Digging Into The Past
Back to 1847 I CAN hardly imagine a more delightful bedside present than the one I have received from Mr. B. W. Walker, of Pascoe Vale South, Victoria, Australia. And the book comes from even further south, for Mr. Walker purchased it for Is. 6d. in a junk shop in Hobart, Tasmania. It is a volume in which two English Catholic Directories are bound together, the first for 1847 and the second for 1848. This was just before the Restoration of the Hierarchy, and the 1847 Directory has Dr. Thomas Griffiths as Bishop of the London District, while the 1848 gives us the Right Rev. Nicholas Wiseman. Pius IX had succeeded Gregory XVI in 1846 and the 1847 Directory contains a heavily blacklined obituary of Pope Gregory and a biography of the new Pope which has a very contemporary sound. After pointing out that in the past the accession of Popes passed largely unnoticed, it goes on: "The election of a Pope is now regarded by the whole civilised world as an occurrence of no ordinary magnitude, as bearing not only upon the spiritual but even upon the temporal interests of the human race . . . the Protestant as well as the Catholic world has hailed the accession of Pius XI to the chair of Peter."
London, 1847 T HESE pages are filled with A fascinating information — not to mention the language of the many pages of curious advertisement (they must have had an excellent advertisement manager).
We read of 112 years ago in history books, but how much more alive it all seems in these contemporary faded pages. Thus 1847 has no Faber among the list of Catholic Clergy, but 1848 records . "Faber, F. W.; St. Wilfrid's, Cheadle." Most striking of all perhaps is the fact that Lancashire even then had 106 churches and chapels (Yorkshire 61 and Staffordshire 36), whereas Middlesex (including London with a population of nearly 2,000,000 even then) had only 24. If you went to Westminster you would only get two Masses on Sundays (at 9 and 11 ) in St. Mary's, Romney Place, Marsham Street. In Wimbledon your only chance was at iI.15 when the Rev. Joseph Bower drove over from Wandsworth after saying the 10 o'clock Mass there. However, Vespers was commoner then than now.
The Place of Servants NOTHING perhaps shows more ' graphically the differences between those days and ours than the two pages of the Directory devoted to the "Institution For Catholic Servants" under the patronage of all the bishops, various lords and ladies, and only one untitled person, Mrs. Jones, of Clytha (the family which gave Llanarth to the Dominicans is still in the district, by the way). The thirteen "General Rules" include the list of female servants: housekeeper ; housekeeper and cook; professed cook; plain cook; under cook; lady's maid; upper house maid; under house maid: kitchen maid; dairy maid; laundry maid; maid of all work ; nurse; under nurse. The Institute was "under the direction of a Committee consisting of a President, four Clergymen, and three 1,aymen, approved by the Bishop of the London District." Surplus funds were to go to the building of churches and chapels. Those were the days! I hope to include further oddities to be discovered in these yellowing pages in future notes.
Leaflets or Cards THE Catholic Truth Society, corn'. menting on my suggestion that Dialogue Mass leaflets should be made available as soon as possible. teas me that they have a "Dialogue Mass card" in preparation. It will be ready in about a fortnight. But nothing makes a church more untidy than cards distributed and collected — not to mention the work involved, especially in a large church. Besidea it has not the Gloria. Credo, Pater Noster, etc. I stick to the idea that a leaflet that can be bought by the worshipper and kept in his prayer-book or missal is far better. I am thinking more of the many who have no missals and are not familiar with the Latin prayers and responses. In my experience abroad a congregation very quickly takes Dialogue Mass for granted and does it perfectly, but the speed of learning (and understanding, if there is a translation) would be greatly increased with leaflets. And, by the way, what is the English translation of Et CUM spirigu tuo? Would we ever normally dream of saying: "And with thy spirit"? -And with you, too" seems the obvious answer. I understand that Mgr. Reynolds, parish priest of The Borough. is producing a leaflet which could be slipped into a missal, and that this will be out soon.
Unity at the Crucifixion Altar A LETTER from a Jesuit priest "in the Lebanon tells me of a touching expression of the will for Christian unity in Jerusalem which took place at the altar of the Crucifixion itself in the church of the Holy Sepulchre. The altar stands over the exact spot of the Crucifixion. At the invitation of an Anglican Canon, Catholics and Lutherans joined with Anglicans in silent prayer together for unity. It is hoped that this will start a tradition and that in future years many more will join in this silent prayer. The only sad note is that the Orthodox, who were asked to join the group, declined. Perhaps the new encouragement of the Pope will cause them to change their mind in another year. Alas, the story of the Holy Sepulchre basilica has been only too sadly one of Christian disunity.
Fr. Walton Hannah I THINK many readers will be glad to know that the Rev. Walton Hannah, one of the best known of recent Anglican converts, is to be ordained at the Archbasilica of the Lateran on March 14— how did he come to miss St. Gregory two days earlier? He has been studying at the Beda, and I understand that he will be exercising his priestly ministry in Canada. I am sure he will be especially glad of the prayers of our readers.
Are You One of These Catholics ?
THE latest Catholic magazine to appear is the "Greyfriar", a monthly edited by the Friars Minor Conventual. The different types of Franciscans have always been a bit of a mystery to me, but I know that these Franciscans are black because they run the church at Rye which at one time I used to visit pretty regularly. But the magazine is edited from Liverpool. One article begins: "If we were to make a survey of Catholics we probably would find that more of them have heard of 'flying purple eaters' than have heard of the Tertiaries of St. Francis." Well, I am not one of those Catholics, and I doubt if a single one of my readers is either.