King : Pope's Cousin
SOME people have been puzzled by the fact that when King Victor Emmanuel sent his congratulations to the Holy Father at the time of the Papal election, he signed himself " Your affectionate Cousin."
This relationship had reference to the Order of the SS. Annunziata, with which the present Holy Father was decorated by the king some years ago. The order is the highest which the King of Italy bestows, and its institution dates back to the fourteenth century. Throughout the centuries it has been considered an exclusive honour, and by legislation during the present King of Italy's reign (in 1924) its members, exclusive of princes, ecclesiastics and foreigners, is limited to twenty members. Altogether, the present number of its members is 23. Number 13 on the list is Sig.. Mussolini, and number 18, the only ecclesiastic on the list, the present Holy Father. The latest name on the list is Marshal De Bono. All members of this order rank as cousins to the King.
THE reign of Mine. Tabouls, French Left Wing columnist, looks like coming to an end. All the papers that once quoted her almost daily are beginning to join in the general laugh, though I noticed that the Star omitted Hitler's reference to her.
Some readers may like to have the exact words which provoked the Fuehrer's mirth, and I take them from the Sunday Referee: "The fact that a large part of the German fleet is due in the Canaries is held to suggest that Hitler may be planning to land troops at Monrovia, capital of the Bieck Republic of Liberia, which is distant two days' steaming, and to seize the country." It may be said that Catholics were months ahead in the Tabouis debunking, Christopher Hollis's devastating review of her history having appeared last year. Since then we have tried to do our bit in this paper.
IT is dangerous to suggest that Campion Hall, the Jesuit students' house in Oxford, has achieved another scholastic record. So many university prizes and scholarships he.ve been won by the Hall that one needs books of reference to be certain of anything.
Still, I think that the winning of the Lothian and the Stanhope Prize in one year is a record. I wonder if any other college has done the same? And Campion Hall has only some twenty students, es compared with the hundreds in other colleges. The Stanhope bas just been awarded to Mr Wingfield Rigby, who is, I believe, a convert.
I HAVE just had a deeply interesting conversation with a priest back from Rome after wintering there.
He was amazed by the growth of Catholicity in Italy. "On Maundy Thursday," he told me, " one could scarcely get into church after church to visit the Altars of Repose, so great were the crowds." I naturally asked how the Faithful took the Good Friday Albanian adventure.
The priest was very emphatic about the shock caused, together with a sense of helplessness. At the same time he is most confident that the genuine increase in spiritual values and their permeation through Italians will come to the top in time and steady Italy's political course, "Every attack on Italy," he said, "helps the secularist Government, and every expression of sympathy and understanding helps the Christian people."
I I WHATEVER you may say against
Hitler he has put an end to that barbarous name Czechoslovakia, and restored to our times the historical names of Bohemia and Moravia."
T""is an ancient story told of a penitent who went late one night to the Brompton Oratory House and asked the door-boy if a priest could hear his confession. The boy looked sympathetically concerned, and in a hoarse whisper asked : "Is it a 'mortal '?"
Times change, and the present Oratory door-boy is the product of his generation. Last week a friend of mine, who has to be at his office at an early hour, asked for a priest to hear his confession at 8.15 a.m. on a week-day. The answer was an uncompromising reply to the effect that confessions could not be heard until 9.30 a.m.
After a period of waiting a minor war had to be declared and waged, and only the accidental appearance of a priest on the scene brought the incident to a satisfactory conclusion.
FEW things bring home to me more clearly the ever more rapid passage of time than the recurrence of the beginning of the cricket season. All winter sport leaves me cold, and the Intervals between the cricket seasons once seemed like an eternity.
Now I find that the new season seems to have come upon us almost before the previous one is over. This year we have a sporting correspondent, and I am greatly looking forward to Dick Campbell's comments. I hope he will have plenty to say about Middlesex.
Campbell's articles seem to attract a good deal of attention, for quite a number of correspondents have written to
the paper about his views. Unfortunately, the European situation, the intricacies of Maltese life, and, above all, the Cardinal Gasquet correspondence, have prevented the publication of many lighter letters.
Gill's First Church I HAVE never seen Piggotts look lovelier than at the end of April when I drove over under the pouring sunshine with blossom bursting out on every side and finally resting for the afternoon in its profusion on that tree in the middle of the lawn that faces the old brick houses.
In case anyone doesn't know where "Piggotts " is, I pass on the description of a small child who went with me: " This is the place where men with long beards make statues." Most of the work, in fact seemed to be connected with the new church which Eric Gill is designing for Gorieeton-on-Sea. This church, I believe, will be the first designed by the artist.
" Fr. Brown "
WHILE at Piggotts I had my first opportunity of meeting Mgr. John O'Connor, the friend whom G. K.
Chesterton had in mind when he created the famous " Fr. Brown."
Mgr. O'Connor gave some interesting descriptions of the healing of children which had resulted from his touch. He did not attribute it, however, to miraculous power, but only to the possibility of his possessing " the healing hand " which is hereditary, in his family.
I also learned from him that Eric Gill's healtiful sculpture, " The Annunciation," exhibited last year at the Royal Academy, and one of the loveliest carvings I have ever seen, now rests among the other treasures of his church in Bradford.
IF there were more time! How many hours of happiness could be spent wandering in and out of London's picture galleries. Not only the public ones, but the private ones in and around Bond Street, many of which are free.
I defy anyone with any sense of beauty not to linger for many quarters of an hour among the handful of Cezanne pictures which celebrate the painter's centenary in the Rosenberg and Helft galleries in Bruton Street. There is a small still life (No. A, I think), which seemed to me to establish once and for all in sensible form the universal " flower." To be able in a few hours to change canvas and some tubes of paint into that constitutes, on the natural level, the nearest approach to divine power in man.
At the Tower
PDARENTA.L accident rather than journalistic nose ied me to the Tower of London at the very moment when ill-fated Lord Stanhope declared the new entrance gates opened.
The Press seized on the occasion to underline the curious deeds of that unfortunate politician. And it is true that journalists and camera-men were at least twice shepherded in a body away from the scene of action.
As a member of the public I had a better view of the First Lord rather dismally reading his speech, whose contents were unrevealed. But even I, a few paces away, could not hear. The luck of being on the scene did not compensate for the closing of the exhibits which my companions had travelled some distance to investigate.