Stories at the Newman Dinner A NUMBER of good stories were " told at the Newman Association dinner in Leeds on Saturday on the occasion of the annual general meeting. It was, by the way, a delightful function with the Lord Mayor and the Lord e Abbot (of AmplefortJa) as honoured guests. The proposer of the toast to the guests recalled the story of Metternich being informed of the death of the Russian Ambassador. and asking: " I wonder what his motive was!" The contemporary applications of this story were cleverly taken up by the Lord Mayor. Dr. Aylward told us of an occasion when a distinguished politician, who is a household name. admitted that the world to-day was in such a state that only Christianity could save it, as it had saved it in the :Middle Ages. "What a pity." the statesman added sadly, " that the Church is so mixed up with dogmas!"
German Pen-Friends I WAS delighted to meet in Leeds some of the German University delegates. whose visit to this country has been arranged by the Newman. One of them, I found, seemed more interested in getting pen-friends from Britain for young Germans than in anything else. This surprised me, as the whole business of pen-friends has always seemed to me rather odd and possibly dangerous. However. this delegate explained that Young Germans have been so cut off from the world and now live in such hopeless conditions, even front the religious action point of view. that a regular correspondent from abroad is one of their grtatest blessings and encouragements. Only WO. I have received a letter from Fritz Hoegen, 22A, M. Gladbach, Eickenerstr, 240, begging for volunteer correspondents for German Catholics in the district. Here is the occasion for another of those acts of practical love for our fellowmen of which Abbot Byrne so eloquently preached in Leeds Cathedral during the Academic High Mass on Sunday.
" What Lovely Enemies I "
THE same delegate. who is the young mother of four children, described to me in most moving terms the days of the Allied advance into Germany. She and many others had been obliged to take refuge in the country. At last the news broke out that the French tanks were corning. A German priest was in charge of their party. sheltering from the
possible fighting. He approached the first tank, and from it walked out a French officer. He turned out to be a French priest. Slowly, the German children peeped out, nervously trying to protect themselves against the fire which they expected. When the French priest saw them. he went back into the tank and came out again with stores of sweets. "What lovely enemies!" the small son of my informant said, as lie munched the gifts. But the priest warned them that not all Frenchmen would treat them like this. Nor did they!
The Youngest M.C.
I'M sure I must have seen the youngest Master of Ceremonies in the Catholic world last week. I was at St John's, the preparatory school for Beaumont. for a First Communion ceremony. They had sHigh Mass in the .beautiful Bentley, chapel. At St. John's the small boys are perfectly trained as altar-boys, and in fact a boy of 11 or 12 fulfilled with complete mastery the difficult and responsible job of M.C., turning the Missal pages for the celebrant and doing everything else without a single flaw. It only shows how high our standard of attar service could be in every church and chapel with only a better training even for the smallest boys. So keen were the altar staff and some of the other bigger boys on the ceremonies that they voluntarily chose to remain at the school for Holy Week after the school had broken -up.
English Version of " Mediator Dei" 'a HAVE received from the Vatican Radio announcer a copy of the English translation of the Encyclical Letter Mediator Dci, on the Sacred Liturgy. It makes 64 pages and is very pleasantly brought out. I mention this because I know that many people would like the chance of reading this Encyclical. Unfortunately I have received no information about price and means of getting it. An enquiry to Libreria Editrice Varicana, Vatican City, may produce results.
Bullfights--Spain IN view of the recent controversy in our correspondence columns on cruelty to animals I made a special point during my journey abroad of seeing a bullfight both in Madrid and Lisbon. I have no desire to defend the Spanish bullfights—in fact the whole thing made me feel quite sick. But I must bear witness to the fact that the crowd. showed no signs of enjoying the punishment of the bull as such. It was quite obvious that its interest was concentrated on the pageant and the skill of the matadors, and indeed even the novice watcher after a bit begins to realise both their skill and their bravery. I am told that an average of two matadors a year are killed, and of course many more wounded.
—Portugal IN Portugal it is quite a different matter. There the bull is not killed, nor do picadors on old wrecks of horses inflict the ugly bleeding wounds. Instead magnificent riders on beautiful Arabs provoke the angry bull to chase them, skilfully manoeuvre with their mounts, and plant the small bandillerillos in the bull's shoulders. These light skin wounds further stimulate the bull. who, however, is obviously thoroughly enjoying the chase. The subsequent fight between the matador and the bull endangers the matador still more than in Spain, since the bull is much fresher, and in no ways harms the bull, who ultimately leaves the ring most reluctantly, following a drove of steers, introduced so as to induce him to leave at all. There is no cruelty in any of this. They say that the difference between the two types of bullfights reflects the difference between the Spanish and the Portuguese characters.