ACCOUNTS of apparitions by the Devil himself are curiously rare, though the old conception of him is a personalised one. There are a few dramatic incidents of his malevolent and rather childish drama, like those that attended the Cure d'Ars, and there are other events like those in Cambodia.
One is uncertain whether to put them down to human intellectual perversion or to sin or to the Devil himself or to the natural animality of man. I, always fear the Devil as too! easy and simple an explanation. The conventional response is to say that the Devil wants nothing so much as not to be believed in.
There has been some fuss recently in Co Mayo about an alleged apparition of the Devil, In the Western Journal of that county, in the correspondence column, obviously as part of a drawn-out and enjoyable controversy, there is this comment: "One Sunday evening in 1954, some lads and I were standing outside Tooreen dance-hall, when we saw a local girl (who shall be nameless) coming out in the company of a tall, dark, very well-dressed stranger.
"As they passed us, I noticed that there was something odd about the shape of his feet, and I said to a friend: 'He looks a fierce devil.'
"The couple got into a large black car which I had not noticed up to then, and as the engine started up I noticed a strong smell of sulphur from the exhaust.
"Suddenly I heard the girl scream: 'Take your filthy paws off me, you dirty devil' and the car seemed to vanish, leaving the girl screaming by the roadside and a large black goat on the grass verge. "At that point we rushed into the dance-hall crying that we had seen the Devil. People ran out to see, but as the crowd approached, the goat ran off, leaving behind a patch of charred grass, where nothing has grown to this day. "For the sake of the girl, things were kept quiet and it is only now that I am able to tell the true story and to refute the diabolical stories about me."
Old fans of the late Sir James Barrie may recall that Tinkerbell was invariably brought to life at every matinee by the enthusiasm of the audience.
There is a disbelieving group out there who think the Tooreen Devil was an elaborate country prank. A person who seems to have a university degree and a job in a department of paranormal studies (which. are now quite fashionable) wrote in the same newspaper: "My own research leads me to suppose that the incidence of demon-worship in remote areas of Co Mayo reached a peak during the mid-I950s. Hence the popular expression: 'Ah, you're an awful devel!' "The appearance of the goat in the story is of particular significance. As is well known, the goat figures prominently in maleficent ritual, and study of government statistics of the goat population of East Mayo reveals a large and inexplicable peak in the year 1954 the very year in which the Devil appeared. "All circumstantial evidence put to the expert it seems plain that the Tooreen district was the centre of a flourishing magical cult in the 1950s and that the Tooreen dance-hall was indeed, as its priestly critics claimed, a hotbed of devilment in the most liberal sense."
The trouble with such phenomena is that they are always so desperately naive. bet there's no natural or unnatural black patch of grass now in Tooreen. And I het the not over-entertained lads of the village had a fine night out putting the wind up some goodhearted girls and that some hard words passed later in the Confessional of a Saturday.
But a car exhaust that smells of sulphur, that is a touch of contemporary folk art. Or has the Devil returned to pantomime tricks when modern reasoning and technology is so much more adaptable and effective? I do not know.
New grievance for Ireland
FROM time to time over the last 700 years, the Irish have acquired certain grievances against England. I have a new one for them.
In the Portsmouth Diocesan Year Book of 1978 there is an entry under the Directory of Parishes. It lists the town of Fareham. It lists its second church as one dedicated to St Brendan the Navigator, RN.
One has heard of Russian claims to have invented almost everything that goes round and round or emits sparks. But the suggestion that this restless Celt, an Abbot of Clonfort in about the sixth century, was also a member of the Royal Navy is going to cause some in
dignation in his native town of Tralee.
Nor is he a very suitable sort of patron for a Navy that spends much of its time on fishery patrols. He used whales for saying Mass on and once burnt the back of one in the process.
He is said to have got to America in a coracle packed with monks. But whatever he did, he was not a great navigator and had not a clue where he was going or why.
His journey, in fact, was so pointless, haphazard, zigzagging and off-hand that he appears to have been the lowest in the Dad's Army of seaborne saints. But the scholars write that the charming Odyssey his long sea voyage is an Irish poetic image Of the journey of the soul.
A lady from Chandlers Ford in Hampshire drew my attention to this extraordinary claim. (There is a boring explanation but if words on paper and grammar mean anything it is there on Page 37 of the Year Book and St Brendan, without given rank, is in HM's Senior Service.) My correspondent got carried away and suggested that St Rose of Lima be the patron of florists and St Ubaldus of barbers. But this way lies madness.
Quiet sense about Mass
THAT admirable organisation which has wonderfully and decently adapted to its times the Catholic Truth Society has produced a Simple Mass Book. It is small, costs 50p and is clearly the product of much creative thought.
It will not replace the editions of the missal produced by
Collins which are beautiful, comprehensive and not really expensive. The Sunday ones cost about three or four gallons of petrol and will last your time. These missals are in the great traditions of pre-Conciliar Catholic printing.
They are not all that simple. They cannot be. Just as when I was a child, you still have to be taught how to use a missal.
In the old days, there were limitless complications about commemorations and local usages and marvellously elaborate rubrics quite apart from telling you the rank of the feast and the proper church in Rome in which it was solemnly at home.
Like vintage port or Real Tennis, this was strictly for Those in the Know.
The publishing house of Collins, I think, has produced masterpieces in the Sunday and Daily Missals.
Whoever does the editing? It must take years in a dusty room correcting flimsy proofs and then submitting the whole thins to a Vicar-General who, if he is conscientious, must have a staff to go through the whole thing again before he issues his imprimatur.
It is one of the ecclesiastical pleasures in life to find a minor "literal" in such productions and "literal" is a word used by journalists for a misprint.
We, who do not work smb specie aeternitatis but are told, "let me have the piece by 12 on, Saturday," never, never suffer such pains.
The Catholic Herald, The Guardian, The Times, and every other noble paper suffer more from 'this than the national pops. It's like monks wearing grubby habits. We cannot afford to be laundered every. day.
Well, not quite so carefully, but then we use the purest wool for our cowls and a dropped stitch or a line in a wrong place will be forgiven by God or the understanding reader.
Howevel, l-was writing about the new Simple Mass Book. It does not give the readings. You are meant to listen to those as part of the dramatic and always surprising teachings of the Church.
Or if you are a lector, then you should prepare them in front of a looking glass from the more expensive books.
There are priests who run on a bit about the necessity of preparing for the Mass, reading it all up in advance. But the whole point of the Liturgy of the Word is that it is instruction.
The poetic, the wild extravagances of Isaiah, the dark insights of St Paul, the marvels of the Apocalypse, the good, plain reporting of most of the Gospels, all of these should astonish and teach and rivet each time they arc heard anew.
And, properly read, they can all do it. Some of them in history or logic or meticulous and vinglorious sociology, will not bear too close an examination.
So this 50p worth does not include the readings or the Gospels. It has the words and music for the Gloria and the Credo in Latin.
It has the entrance antiphons and I would have thought "introit" an easier and more beautiful word which really should be read if the congregation is not in full, hymnal throat at the time. It does not cover Holy Week, but it does cover all the holidays of obligation.
It also gives, very clearly and simply, the very plainchant that can be used in the vernacular and public parts: but by the time you have found what bit of the beginning the priest is going to use that Sunday, it is likely to be over. However, the music for the Conflteor is written out in full.
In all the splendid orchestration for choirs and counterchoirs, for organs orchestras, castragi and cohrati, this must be unique. On its five lines there is printed but one note of indefinite length which, sensibly and economically, lasts from "I confess to ..." to "to the Lord our God."
I should not pull fun at what I wholly approve of. But I do know of one arrogant lector with Henry Irving tendencies (especially when Isaiah or St John really take off1 who is expected here to intone: "This is the word of the Lord" at the end of the reading who will jib like Princess Anne's horse in Russia.
.And I know one congregation who would listen aghast if he did so and pity his poor wife for the public humiliation. But it might be different elsewhere.
But, with these indecent observations which are not honest criticisms, it is a marvellous little thing. And if in the end it means a death to those fearful flimsies called "Missalettes" it will have wholly justified itself. It really is a good and intelligent piece of work.
Queen Mary College: leuechieg of Caihnlic Cathedral Appeal. Norwich, 7.30 pm. Sunday: Meeting with group of diocesan priests, Archbishop's House. pm. Monday: St James's School. Burnt Oak. 11 am: Consecrates St Thomas More Church, East cote, 7 pm. Tuesday: Visits Cardinal Vaughan School, 11 am; Ecumenical Service, Christian Centre. London Hospital. 7 pm. Wednesday: Mass, Cathedral, 10.30 am. Gives address Si James's. Piccadilly. 1 15 ten, Council of diocesan affairs, 2.30 pm. thursday: Mass, St Agnes, Cricklewood, 7.30 pm.
Archbishop Bowen of Southwark Friday: Meeting of Department of Catechetics, 11.30 ant Sunday: Mass, Camberwell, 12. Monday: Visitation, Balham, Larkhall Lane, pm. Tuesday: Visitation, Anerley, Catford. Wednesday: Blesses and distributes ashes, Cathedral.
Archbishop Dwyer of Birmingham Sunday: Mass, St Wuistan, Stourport. Monday: Union of Catholic Mothere AGM, Birmingham, 11.15 am. Tuesday: Chapter meeting and Mass. Cathedral, 11.45 am, Thursday: Diocesan Liturgical Commission, 4 pm,
Archbishop Warlock of Liverpool Sunday-Monday: Visitation, St Malachy, Liverpool 8. Monday; Mayors and chief executives reception. Bishops Lodge. Wootton. Tuesday: Upholland Governors Committee meeting, 2 pm. Thursday: Archbishop's Council Meeting, Curial Offices, 10 am; Interim Governing Council meeting, St Katherine's C.ollage, Liverpool, 4.30 pm.
Bishop Alexander of Clifton Friday: Mass. farewell social tor retiring headmaster. Si Bernadette. Whitchurch. Satur ciay! Parish Dinner. St Dunstan. Keynsham, 8 pm. Sunday; Mass, St Gerard Malaita. Knowle, Rristol, 6.30 pm. Monday; Catenian Clergy Dinner, Bristol. 8 pin Tuesday: Diocesen Liturgical COmmiSSiOn Meeting, Sacred Heart, Westbury-on Trym. 4.30 pm. Wednesday: Diocesan Finance Committee Meeting, Sr Ambrnse, 4 pm, Thursday: Bristol Central Deanery Station Mass. Cathedral, 7.30 pm.
Bishop Brewer, Auxiliary of Shrew sbury Sunday-Monday: Visitation. St Mary. Crewe_
Bishop Burke, Auxiliary of Salford Tuesday: Manchester Catholic Sportsmen's Dinner. Piccadilly Hotel. 7 pm: Upholland Northern Institute. 2 pm. Thursday: Lenten Station_ Si Thomas of Canterbury. Higher Brrweigshhtoopn Coney of Brentwood Sunday: Mass, St Anthony, Forest Gate. 4 pm.
Monday: Council Meeting Crusade of Revels, Westminster, 5.30 pin. Tuesday:
4 e Study Teresa, Chin Wednesday: Mass, Barking Polytechnic, 12 1 gford, 8 pm. e r 5gy P C
Day, Dagenham, 10,30 am: Mass. St Bishop Clark of East Anglia Friday: Public launching of Cathedral Restoration Appeal, Blackfriars Hall, Norwich, 7.30 pm. Thursday: Schools Commission Meeting, Portingland. 4 pm.
Bishop Cleary, Auxiliary of Birmingham Sunday: Mass, St John Fisher, dWineasit NHeewatmh,a3n p rAme.cMtiongndaNye: wFrmieandns Hoof kCjgaar
irminghem, 4 pm. Tuesday: Chapter Meeting and Mass. Cathedral. 11.45 arn. Thursday: Mass for SVP Golden Jubilee Celebrations, St Michael. Wolverhampton. 7.30 pm. B ishop Emery of Portamoprh Saturday. Golden Jubilee Mass, St John's College. Southsea, 6.30 pm, Sunday: Confirmation Sacred Heart, Bournemouth, 11 15 are. Wednesday: Mass, blesses and distributes ashes. Catheciral.
Bishop Foley of Lancaster Friday CMAC Centre. Preston. 8 pm Sunday Visitation St Cuthbert. Blackpool. 12. Tuesday: Chapter Mass and Meeting, Cathedral. 11 am. Wednesday: Mass, Chaplaincy centre. Lancaster University, 5.30 pre! Mass, distributes ashes. Cathedral. 7.30 pm. Thursday: Meeting with officers of CMAC Cathedral House. 10.45 am: Visitation, St COM:tette Bleckpool.
B ishop Fox of Menevis Friday: Speaks to Newman circle. Chester Sunday Speaks at Day of Renewal, Wimbledon. Tuesday: Bangor Chaplaincy Dinner. Thursday: Meeting of Ecumenical Commission for England and Wales.
B ishop Grant of NorThempton Friday Launching of Cathedral Restoration Appeal. Norwich Bishop Grass, of Shrewsbury Meeting. eriday, Area interdenominational Committee
English Martyrs, wndaanayseyMonday Bishop Gray, Auxiliary of Liverpool Sunday: Mass. St Oswald. Padgate, Warrington, 10.30 am Monday: Reception wforpoictoivnicpedrkignLiti:erire.ps, 1,B6ishuo,p,,Is Tuesday; Thanksgiving Mass for ruby wedding lubilee. SS Peter anti Peal. Coughton, Warwickshire. 11.30 are. Wednesday: Visitation. Sacred Heart. Ainsdale. 10.30 am. Thursday: Meeting of Archbishop's Council. Curial Officees, hlOop e
III, Bishop in Beet London Saturday Sunday; Visitation. Islington. Tuesday: Speaks on Time for Sidcup. 12, Governors' Meeting. St William of York, 6 pm. Wednesday: CDA Meeting. Archbishop's House. Thursday! Camden deanery meeting.
B ishop Hints, Auxiliary of Liverpool .-Monday: Reception for religious and civic leaders, Bishop's Lodge, Liverpool, pie. Tuesday: Meeting of Cathedral Chapter, Liverpool, urn Thursday: Meeting of Archhishoe's Council. Liverpool. am.
Bishop Harvey, Bishop In North
London Friday: Council of diocesan affairs 2.30 pm. Monday • Council Meeting, Crusade nf Rescue. 5 pm. Tuesday: Chapter.
10 30 am; Area Deans Meeting. 12.30 Pm. Wednesday: m
d7 n sday: Coucil of Diocesan Affairs.
Bishop Henderson, Auxiliary of
Southwark Sunday: Mass, Blackheath. ant. Monday. Meeting of Southwark Diocesan Finance Committee, 11 ann. Tuesday: Chapter Mass and inesting. am. Thursday: Column' College Governors' Meeting. 6 pm.
B ishop Holland of Salford Friday: Confirmandi, Breightmet. Bolton, 3 pm. Sunday: Confirmation, St Osmund, Breightmet 3lik)rnincio lTtiiens.day: Mass for 5th century oi birth of St Thomas More, St Thomas More's, A
B ishop Konstant, Bishop in Central London -Friday: Visit to FSA, Clapham,
11 am: Edmundian Association Dinner, K.S.C. ChM. 7 pm. Sunday: Mass. St Andrew Bobola, Shepherds Bush, 12; Confirmation, Warwick c SSItre John's nfis pm. oodTuesclay Iia: enry m0maaess. Kingsway, 12.30 pm. 6 pm. Wednesday: CDA Meeting. Archbishops House, 2.30
Bishop Limhay of Hexham and Newcastle • Sunday: Visitation, St Matthew, Jarrow. 3.30 pm. Thursday: Meeting of Diocesan Finance Committee, Bishop's Huse 2 30 prn.
Friday: Bishop McCord', Auxiliary of Sir m dingham a ys: uVisitation,rdao m dingham a ys: uVisitation,rdao u r Lady, yl Fiedeemer. Persh Stourbridge, 11 am: St Thomas MOrg, Sheldon. 7 pm Sunday: Our Lady of Mount Carmel, ficeleitch, 11 am. Monday: AGM of UCM. Botanical Gardens, 1 pm, Tuesday: Chapter Meeting and Mass, Cathedral, 11.45 am Thursday: Diocesan Schools Commission, 10.45 am; Confirmations. Our Lady and St John, Gravelly Hill, 7.30 pm. Bishop McClean of Middlesbrough Sunday. Visitation, , St Andrew, Teesville. Tuesday Upholland Governing Committee Meeting, Bishop McGuinness of Nottingham Friday: CYSC Executive Meeting, London. Saturday. Seminar on Justice and Peace, Arnold Sunday: Visitation, Coalville. Monday: Guild of Si Stephen Annual Dinner. London, Tuesday! Visits Rolleston Drive Convent, Nottingham 0 pm. Wednesday: Blessing and imposition ot ashes within Mass, Cathedral. l. tlapmn7 S Thursday Visits Mercy Convent.
Bishop Mahon. Bishop in West
London Friday: Society of Apothecaries Livery Dinner, Sunday: Confirmation. Omenford, 3 UM Monday: Commission for International Justice and Peace, 4.30 pm: Cunsecratioe of Church. Eastcote, 7 pm, Tuesday' Hillingdon Deanery Meeting. Yearling. 11 am: Area Commission for Intereatinnal Justice and Peace. 8 pm. Wednesday: Area Education Commission Meeting, 1 pm: Council of Diocesan Affairs, 2 30 8i.pn)
Murphy-O'Connor of Arundel and Brighton Friday. Meets priests of Redhill Deanery, Dined Saturday Sanday: Visitation. Caterham, Tuesday: Meets priests of St Leonard's Deanery. Hullington. Thursday: Meets ;Meets of Weybiidge Deanery Bishop O'Brien, Bishop In Hertfordshire • Saturday; Bishops Stort1ord, B pm. Sunday: Visitatinn, Potters Bar West, 5 pm. Monday: Hertfordshire Catholic Teachers' Association, Si Albans. R pm. Tuesday: Meeting of all local clergy. St Hilda, Stevenage. I I am. Wednesday: CDA Meeting, Wastmiuster. 2,30 pm Thursday: Hertfordshire Area Advisory Council, All Saints. London Colney. 8 pm.
Bishop Pearson, Bishop in Cumbria Friday: Visits Carmelite Monastery, Glasgow. Tuesday: Sites Commission, Kendal. 2 pm. Thursday: Presents Berie Merenti medal. St Mary, Clamor. 7 pm Bishop Restieaux of Plymouth Saturday: Charismatic Renewal, St Mary's Abbey. Bodeen: Mass, St Mary's Abbey Church. Bodmin, 4.30 pm. Sunday: Mass. induction of Knights of St Columba, Cathedral. 4 pm.
Bishop Swindlehurst, Auxiliary of Hexham and Newcastle Tuesday: Clergy Night, Sunderland Catenian Circle. 7.30 pro. Thursday: Meeting of Diocesan Finance Committee, Bishop's House, 2.30 pm, Bishop Wheeler of Leeds -Saturday: Pantomime, St Anthony. Beeston. Sunday: Visitation. Sacred Heart, Leeds. 11.15 am. Monday: Opens primary school, St Mary, Selby, 6,30 pm. Tuesday: Day of ftecollectem. Ilkley. Wednesday: Solemn Mass, Cathedral.