martyrs to be canonised should be a priest and a layman (SS John Fisher and Thomas More) and that priest and layman should stand together among the Forty," said Bishop Murphy of Shrewsbury in his Advent Pastoral.
His words preceded a week in which days of prayer, triduums and novenas were following fast one upon another in many parts of England and Wales to further the Cause of the Forty Martyrs whose names are now being considered for canonisation.
His words coincided too with an avalanche of petitions —several thousand to the office of the Vice-Postulation in London from the two dioceses holding a triduumWestminster and Salford—and hundreds to the shrine of Bl. Cuthbert Mayne whose feast falls this week.
Indeed the priests and laymen of England and Wales have been "doing their bit " with a common bond characteristic, as Bishop Murphy says, " of the Catholicism which we enjoy in England today ".
The Bishop had taken his emphasis on this bond from the time of the Reformation when " in order to say Mass, two people were required, a priest and a layman: a priest to risk his life, the layman to risk his home . . . " It cannot be emphasised too much that we owe the survival of the Mass in England to both priest and layman," he continued.
Bishop Murphy then concentrated on three lay people, and first Bl. Nicholas Owen, the Jesuit lay-brother known as " Little John " whose hiding holes, according to Fr. Gerard, saved the lives of many hundreds of priests: "Possibly no martyr of all the Forty has more shrines than Little John. Dotted all over England are his hiding holes."
Another was BI. Swithin Wells, who "was no mystic, he loved his horses and his hunting and his hawking ", but he loved the Mass more. Finally there was " our own Margaret Ward, born in Congleton in this diocese", who was executed at Tyburn for helping a priest to escape from Tyburn.
Such people were still among us, though they were not now called on to shed their blood: " the handy man of the parish who never takes a penny and would never cast himself in the role of Little John "; the Catholic families in the country who " are only too willing to throw open their homes to the Mass "; the Margaret Wards who " rescue priests from many a difficulty and, if they do not exactly save his life. they make it more bearable ".
A MODERN MASSACRE
Filthy books for filthy lucre AFTER the birth of Christ innocent children were massacred by Herod the tyrant, but today they were done to death in another way "by the purveyors of evil books and pictures for the sake of filthy lucre' ", said Cardinal Godfrey, Archbishop of -Westminster, in his Advent pastoral.
"Filthy is the word for such reading, no matter what names are chosen to adorn it," continued the Cardinal "Foul remains foul even with a fair name. The faithful will know that, even if a book is allowed to be on sale legally. the Christian conscious can oblige us not to read it.
To read such sordid literature without necessity but with intent to enjoy sensual pleasure and to satisfy prurient curiousity would be gravely sinful."
Referring to the close link between Christmas and the Holy Eucharist, the Cardinal quoted St Aelred's symbolic interpretation of Christmas in eucharistic terms: Bethlehem, the house of bread. "the Holy Church in which the true bread, the Body of Christ, is ministered"; the manger, the altar; the swaddling clothes, the sacramental veils.
UNNECESSARY SUNDAY WORK
`Beware of scandal' "THE importance of keeping this a Christian and God-fearing country is more important than the national increase of exports," said Bishop Parker of Northampton in
his Advent pastoral in which he calls for an end to unnecessary Sunday work.
The Government should encourage inessential industries to "damp down their Sunday overtime work", he added, while Catholics should "beware of scandalising others; beware of extending what Christian custom already sanctions; and of accepting unnecessary paid work for the sake of extra wages".
Pointing out that in pre-Reformation England the Sunday obligation was to attend not only Mass but Matins and Vespers as well, the bishop warned: "Mere bodily attendance at Mass, still less slipping in perhaps to an evening Mass at the end of a day of sloth, is not keeping the Lord's Day holy."
"Servile" work, which we were forbidden on Sundays, was the
work of a slave, or someone who was not free, who was not his own master. "In the industrial life we live today in England." said Bishop Parker, "people cannot pick and choose their work nor the hours of work : in a sense many are slaves to the work of their employment. Such work should cease on Sundays."
Manual hobbies were permissible; the ordinary necessities of domestic and public life must be carried on; and work demanded by charity to one's neighbour could be done. But the bishop declared : "Such work as the renovation of houses entailing much bodily labour, doing the week's laundry, and so on cannot he classified as hobbies."
Bishop Parker also exhorted his priests "always to speak aloud and slowly" so that the congregation can follow what is being done at Mass, while he would like "everybody at a low Mass to join in saying" the Pater Nosier and the Domine. non sum dignus.
No explanation has yet been given for the sudden expulsion of Archbishop Poirier from Haiti. Two French priests were expelled in August last year; when Archbishop Poirier protested the government ordered his arrest but suspended the order next day after a Vatican admonition. Relations between the government and the prelate, however, have been strained since then, but the expulsion last Thursday came without warning.
`Fides' head dies
Fr. Herman Haeck, S.J., the Belgian-born director of Fides, the news agency run by the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, died last week after a heart attack, Fr. George Frederick Heinzmann, of the Maryknoll Missionary Society, has been appointed acting director.