AT LONG LAST, a genuine lively interest in the Pope's coming visit is in evidence.
The fact that he will be received at Windsor rather than at Buckingham Palace was announced quite a long time ago in well informed (and urbane!) circles but now has become more of less official.
The last visit of a "foreign sovereignto Windsor that had any connection with reunion with Rome in matters of religion was
that of Philip II in 1554 when he came to marry Mary Tudor, Windsor had become by that time a fit place to receive royal and noble guests having, a generation earlier, been cleaned up and reformed by a Cardinal.
It was Thomas Wolsey who had started the new era having discovered the Court at Windsor to be a resort of "vile and unmeet persons, whores, vagabonds and mighty beggars."
At just that time — in the 1520s — the King, Henry VIII, was writing strenuously against Luther and was dubbed by the Pope "Defender of the Faith."
Henry is buried at Windsor. The present Pope, they say. is even now brushing up on such sidelights of English history and is believed to have some surprises up his sleeve for all of us, One of them could concern the brave but controversial Archbishop of Liverpool, a well known and highly regarded figure in Roman circles. Is it true that the Pope has already made him a Cardinal in petto and an announcement about this may well be made during the Pentecost visit.
We will have to wait and see.
Snow: weather permitting
ON WEDNESDAY the Press Club in London was host to the graceful and gracious Duchess of Kent at the invitation of the Order of Christian Unity.
The Duchess was there to present the Order's "Valiant for Truth" award for 1981.
The proud recipient was Jon Snow who has now won three Media wards in three years.
In 1979 his reports from Ethiopia gained him the Monte Carlo Television Festival Award, and in 1980 he was named Television Reporter of the Year by the Royal Television Society.
The Order has been chaired very successfully for some years by Lady Lothian, one of the Catholics on a widely representative inter demoninational board. Of Jon Snow she says "he is a worldwide truth explorer,"
The award is presented each year "to pay tribute to the man and women working in media who courageously use modern means of communication to convey the truth in the public interest."
In 1978 it was won by Dr Sheila Cassidy "for fearlessly conveying the helplessness of persons tortured to talk."
On hand to congratulate Jon Snow was next week's "guest — Charterhouse," Sir Geoffrey Jackson. It hardly seems ten years ago now that Sir Geoffrey. when British Ambassador in Uruaguay, was kidnapped by the Tupamaros and held captive for nearly a year.
He himself came to know what it meant to be valiant for truth, and his valour never faltered. His book, People's Prison, was a moving masterpiece but came out just too soon to merit a Valiant for Truth "Shield" from the Order of Christian Unity whose first Award was given — to Oliver Whitley — in 1974.
The Jewish Liturgy
DESPITE every effort by the weather to produce faintheartedness all round, the visit by the Westminister clergy to the Central London Synagogue took place as planned last week. It was a great success.
Rabbi Shine, the minister, talked and answered questions for almost tvso hours and displayed all the liturgical facets of the synagogue. The visitors were fascinated.
The occasion was organised by the Council of Christians and Jews in combination with the national secretariat for CatholicJewish Relations.
The latter came into existence a few years ago under the enthusiastic chairmanship of Bishop Burke, Auxiliary of Salford and has already accomplished much in an important but formerly neglected field of ecumenism.
A similar project is already being discussed for the Sisters of the Westminster Diocese, and it is hoped that interest will spread to other dioceses as well.