editor, highly professional, totally loyal to his columnist who often found himself in an exposed position, and both full of ideas and receptive to them. We worked together in complete harmony during the troubled time of Hnunwnae Vitae and we only once had a disagreement which was not over birth control but abortion.

Desmond wanted to excise a passage from art article I had written pointing out that had the birth of 'Our Lord been designed for our own day. the Incarnation would have faced a real danger of being aborted. He thought this too strong for the readers and I thdught it stated the truth, and in the end agreed with a bad grace to its elimination. In the event, for some technical printing reason, it could not be taken out and was duly printed. There was in fact not a peep of protest.

During the seven years I only once deliberately missed copy day, which was due to an unwise sortie on an electric caterpillar provided by David Frost at a party he threw at. the Alexandra Palace. I was robbed of my balance and had to spend three days in bed.




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