A DESCRIPTION of the church ' at Southhournc (Portsmouth) sent me by a reader (G. C. Norman). makes me wish for further little pen sketches of places where Catholic life is beautiful, keen and upto-date. If they reached me, I could publish them from time to time, and we would get a better picture of the Church in England (I mentioned Harvington a little time ago).
Here is the letter:
The church is of recent construction and gives a delightful impression of spaciousness and light whilst retaining traditional design and ornamentation. An unusual but welcome feature was a large painting of Our Lady depicted as a modern young woman in her garden, which went not at all ill with paintings in traditional styles. The most pleasant surprise of all, however, was to hear the congregation taking part quite spontaneously and naturally in the Mass, making all the responses at all the Masses. The sense of participating in the ritual of the liturgy accompanying the Dialogue Mass cannot be described, it has to he experienced. and it seems a great pity that Catholics et England have not generally moved as far along this road as the energetic parish of Southbourne.
" Admission Free " ?
ACORRESPONDENT, deploring the small attendance at the Catholic Festival Exhibitions, suggests that the reason is the high price of admission. "Admission Free," with a box for silver to help with the cost of running the show, would be a better idea, it is suggested. Certainly two shillings is two shillings these days, and with so much for the visitor to see. our two shillingses have to be very carefully planned— and remember that with a family two shillings very soon becomes ten shillings; and ten shillings with income tax means very nearly a pound. On the other hand, it is often said that a free show attracts fewer people than one for which you have to pay admittance. Certainly I was amazed at the number of people who paid their halfcrowns to sec the National Radio show where the only attraction is really one wireless shop after another such as you can see free any time by walking into one.
Comment on Persia
A FRIEND who has spent years in " India commented on the trouble in Persia when we talked about it the other day by recalling the following incident. In India, he was discussing Anglo-Indian relations with the most intelligent Indian he had met. In answer to my friend's point that if the British left the Indians would cut one another's throats. the Indian answered simply: "And by what right do you presume to stop. us doing mischief to ourselves?"
Story of the Convent
IWONDER how many know the story of the Governor's residence in Gibraltar, told by Mr. Churchill in the latest volume of his war history. The residence is called the Convent, and, writes Churchill "there is a story attached to the name. Up till 1908 the Governor's residence was always called the Convent. In that year, however, King Edward VIPs Private Secretary Sir Henry Ponsonhy. wrote to the Governor and told him that the King thought it advisable to change the name to "Government House." The reason given was that during the King's visit to Gibraltar in Sir George White's Governorship a paragraph had appeared in the English newspapers to the effect that the King had had luncheon at the Convent. Ten days afterwards His Maiestv received a resolution passed by the Protestant association deploring the fact that the King should have thought it necessary not only to visit but even to have luncheon at a Roman Catholic institution. However when King King George VI visited North Africa in June 1943 he expressed the wish that the Governor's residence should be renamed the Convent, so the Convent it still is."
Origin of " Ideology "?
A CURIOUS relic in the shape of a " dried and yellow copy of the Times of December 1917 was found in an unexplored loft by one of my children the other day. 14 pages was still the ration in that year of war, but the issue itself did not seem to contain very much of striking interest, except perhaps for a leader "Russia and Bolshevism" in which the Bolsheviks (nowhere referred to as Communists) arc written of in very much the same terms as today, their success being attributed to their being the only people in Russia "substituting actions for words." Pravda was already at it declaring that "for the enemies of the nation there is no place" and demanding the quashing of all "irregular" elections. One sentence raises the question of the origin of the word "ideology": "We have yet to see how far and how long the Russian people will allow the self-appointed representatives of what the Frankfurter Zeitung calls 'ideology' to go."
A letter in this issue begins: "Cannot the wit of man devise some means whereby the pestilential and insignificant group of pacifists. who misrepresent their constituencies in this Tithenius of a Parliament, may
be prevented from continuing to assist the enemy?"--a question as interesting in its recall of the long pacifist struggle as in its reminder of some of the men who were pacifists in those days.
SS. Cornelius and Isidore
DEAR Jotter, St. Cornelius of Carnac is the Patron of "horned" cattle, not of "Domestic Animals." The choice of a 3rd century Pope probably depended on his name! Baring Gould (Book of Brittany) says that there was a "horned" deity among the Gauls and suggests that, here as elsewhere. a pagan cult was baptised! The church altars are, similarly, built up from fragments of "dolmens" from the adjoining Necropolis of the pagan Veneti. And James Miln. excavating a Roman villa at Bosseno, discovered a votive image of an ox!
And another reader tells me there is no vacancy in the farming line, as St. Isidore the Farmer (d. 1170 Feast May 10) is the farmers' patron.
For Your Pet
AREADER writes rather angrily about an advertisement which, apparently, has appeared in our columns for a St. Francis emblem to hang round the neck of a cat or dog: We are invited " to see what protection it gives and how much safer our pet will be." At least the advertisement is honestly worded in inviting us to make the experiment without promising results. But— more seriously—does this differ much from the St. Christopher medal in cars ? Such medals and emblems are reminders to us " to raise our hearts" for a second when we see or handle them, and I daresay we shall protect our pets the more carefully when the medal they carry recalls to us our spiritual re sponsibilities. They are in quite a different category from the wouldbe spiritual bullying and blackmailing of chain novenas.
The Oldest Catholic Story?
CUSTOMS-OFFICER to Irish
woman with wicker-covered bottle: "And what have you got in that bottle?"
Irishwoman: " It's only a bottle of Lourdes water." Customs-Officer,
opening it : -Well. it smells to me mighty like gin."
Irishwoman: "Glory be to God! A miracle!"