No all-night vigil just a misprint
HEAVEN help us ! The CATHOLIC HERALD announced last week that the meeting of the " Religion in Britain Society " would begin with coffee at 1.30 a.m. What must have sounded to many like an all night vigil turns out to be just a common or garden misprint.
Let us get it straight. The two German publicity experts, one Lutheran, one Catholic will be lecturing at Church House, Westminster on Saturday, March 23 at 1030 a.m.
One of the classic Catholic misprints came some years ago in a pamphlet. The statement as printed read that St. Teresa of Lisieux from heaven had promised to send red noses to her earthly friends.
Remarks in this column about taped retreats brought a charming letter from a London retreatant who had sneaked a recording machine into the chapel to record her spiritual director on the sly. Be now knows and laughs.
She and her friends sit round the tea table to revive the memories of their last retreat. They love the reminder and find it useful but agree that it lacks the charm of the 'live address. All those quaint mannerisms, like polishing the watch and chewing the sturdy legs of National Health spectacles, apparently play their part in the pleasure of a retreat. Retreat fathers will be relieved to know of this experiment and that there is still some point in turning up in time for the first talk. They are advised, if they note any suspicious wires, to trip over them and break them at the source.
1 have just come to the surface for a breather after completing the 1,200 pages of Meriol Trevor's glorious book_ This biography of Newman cannot easily he described in an age which uses its superlatives so easily onmore trivial things. For me it is certainly one of the biographies of a life-time and a meditation book as well.
If the facts have not altered, the picture of Newman has completely changed. He appears more witty. more energetic, far more trenchant and one sees how right he was in his attitude to criticism. Where previously one might have dismissed him as "an old woman", today, with due re-spect to Pope Urban VIII's ruling, he looks very much like a saint.
Italian canonisations are glorious and no doubt give joy in heaven. Please God, if we pray hard enough we may yet see a second English doctor of the Church.
The genius of MerioI Trevor shows in her arrangement of material to clarify every paint in Newman's Icing and varied life. Unless new material is produced and handled by authors of equal skill, her verdicts will pass into history as the final word on the Victorian religious scene.
There are shocks galore. It is frightening that the Injustices of the Oxford Establishment, which make the blood boil in the opening volume, are reproduced with less excuse by the Catholic Establishment in Vielume H. Poor Fr. Faber, in the august company of Cardinals Wiseman. Vaughan and Manning, shrinks in stature from page to page. Mgr. Talbot, never attractive, stays where he belongs.
Of the bishops, Ullathorne, Clifford and Brown increase their reputations and the poor old English Catholics are vindicated in the end. le is an odd experience to read such a book knowing that the author is only saying what many have guessed in secret from the start. Newman was done down from a variety of motives by smaller atid more ambitious men.
It k strange to note that. in another sphere, Sir Winston Churchill would have suffered the same but for 1939. Newman used his adversity to find holiness but this is small consolation. God had to intervene to let his light shine before men.
It was a pleasure to visit Stonyhurst again and to note the rapid increase in the new wing. Now two-thirds completed and already in part occupation, the new block offers many more private rooms. There used to be about sixty private rooms for boys; there must be nearly a hundred now.
Each day 1 vested for Mass in front of the relics of St_ Thomas More. His cocked hat is easily recognisable, his night cap is there and "the George". which one sees in his portraits, slung round his neck.
The relics came to Stonyhurst because his last direct descendant was Provincial of the English Jesuits.
The many who heard with lasting pleasure Fr. Robert Murray's lectures at the Westgate courses will now certainly enjoy his first book,
"Behold The Lamb of God" is published by Geoffrey Chapman (12/6). It is an unusual book in that the author himself has written very little, his contribution being the simple and very helpful arrangement of the gospel texts. The Personality of Our Blessed Lord stands out with an astonishing clarity rarely achieved in larger and more ponderous tomes. Preachers, teachers, retreat-givers will find the book most useful but it is the people who want to pray who will like it most. The simplicity of approach springs from great learning for Father Murray, a convert, has a profound knowledge of Our Lord's life. He is at present engaged in higher studies in Rome. Those who remember his excellent lectures on Eastern methods of prayer and on the use of icons will recognise in this book the same quiet. gentle. unassuming approach.
I forget the catechism question but the answer given to me recently went as follows: "1 hey go down to that part of Hell called Bingo."