By GRACE CONWAY
The influence of the Catholic film folk in Hollywood—actors, producers and directors — is being increasingly felt both inside and outside the studios, according to Fr. Cecil Barron, of the Church of Si. Edmund of Canterbury.
Born at El Paso, Mexico, Fr. Barron lived in Los Angeles all his life until he came to this country to work with his order—The Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He told me when we talked last Monday :
" Most people, owing to the wrong kind of publicity. think that Holly wood is a place with a very low standard of morals—and perhaps in some respects it is.
" But I think people are slowly being awakened there to the facts of religious principles which are the motivating force of humanity. And, in this, Catholics are playing no small part.
WONDERFUL EXAMPLE Many of them have very definite opinions on the kind of scripts they like and don't like, " Irene Dunne, who was chosen this year as the most distinguished American laywoman by Notre Dame University, is one of these. She is a fine person and a wonderful example. Loretta Young, too, does much active work for the Church, and her presidency of St. Anne's Mothers' Club (in her own parish) is no mere empty title. ,, Of course, everyone knows of the Pat O'Briens, the Bing Crosbys and their children—all active and energetic in the work of the Church and staunch supporters of the great Christianising efforts of Fr. Peyton and his famous Family Hour '— a weekly radio feature which must be one of the few uncommercialised broadcasts on American radio.
" I believe this costs around 25,000 dollars a week, but is supported by
contributions from all over the country.
' There is nothing sectarian about it—many non-Catholic film and radio folk give their services and it has an enormous listening public."
Among producers and directors, he told me. are two great personalities —Leo McCarey and John Farrow. Jose Iturbi, the famous pianist. is a good friend to Fr, Barron's own order. He has played the organ at our San Domingo seminary at Compton, Los Angeles, and his sister. Amtara Iturbe also a noted musician, came with him.