THE D1NNLR last
week at which Cardinal Heenan expressed his "high hopes" that Pope Paul would be present at the opening in 1967 of the new Liverpool Cathedral was given by a group of Anglo-American correspondents stationed in Rome.
We are strictly informal. We have no official title and no "officers", except that, as someone had to do the organising even for informal affairs, a handful of us act as a committee. We dine in a restaurant once a month.
We were formedjust a year ago. Such is Cardinal Heenan's "drawing powerthat, at this opening dinner of our second year, we had our biggest attendance yet.
As we explained to the Cardinal—himself informal in black soutane and minus ring and pectoral cross—he had, as it were, moved from the supreme Ecumenical Council into a sort of minor one.
We all belonged to the same calling, albeit we followed various rites, mostly dictated by our individual newspaper hierarchies. We all lived in the same distinguished diocese. Yet, it was not until we took a good look at ourselves a year ago that we realised we rarely had any real "dialogue" with one another. So here we were . . .
With Cardinal Heenan. we were also glad to welcome the ever-helpful Mgr. Derek Worlock, secretary of the hierarchy of England and Wales, and the cardinal's own secretary, Fr. Burke.
It was a tip-top occasion. Yielded some nice "copy" at that, thanks to his Eminence readily agreeing to be "on the record".
Archbishop's package deal
LIVERPOOL CATHE DRAL, and the Beatles may seem a strange combination, yet Archbishop Beck wrapped them up nicely at a Press conference announced under the provocative title of "The Council, Culture and the Mersey Sound".
("Whatever has the Mersey Sound got to do with the Council?" a priest said to me on the way in. I told him 1 was much more anxious to discover what the Council had to do with the Mersey Sound.) Archbishop Beck did not actually promise that the Beatles, M.B.E., would he at the opening of the new cathedral. What he did say leas that as well as the religious ceremony, there would be a pageant for the occasion. mid modern music might well have a part in it. AnyhMt% what with the Beatles going to Buckingham Palace and also getting themselves into the rarefied Council ambit, I suppose if they did happen to find themselves in Liverpool with Pope Paul they could indeed claim to have "topped the lot". In London this week, when questioned by the CATHOLIC HERALD, a spokesman for the 'Beatles' publicity agents, Nems Enterprises. said: "We can't say whether they will play there or not. They haven't been officially invited yet." But, he added: "It's a long time from now, and quite possible that they ' might."
Cost question answered
ON A MORE serious ON A MORE serious note, Archbishop Beck said he might well be asked why in Liverpool "we are building a great modern cathedral costing two and
a half million pounds when
in so many parts of the world men, women and children are suffering want and starvation".
'the Archbishop supplied two answers: "In the first place, the project goes back to the days before the consciousness of world poverty and famine had made any serious impact on the people of the West, and a project like this, Once started, must be brought to a conclusion.
"Secondly, any cathedral in a vital and active diocese will be an inspiration to the People .of God to grow in their devotion to the Church. The fruits of this in the long term will be greater charity and greater zeal in seeking to help those in need."
In an amusing allusion to what questioners at Press conferences sometimes seek as against what they receive, Archbishop Beck said that he was once motoring in Ireland with his sister when she tangled with some cattle and the car ended up in a ditch.
A helpful Irish policeman came along and gave a hand in getting it out. Then he asked courteously if he might see the Archbishop's sister's driving licence. "Certainly." she said, looking in her bag, then in the dashboard compartment and finally gettinz, somewhat flabbergasted when she could not find it.
"Now don't he worrying yourself," the policeman said. "If you've got it, I don't want to see it. It's only if you haven't got it that I'll be looking at it."
No "scoop" for Fathers
THERE WAS a good deal of excitement, not to say incredulity, among assembled journalists at a Council "briefing" the other day when a speaker announced that he understood that Pope Paul had that morning sent to the Council Fathers a copy of the speech he was going to make at the United Nations.
It seemed incredible on the face of it. but after a good deal of hither-andyonning to the "right quarters" by puzzled correspondents, it turned out that what the Pope had, in fact, sent the bishops was a message about his trip and an appeal for their prayers.
You can't however, take anything for granted down the Council way. Some funny things have happened . .
False planet alarm
FR. DANIEL O'CON NELL„S.J., director of the Vatican Observatory, has been "inundated" with letters from people disturbed by what he describes as a completely untrue report that the observatory was "calculating the orbit of the minor planet Icarus to determine when and where it would collide with the earth".
The report, Fr. O'Connell say-, was put out by a !WWI' acgielyncdyinettlrtii,deer quaotinVgaft from an article in Atlante. an Italian publication. "It is an entire fabrication," he said. "The Vatican Observatory is not working on minor planets and has nor studied ICUMS. The report was apparently given prominence in many newspapers, especially in the United Stares and Canada, and naturally many people were disturbed. I have received hundreds of letters, mostly from these two countries, and even some telephone calls." Use of a Vatican City dateline had given the "sensational and absolutely false" story an authoritative ring, Fr. .O'Connell said, and scientists werecontacted among g people e ed si who had on