Sra,—As a conetant reader and supporter of your paper I should like to protest against the euggestion of certain of your correspondents that the CATHOLIC HERALD should lend its aid to
echeme of which the object is to revolutionize the sacramental discipline of the Church. Such propaganda is
surely outside the scope of legitimate Catholic journalism. Non ita sunt tractandie rea Ecclesiw!
Corpus Christi Church, Maiden Lane, W.C.2.
[With all deference to the view of Fr. Arbuthnott, we must say that we do not agree. Catholics, whether clergy or laity, are perfectly entitled to discuss these matters In private and they En fact often do so. So long as public discussion is Limited by certain obvious conditions we cannot see that it is wrong. Such conditions are: (1) that In view of the dignity of the subject matter th.. discussion should be dignified and serious; (H) that It should conform to what is proper, feasible and orthodox; MD that it should not be conducted after the manner of airing grievances Or expecting redress, but be, on the contrary, prudent testing of Catholic experience and opinion so that in the course of time If there seems to be solid ground for If. petitions in the proper form may he made to authority whose decision. whatever it may he, will be accepted without question by the most ardent of the controversialists. When it Is a question of suggesting changes In the Liturgy we, as laymen, prefer that the matter ahould be Initiated by priests of experience rather than by the laity. In the case of the possible mitigation of the law of fasting before Communion, or the re-establishment of evening Mass, this has been the case. It need hardly be added that views expressed in these columns do not necessarily represent the vigws of the CATHOLIC FIERALD,—/IIO1 tor]
The Nursing Mother
SIR,—As an expectant mother I was compelled to eat a dry biscuit on rising every morning to dispel a feeling of faintness and nausea. This I know to he a common experience.
I have been able to nurse our children myself. A nursing mother must drink at least three pints of water every day, beginning with the baby's first feed at 6 a.m.
Hence for me childbearing has entailed the deprivation of Holy Communion for about 17 months—at a time, moreover, when it was most needed.
M. RILEY. 8, Eslington Terrace,
tit may not be generally realized that application can be made to the parish priest for a dispensation from complete fasting before Holy Communion. The parish prieet, at his discretion. forwards the appeal to the higher authorities. The legislation of the code Is not so strictly worded as to make this dispensation available only to those who are seriously ill or permanent invalids. There does not seem to be any reason why a petition should not at least be made in
the above case.—E01T05.1
Plight of Nurses
Sis,—Mr. B. J. Brown reminds us that the Pope (not to mention Our Lord) insists on fasting as a good penitential practice. Of course. But fasting need not mean total abstinence from food or drink. And I imagine that any director would check a penitent who wanted to do a penitential act which would interfere with his going to the Sacraments. In fact, we say: " Don't fast" in Lent if fasting would interfere seriously even with the burliness or domestic duties of the day. As for the morning fast being " beneficial, especially for invalids," wen, I have never been in a hospital (and I have been in many) where it would have been tolerated. Nor can I think that breakfast is " unnatural " in our climate or In modern conditions generally. Nor can I remember anyone's suggesting the abolition of the Communion-fast in favour of " the rest," i.e., all save nightworkers.
C. C. MARTINDALE.
SIR,—I have nursed for seven years and wap much impressed with Fr. Martindale's article suggesting that the time was coming when the law of fasting Communion might be mitigated under certain circumstances. Things are even more difficult for us than Fr. Martindale realizes. For instance, on night-duty, going to Communion on Sundays (for various reasons weekdays are worse) means a snatch-and-grab meal at a quarter to twelve, the reason for this being that the night-nurses' supper is seldom served before midnight. Then it is often 9 and occasionally 9.30 a.m. before we can get to Mass and no hospital I know of keeps a meal for nurses who have been to church later than 8.45 a.m. Added to all this is the difficulty that if the authorities realized that we missed meals on Saturday nights there would be trouble! Also the point that Fr. Martindale makes about there being so many absurd people who if they can't go to Communion, won't go to Confession is specially true of Catholic nurses. Is this partly why so many of them lapse or at least become slack?
TRAINED IN THREE HOSPITALS.—
Earlier Masses for Workers
Sig,—Your Rev. correspondent Borate Omit stated last week that it is no exaggeration to say that at the present time daily Communion is physically Impossible for 80 per cent. of Catholics. This percentage could be immediately reduced without any recourse to legislation on the subject of evening Communion, if priests would say their Mass at an hour when it would be physically possible for working Catholics to he present. 8 a.m. for the first and often only Mace is obviously almost useless.
Although the present writer lives within a stone's throw of a church it is
necessary to travel two miles to attend daily Mass at a reasonable hour—i.e., 7 a.m.
Alterations Would Do More Harm Than Good
Sue—As a priest of nearly 40 years' standing, and as one who has now to duplicate every Sunday, and feels the pinch very much, I would hold up both hands against any change in the present discipline.
To my mind if there is one thing more than another that has helped to pre serve reverence and respect for the most Blessed Sacrament, it is the fasting observance.
We are told—by what authority?— that people would come in greater numbers to Mass if celebrated in the evening. Why do not the same people come to Benediction? Even on the Sundays when it might be thought they would sacrifice a little of their time and leisure to assist at Benediction, the many have discovered the reducible minimum and neglect it.
It is nothing but one relaxation after another—the conditions imposed for the ordinary fast are so easy now that the so-called fast day has become almost an absurdity. Many of the unemployed would like to be able to fast (so) on such easy terms all the year round. The truth is we hate mortification, and are fast becoming an ease-loving, pleasuregoing, cinema-haunting, chip-eating generation.
Fancy, after nearly 2,000 years, being asked to favour the abandonment of this hallowed discipline. The truth is, Holy Communion has been cheapened too much. How often—even with religious —will you find the full quarter-of-anhour, which used to be enjoined, given to thanksgiving after Holy Communion.
I know a church in Belgium where Holy Communion is given every quarter of-an-hour, from 5.15 a.m. to 8 a.m., but only the very few assist at an entire Mass. Many in such a Catholic town may not be able, it is true, to do more, but. I think the burden is the other way, and that where Mass and Holy Communion go together as an integral thing, better results follow, I may be wrong, but I think if the Catholic instinct and sense be explored, far and wide, it would be all for the retention of this salutary discipline, just as, au contraire, it was against the suppression of the Feast of Corpus Christi as a day of obligation.
A PAR/SH PRIEST.
llt. 15 important that this correspondence should not get out of hand. There has been no question of abandoning the fast, but only of certain mitigations of the present discipline in view of the circumstances of life of so many categories of modern workers. Nor Is this ques11...n at all the same as Evening Mass. The latter would appear to most of us a revolutionary measure, whereas the former only involves a comparatively minor change which, as Fr. Martindale has said, has been openly discussed at the International Reunicn of the Apostleship of the Sea and at almost every Eucharistic Congress.—Entron.]