Edited by KEVIN MAYHEW
THE Franciscan Friars of the Atonement had a rabbit-hutch of a stand near the High Altar. They were busy sticking up pictures when I arrived. "Oh." said Fr. Blase, their Superior, "it's you. Now you write a nice piece about me or kill you."
Fr. Blase is one third of his Order in England. With two Brothers he runs the Catholic Central Library at Westminster, and doubles up as Cardinal Heenan's press officer. Another third of the order, Brother Pius, was helping him man the stand.
"Hey Pi," says Fr. Blase, "d'you think that picture's gonna stick? Put a nail in it. This guy's taking notes of what we're saying. You wanna take a picture of me. Let me take my glasses off. That's how my mother likes me.
"You want me to say something about the Exhibition? Well, I'll tell you don't expect immediate results. You're planting a seed. The family is conditioned by seeing all these things so that parents know what sort of atmosphere the child is going into. The child may treat it as a funfair where he can collect a lot of material and maybe even add his name to a mailing list.
"It's only after weeks, months or years that some fruit may come. Anyway, this is one of the few times that many religious have an opportunity of direct contact with the ordinary person and vice versa."
"That's right," Brother Pius volunteers, "you can make people happy just by standing here and talking to them. Now listen. You see that old lady? I'll tell her what a nice hat she's wearing, and you see how pleased she looks."