in a Few Words by Jotter Saints and the football results
A FRIEND rang me excitedly on " Sunday to draw my attention to the leading article in last Saturday's London "Evening News". It was called "A Saturday Reflection" on All Saints' Day and began with the question: "What is a saint?" I do not normally see week-end evening papers, and I do not know whether"Saturday Reflection" is a regular religious feature. But I agree that, whether regular or exceptional, what the "Evening News" had to say about the saints last Saturday was first-rate. Though the context and quotations indicate an Anglican writer. the article is wholly Catholic in sentiment. The article ends with a formula about how to imitate the saints by trying "to master the secret of their lives" and fixing "our attention on Him who is 'the express image of God' and make Him central to all our daily doings". I do not think, with my friend, that this indicates the early conversion of England. but it is certainly something to be going on with for which we should be very grateful, especially when it goes with the football results.
Irish? Catholic? Beware!
I FEEL it to be my duty to draw attention to the report in a Nottingham paper that the Recorder. Mr. Christopher Shawcross, before sentencing a man who had explosives in his possession to be bound over for two years, thought fit to ask him whether he was "an Irishman—or a Catholic". He was reassured by the negative reply to both these questions, though he had already received a negative answer to the question whether the man was a member of the I.R.A. It would be hard to discover any words better calculated to insult. not only the peaceable mass of Irishmen in this country. but every Catholic in it. People grew familiar with such insults in the 19th century. Being a century out of date seems odd in the case of a Recorder—and this is putting the matter as charitably as possible. Since writing the above. I have seen the Bishop of Nottingham's letter which is appropriately strong.
The Sales Saint BISHOP CASHMAN at the annual dinner of the journalists' Guild of St. Francis de Sales last week had, I hear. a most effective way of impressing on newspaper men the importance of their patron. Newspapers depend on their circulation. and a rush for membership of the Guild of St. Francis of Sales should come from the sales department. The Cardinal, who spoke at the end for a few moments. reminded the Catholic press (though perhaps it should be the buyers of Catholic papers) that space should not be wasted on Catholic trifles when there were so many vital and serious Catholic issues in the world today. Mgr. Worlock, to whom so many pass the buck when they cannot answer enquiries themselves, pleaded for reasonable hours of enquiry at least.
The mot juste?
I WAS going to write about "fork ing out" in church again. But I hear that a distinguished reader lamented Jotter's descent into slang and took the view that the note that contained it must have been by another hand. But no. Jotter (writing in Jotter notes) likes the mot Jude. for. alas, the mere fact that coppers are preferred to silver proves that giving the laity's offerings for the sacrifice is too often regarded as having to "fork out". Having changed houses last week (and I must write about that one day) I went to a new and prosperous church. "Here at least I shall see the plate loaded with silver and notes," I thought. Not a bit of it. The coppers must have weighed down the hands of the collector. But I hear that one reason—in many churches, at least— for this may be the Irish habit of giving big money at regular special collections. the weekly collection being more of a formality. I won der whether a more solemn offertory collection with the gifts being taken to the altar would stimulate greater generosity. As has been pointed out. even five shillings a aveck for the two collections only make £12.10s a year. a small percentage indeed of many contemporary salaries and wages.
THE hundreds of thousands of A motorists in this country who have taken their car across the Channel—not to mention foreigners themselves—must be having a good laugh at all the ballyhoo about Britain's first motorway-70odd miles long and more than a decade late. The British driver on holiday who encounters his first aurostrada or autobahn or long, straight, broad French road simply carries on, driving normally if rather faster. Is it then really necessary to give the impression that something wonderful and dangerous and technically completely new has happened just because at last we have a motorway? It was much the same with the double-centre line, as old as the hills abroad, but which had to be "experimented" with in this country and given lots of publicity. In my view. the really great miracle will happen when the authorities "experiment" with the most valuable of all Continental practices, the right or left priority. To get rid of the dangerous dithering at less important cross-roads would be worth far more ballyhoo. however late it comes, than the motorways we should long ago have had or the double centre line. It would save lives and might even lower insurance premiums.
0UR readers who already have had the opportunity of studying the views of Fr. Arthur McCormack, of the Mill Hill Fathers, will welcome his little C.T.S. leaflet called "Overpopulation — Is Birth Control the Answer?" One has come across apologists in this sub ject-matter as in others who give the impression that they are defending a case rather than facing a question with complete objectivity. Fr. McCormack, who has given a great deal of time to the subject, writes as one who has been forced tw the facts, not by his Catholicity. to the conclusions (1) that the world is very far from being overpopulated, areas of poverty being due to man's failure to give priority to industrial and agricultural progress, and (2) that attempts to deal with this problem by birth control is a harder and longer task than raising standards of living. The real challenge is not to the Catholic Church which teaches that artificial birth-control is morally wrong, but to the rich and developed countries of the world who, instead of adequately sharing with the poorer ones, think it enough to enrich themselves continuously and waste so much capital and energy on armaments, dropping but a few crumbs from their overburdened tables for others to pick up. This is a pamphlet of only 24 pages which should be spread as widely as possible among non-Catholics, for it has the double effect of meetin.g a constant objection to the Church and challenging everyone to do the Christian thing towards the underdeveloped parts of the world.
An enterprising choir
TT is not often that we hear of a AL. church choir flying standards high enough to undertake public performances, but the St. Thomas More Choral Society, a new and enthusiastic body of young singers attached to St. Thomas Mare's church in Hampstead, tell me that they are about to give their first performance beyond the confines of their home ground. In aid of the World Refugee Fund they are giving a programme of French church music, which will include Faurd's "Requiem". at the French church in Leicester Square next Tuesday
(November . Hampstead's rest
dents are among the most international in London, and when John Morris, the choirmaster, began 18 months ago to form his society he enlisted singers who came from all over the world. No wonder these enterprising musicians are keen to revive lesser-known works of religious interest: they plan, if their performance goes off well, to follow it up at Christmastime with a programme of old and new carols not usually heard.
Sedition and Rock 'n' roll
nNE of my staff, who is vainly trying to learn Swahili in the hope of going out to East Africa. came across the Swahili service of Cairo Radio more or less by accident when fiddling with the wireless while at home recently convalescing from an attack of 'flu. Although he has struggled over half-way through a Swahili grammar, he says he couldn't understand more than the odd word here and there, but he imagined it must be largely taken up with fervent denunciations of Western exploitation of Africa. He was somewhat surprised when the news and commentary ended and the rest of the programme was taken up by rock 'n' roll.