A COLUMN AND A COMMON FAITH
A VERY happy Easter to all my readers whom I will remember in a lump on Easter Sunday morning at Mass. Many journeys to many parts of the country have afforded me the chance of meeting thousands of readers, but the vast majority remain anonymous; we are united by six weekly paragraphs and a common faith. It is this faith which enables us all to have a happy Easter while, to so many of our neighbours, Easter means little more than the occasion for excursions and eggs. For us Easter proclaims the ultimate and most profound happiness with Our Lord's victory over death.
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MANY people search the pages
of reviews and the shelves of libraries to find the titles of interesting books. Sometimes one enters a very flat and insipid period without clue or suggestion and one would give anything for a recommendation from a friend. Well, recently 1 had seven winners in a row. Few were new and this fact alone teaches a lesson, for, in the hunt for novelty, we forget the books which we missed in pre vious years. My seven were: "The Good Shepherd," C. S. Forrester's wonderful account of a wartime convoy crossing.the Atlantic; J. B. Morton's "Hilaire Belloc," which I thought I had read until I found had not "The Young Hitler," by a boy-time friend whose name 1 have forgotten; " Children of the Sun " by Morris West; Driherg's " Beaverbrook "; " Over Seventy," the autobiography of P. G. Wodehouse; and "Shakespeare, a. Portrait Restored " by Longworth de Chambrun. The description of Hitler's boyhood by one Ns ho was his only friend at Linz and Vienna is an outstanding study of the formative years of a weird, pathetic and very lonely man.
" q1-1 AK ESP EA RF., a Portrait
Restored" seems at first sight ponderous and forbidding with its 400 pages and copious notes. Anyone who starts out finishes the hook with delight, for never before has the poet been presented in so human and delightful a style. The interest for Catholics goes very deep, for it is surprising to learn of the very close connection between Shakespeare and the English martyrs Campion, Southwell, Hartley, Swithun Wells. Anne Lyne. The introduction Suggests that the poet's Catholic connections were glossed over in the 19th century and that no-one liked it to be known how much his father and relations suffered for the faith. It has taken a Frenchwoman to penetrate this reticence and to show Shakespeare as the secret friend of Catholics in a difficult and dangerous age.
THIS paper over the years has given a practical lead on so many topics that we are inclined to forget the vital part it plays. Recently an excellent example came to hand. Douglas Hyde in his column mentioned Kerala, the Indian State which voted for Communism at a free election, and the urgent needs of the Catholic community to fight while time is left to defend itself. Half of the whole Catholic community of India lives in this State. Kerala is the only Communist State where the opposition retains its freedom, thanks to the protection of the central Government. In the State Assembly, out of 127, 65 delegates are Communists. Fr. J. Vadakkan plays an important part in the organisation of the forces of democracy; he and others produce a daily paper and countless leaflets. Their crying need is for printing presses, newsprint, a microphone and a van. Douglas Hyde mentioned these facts.
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(")NE young London teacher,
reading Hyde's words, felt that something should be done about this. He formed a small committee to raise money, inviting me to put my name to it alongside Mr. Hyde's. Without expecting results of any kind I agreed. Now today comes the news that the small, quite insignificant committee, without much support or publicity, has already raised over £500. Fr. Vadakkan writes bursting with affection, as well he might. Money was raised by a London group by finning "Jive nights," by a Northcountry group by the sale of Lourdes envelopes, buttons, and badges, I feel rather ashamed to come out in support of such a glorious venture so late in the day. Anyone interested to help in giving Kerala its newsprint and presses should write to the Secretary. Vadakkan Fund, 80, King Edward Road, London, E.9. Gifts will be