STR,—One of the national dailies is publishing a long correspondence on the increase of nudity and dirt on the British stage, especially, though by no means exclusively, in London. This is surely a matter where Catholics should be in the forefront of the fight.
A few years ago one London theatre started the headlong plunge
by comparatively discreet tableaux defended on the score of " art." In course of time there were imitators with a steady increase in amount of nudity and amount of light, and the gradual intro. duction of moving figures. To-day, I understand, there are a number of theatres where there is practically no restriction on what is shown and how, and the disease is spreading to more reputable houses.
The whole story is an object lesson on Catholic teaching in the matter. It might in the abstract be possible to defend a certain degree of undress in beautiful tableaux on the score of art, just as it is right and proper to defend the artist's painting of the nude. But in practice there is no comparison, for painting is sincerely meant and serious In purpose, leading to nothing further. Any nudity or immodesty on the stage, however, has for its real end the attracting of the public to the scandalous, indecent and erotic, and for this reason it must inevitably lead steadily to more and more blatant eroticism if it is to have its full effect.
It is above all lamentable that the fighting of a war for the highest motives should be the excuse for the spreading and intensifying of this lowering business.
Catholics are often accused of being Puritans in this matter — and the accusation is sometimes justified—but the great Catholic tradition, which bases itself on an unrivalled knowledge of human nature and the ease with which it slips from the theoretically defensible to the absolutely indefensible, is well borne out in this decline of the British stage, And, once the evil has taken hold in the way it has, there is no remedy but a thorough purge through the hand of the State. Catholics must not be behind others in calling for this.
D. A. MORTON.
USE OF THE MISSAL
popularise the use of the Missal one must first encourage the crowd of young men who listlessly stand about the back of the churches at the later Masses in the majority of our London and suburban churches to use a prayer book.
The young Women who Bit in the benches with a nicely-bound prayer book which they use for a few moments when they first arrive also want teaching.
If boys and girls are taught to follow the Ordinary of the Mass, not exotic prayers or English hymns, many of them will want to follow the Proper of the Mass, and given an opportunity and a little encouragement will then use the Missal.
Clear the young men from the back of the church to the middle, get a small book with the Ordinary in Latin and English into their hands with one of the Proper prayers —say, Trinity Sunday—printed in, and a good start will be made.
W. MURPHY. 210, High Street, Uxbridge,
ST. GEORGE, PATRON OF ENGLAND
Si R,—It Is surprising that, although St. George is the patron of England, very little devotion Is shown to him. Children at school know when St. Patrick's feast day is kept, but very few know when St. George's day occurs. 'The man in the street " knows little or nothing about him—he may be able to associate his name with the dragon, but that is all. Even Englishmen will wear the shamrock, but very few care to display a rose on April 23. In our Catholic churches we rightly sing, " Hail, Glorious Saint Patrick " with great devotion and gusto, but how many hymns do we know to St. George?
English Catholics should take the lead in spreading devotion to St. George, especially now when the country is engaged in warfare. This can be done by learning something about him, attending Mass on his feast day, and by having prayers and hymns addressed to him. Joins L. Wiacox. 66, Walford Street, Newport, Mon.
Will " Vicarius," the writer of a letter on this page in a recent issue called " A Liturgical Class," please send his name? His covering letter has been lost.— EDITOR,