AMINORITY of people (men and women). who are members of one or other of the National Catholic Societies or who are entirely on their own. are doing valuable and unique apostolic work.
You will see some of them in your daily travels. Others, you neither see nor hear about but they are nevertheless very active.
Brothers of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, for whom the dissemination of Catholic literature is only a subsidiary part of their work, are manning paper-stalls at churches throughout the country.
These men, and members of other societies, both men and women, who look after the papers. have other commitments and yet they manage, without fail, to cover one or more Masses each Sunday morning, If you go into the market place of big cities and towns at the weekend, you will find members of the Legion of Mary, the Ceti Group and others selling Catholic papers. And they are not out only in fine weather.
If you talk to them you may learn about the lapsed Catholic who approached them shyly, bought a paper, and confessed he had not been to church for years. Seeing fellow Catholics braving the icy winds and the contemptuous sneers and jibes of a few of the passers-h)'. he found his conscience stirring.
AYOUNG man with two or three weeks to spare before going abroad, called at THE CATHOLIC HERALD office one day and asked if he could sell papers somewhere in London.
On Saturday afternoon he took up his pitch at Hammersmith Broad way.
After a time an old man came up to him, bought a paper and hurried off. He was back in few minutes and asked where the nearest church was. The young man directed him to St. Augustine's in Fulham Palace Road.
Half an hour later he returned with tears pouring down his cheeks. He said he had not been to confession for over 20 years but the sight of a young man, holding the CATHOLIC HERALD up for the world to see, had made him ask for a church and he had gone straight to confession.
ACONVERT clergyman in Leeds was struck by the fact that the ordinary newsagent did not stock Catholic papers and, in several cases where enquiry was made, had never even heard of Catholic papers.
He set to work to remedy this by tackling his own newsagent. He asked him to order six copies of the CATHOLIC HERALD and display them prornimently on the counter and in the rack outside the shop.
He was told that if he would do this for six weeks, any copies which were left on his hands would be bought by the convert.
The result of this rather startling experiment was that, in the first week. he sold four copies, in the second and third-five copies and, for the rest of the trial period, he had no trouble in disposing of all six.
This piece of Catholic Action would never have come to light but for an accidental meeting, in a small Lancashire town, when the convert got into conversation with a Circulation Representative of this paper.
QOME years ago I was talking to a priest who was a great reader, when the subject turned to the Catholic Press. He told me the story of his own conversion to the Faith.
As a young man with no religious views at all, he dealt extensively with Foyles Bookshop and was often amused and sometimes interested by the wrapping paper used to protect the books.
One day, on unwrapping a delivery of books, he noticed some sheets from a copy of a Catholic paper. He did not spare them more than an idle glance but. some impression must have been made because, when he next saw a copy of the same paper in a friend's house, he asked if he could borrow It.
While it would be over-optimistic to expect every non-Catholic, given a Catholic paper to read, will he converted, there is every reason to hope that somewhere the seeds of truth are being sown as thc result of leaving a Catholic paper lying around, whether it be in an hotel lounge, telephone kiosk, or omnibus (these days one must beware of the new anti-litter laws!).
wHY do Catholics read Catholic papers? The answer could he found in a remark contained in a letter written by a lady who was enquiring for a back-number about the time of the death of Pope Pius XII,
She had been unable to get her ordered copy at her church paperstall because all the copies had gone before the end of the first Masts She went on to say: "Isn't it sad that everybody will buy a Catholic paper to read about the death of the Holy Father, but they would not read his tremendous utterences when he was alive?"
All the Catholic papers could tell of the occasions since the war when there has been a sudden demand for copies simply because
something special had happened or somebody had said something controversial.
A good example of this was the late Holy Father's statement on the subject of Mother and Child. In November 1951, regular readers of Catholic papers were unable to obtain their copies at the church paper-stall because all the copies had been taken by people who, otherwise, would not buy one.
Apart from being unfair to the regular reader, this puts extra work on the stall-holder who, it must be remembered, gives his services on a voluntary basis,
ONE simple and obvious way to ensure a regular copy of your favourite Catholic paper is to place an order with your newsagent.
It is somewhat puzzling that whereas if the Sunday or Daily newspaper is a few minutes late in being pushed through the letter box. we start to fume, the majority of us are quite happy to read our Catholic paper three days after it has been published.
In fact quite a lot of people are under the impression that the Catholic papers are printed early on Sunday morning!
We read Sunday or daily newspapers regularly and partly out of habit. We would not dream of buy
Bthe sheerest chance of a bad
throat, for I very rarely hear religious services on the radio and never on a Sunday morning, I heard last Sunday the mysticism service from the Farm Street sodality hall. This surely unique broadcast filled me with joy, and I am sure it must have helped a great number of listeners, whether Catholic or not. In the first part, Fr. Thomas Corbishley, SJ., explained the phenomenon of mysticism as the capacity of man to have direct contact with the Supreme Being, however obscurely. A reader started the quotations, which broke any monotony, with a passage from Plato's " Symposium". Referring to Aldous Huxley's " The Perennial Philosophy," Fr. Corbishley explained, with just the right degree of ease and spontaneity. further aspects of the subject. I thought perhaps he was a little hard on Huxley, for few nonCatholic writers have insisted more strongly on the fact that contemplation is not the work of man but always the free gift of God. Anyway, many Catholic writers hold today that Cod never refuses His gift to those who fulfil its conditions.
A New Standard
THEN came the short service, a whose meaning must have been infinitely fuller for listeners who had heard Fr. Corbishley's extremely well-phrased and beautifully worded exposition. In the last part, Catholic and true mysticism in which heaven and earth meet in the Incarnation was explained, and the always different comparison with human love was delicately suggested. The blessing, again how much more significant than usual, and Newman's hymn. " Praise to the Holiest," concluded the broadcast. Had I not heard it. I would not have believed it possible. Catholic religious broadcasting, of this standard—I do not mean highbrow, but cutting through the stereotype of the hearty—could become a religious force in the country indeed.
Suffering of Separation
ALETTER from Switzerland tells
me that among the intentions of the Church Unity Octave in that country is Suffering Caused by Christian Separations." This is a most thoughtful intention which touches directly the personal consequences of divided Christianity. In the Swiss intentions, the Anglican Communion hal a cley to itself, the " Sanctification of Anelicans." comins after the " Sanctification of Catholics " and the " Sanctification of Orthodox " and before the "Sanctification of Protestants" and the " Sanctification of the Missionary Churches."
Tips for Longevity
TALKING of cheerfulness In a 4 rather different context, I enjoyed very much during my
ing the secular paper of our choice only when the Queen is crowned. the Government is elected or the Test Match won or lost.
But how many of us can say that the accusation made by she lady applying for a back number does not apply to us?
THE fifty million inhabitants of this island read approximately 30 million Sunday papers and seventeen and a half million National Dailies and yet. the four million Catholics only manage to bay approximately four hundred thousand Catholic papers.
The recent CATHOLIC HERAT Es survey showed that Catholics buy, on average, 2.9 Sunday papers every week. One in ten, on average, buys one Catholic paper, And yet. the Catholic weeklies arc so dissimilar that all could be bought. Comparing them is no small stimulus to Catholic thinking and action.
Organised on a diocesan basis, the four Provinces (Westminster, Birmingham. Liverpool and Cardiff) held their Press Sunday on a different date. The object was to "put over" the Catholic Press to the vast majority of Catholics who, at that time, never read a Catholic paper.
The idea, while welcome, was
Mysticism on the B.B.C.
Christmas reading a leaflet issued by a gentleman of 59 depicted in running kit, Jim Anderton, who gives his advice on how "to be able to run about and play, as befits a second childhood, with no dreaded sickness benefits and old age pensions looming large". Some of his more curious recipes include the following; not using aluminium cooking vessels; not licking anything with gum on it; putting up one's feet during meals (1 like that one); training one's feet to be slightly pigeon-toed; blowing one's nose last thing at night and first thing in the morning (important for snuff-takers like myself, I should say); drinking 10 cups of tea per day (ugh!); washing with carbolic soap — "my face is like a baby's bottom" (please do not write and call me immodest for quoting this); not reading fiction; not trying to cure coughs and colds, but lying up; never crossing one's legs (as a Father of the Church, I believe, recommended— his name was Arsenius); and to bath only once a year (a farmer of my acquaintance used to hold that tf you never bath you grow a very hygienic kind of hairy mould). 1 don't know about Mr. Anderton's tips, but his outlook corresponds roughly with that of Alexander Salmanoff, Lenin's doctor, who at the age of 84 has written a hook berating all modern scientific medicine, most of which poisons the system, and defends the old-fashioned ways of treating illness with warm flann el s , hotwater bottles (especialls for the liver) and hot baths. Flu is apparently to be cured by putting one's arms in Water.
CONGRATULATIONS to Mrs. Sheed on celebrating her 70th birthday by speaking for one hour in the icy wind from the C.E.G. platform in Hyde Park. The rising generation of C.E.G. 'pokers held a party in her honour, and Dr. E. M. Rano. master of the Guild, presented her with a walnut antique book-case ore behalf of all the members. I have so often sung the praises of the unique Shreds that I can find no fresh words— perhaps the best here is to record that Mrs. Sheed still looks and thinks like a skittish fifty. not seventy.
I THOUGHT Hugh BossWilliamson's "play-documentary" on the trial and execution of Charles I on I.T.V. intensely not new. Poland introduced Press Sunday as far back at 1918. The war. with Its restrictions tin 'Jewsprint, put paid to Press Sundays and we are only now reintroducing them, on a much smaller scale.
As long as Catholics remain indifferent to their own Catholic papers. Press Sundays are a fillip to sales. Unfortunately, despite the splendid efforts of parish priests to encourage their congregations to read Catholic papers as part of their way of life, too many of us buy a paper (or even all three) on Press Sunday and perhaps for the following two Sundays and then. finish.
Do we buy just to please "Fr. X"? Or, do we think that we arc helping him to make a little more profit to offset some debt or other? Only in those churches where there is a very large sale of papers will there be any profit.
N°, the object of Press Sunday is to encourage us to read the paper of our choice with a view to buying it regularly. The easiest way to do this is to place an order with our newsagent so that the paper is delivered on Friday morning.
In this way at least we leave the papers which are to be found on the church paper-stall for those "casuals" who either prefer to buy at church for personal reasons or because they only want a paper, the title of which varies according to the headlines.
Then we are not inconvenienced as so rbany thousands of regular readers were, when Pope Pius XII died, by finding that our regular copy had been bought by somebody who only buys a Catholic paper once in a while, In these days of budgeting — whether it be for holidays or weekly groceries—it should be remembered that the cost of • Catholic paper is not more than the cost of a local telephone call from a call bot.
Meanwhile, think of the band of men and women who work unsung every weekend selling Catholic papers, whether to passers-by or to congregations at our churches. Say a prayer for them. They are the heroes and heroines of the Catholic Press.
gripping—as near as can be to the real thing. This is not just a matter of stringing together events and things, but of seeing and hearing historic events, reported with exact accuracy, through a mind steeped for many years in the values and purposes of the chief characters. That the compelling nature of the play made it seem as though it had written itself was proof of the historian-dramatist's understanding and skill. For once the commercials were hardly noticed, so filled was one's mind with the drama. The author got great help from the admirably accurate Paul .Rogers as Charles and the only too Cromwellian John Philips. This play should be boosted into a terrific film, but if this happens Mr. Ross-Williamson will have the fight of his life to retain the necessary 100 per cent. authenticity.
Pope John's 'mot'
AMONG the many stories about
Pope John here is one I have just heard, though I expect many readers know it. The Pope, being told that he had a nice, hut not beautiful, face, answered: "Madam a Papal Conclave is not a beauty contest."
HERE'S THE ANSWER
Deposition of a Pope
I HAVE always understood that a Pope could not be deposed under any circumstances, hut I recently saw a statement that several Popes have been deposed. Can you explain this?
CERTAINLY VALID POPE 11. --one who has certainly been
validly elected cannot be deposed; because the Pope is the supreme visible head on earth of the Church, and from him all jurisdiction flows. But, in the case of doubt or dispute, the bishops (a representative number of the bishops of the world) or the Cardinals, who are the normal electors of the Pope, can depose a doubtful claimant: this being the only practicable way of settling such doubt. This occurred notably at the time of the so-called "schism" of the West (which was not strictly a schism, because nobody intended to separate from the one valid Pope, whoever he was) when there was a rival claimant and later two rival claimants simultaneously, in addition to the line of Urban VI— which was the valid line, as we now know.
The General Council of Constance (1414-18) annulled the claims of the three claimants (Gregory XII, Benedict X111, and Alexender V). Martin V was elected Pope by 23 Cardinals and six deputies from each of four nations, and this ended the so called schism