WHY A PROGRAMME WAS ALTERED
Two Functions In The Vatican City
The Pope completed on Monday last his eightieth year.
Hailing that day, Catholics throughout the world found their joy, not unmixed with anxiety; for messages in the newspapers brought tidings that a last-minute decision by Dr. Milani, on medical grounds, had cancelled the proposed broadcast by His Holiness, for the inauguration of the reconstructed Pontifical Academy of Sciences, a ceremony which, it was announced had been postponed. Some of the press correspondents read into this circumstance the view that the Holy Father's state of health had again suddenly become grave, and readers of their words were naturally anxious.
On Monday evening there came to London more reassuring news, in the following telegram from the Cardinal Secretary of State:
" The newspapers publish the suspension of the inauguration by the Holy Father of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. This decision was occasioned merely as a precautionary measure; there is nothing new to cause alarm in the condition of the Pope's health. — Cardinal Pacelli."
The Academy of Sciences
The postponed inauguration of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences took place on Tuesday at the headquarters in the Vatican Gardens. where Cardinal Pacelli presided in the Pope's name and welcomed the members.
Of the seventy Academicians nominated at the time of the reconstitution last year, a body of learning in which fifteen nationalities are represented, about fifty attended the inaugural ceremony.
They wore as the emblem of their dignity the Papal arms on a medallion suspended from a collar. Many members of the Sacred College were present, as well as the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See.
In its present form the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, it may be recalled, is a reconstitution of the old Accademia Del Lincei. The time seemed opportune to the Pope to give to the Academy, as he himself expressed it, " a new impulse and a new increment." By motu proprio, therefore, His Holiness caused a reconstruction on a wider basis than hitherto.
The seventy Academicians named include not only Catholics but also Protestants and Jews; all, however, arc believers in God and men with a spiritual conception of life. Three distinguished English men of science are in the ranks: Lord Rutherford, Sir Charles Sherrington, and Professor E. T. Whittaker.
No fewer than nine Nobel prizemen are among the seventy. Heads of various Pontifical Scientilic Institutes, such as the Observatory, the Library, the Missionary Museum of Ethnology, are with the Academy as supernumerary members.
The Press Exhibition Ends
There was at the Vatican another ceremony this week, not of opening hut of closure. The Pope's birthday brought the end of the International Catholic Press Exhibition which for months past has drawn so many thousands of interested visitors to its halls.
At six o'clock on that day the Exhibition closed its doors, but not without a religious expression of gratitude for the success of this great undertaking.
The honour of closing the Exhibition on the religious side was given to the Bonne Presse of Paris.
At the opening last year, the editor of La Croix. Fr. Meriden, was chosen to offer the inaugural Mass, and he it was who celebrated the Mass for the closing day, and also preached the sermon.
In the course of his sermon, Fr. Merklen said that the Exhibition had shown that in various parts of the world, side by side with the profane Press, there existed a Press with its participation in Catholic service. To realise its mission the Catholic Press must be at once a source of light, a guide in life, and a means to action.