TV at the Cathedral
Newspaper poster outside a church
WHILE I was watching the
VI' Westminster Cathedral evening service on my television screen. I was thinking very much of an elderly lady in France to whom it must have given great pleasure. Religious services there are regularly televised and very much appreciated by the old who live in the depths of the count rs and cannot easily get to church. Where she lives, moreover.. the paucity of church-going Catholics is such that one priest has to take charge of a good many neighbouring parishes. How she must have appreciated the very striking beauty of the cathedral and its high altar and choir, all of which managed to look even grander than they are. To the French, moreover, the office of Compline in Latin presents no difficulty. But what of us?
Need it be in Latin IT was this thought of reception in France which perhaps made me feel so very strongly how little of actual prayer and understanding Latin Comptine can have conveyed to the British non-Catholic viewer— and perhaps to many Catholics also. Majesty, beauty and what one might call the certainty, security and antiquity of Catholic worship must have been overwhelmingly impressive. In that I was reminded of my strongly anti-Catholic Anglican clergyman grandfather who, visiting a great French cathedral on holiday with his daughter, ran into a great service with a Cardinal officiating. "They've got something there we can't touch," was his comment—but his anti-Catholicism was not affected. One wonders whether it would not be possible, quite apart from the vernacular controversy, for the office of Compline especially — the Church's nightprayers and something of an afterthought in the cycle of the Divine Office—to he publicly sung and said in English, not merely on such occasions hut always in our churches. The B.B.C. periodically do a very moving Anglican version. One hates to think that the meaning and understanding of Catholic Compline lies hidden under exterior glories. Nor can I resist mentioning the shock when the announcer referred to Compline as rhyming with tine. I was nearly ringing up Gilbert Harding to report to him the television pronunciation a few days earlier of "subsidence" with the accent on the first syllable; but now. on looking it up in the C.O.D., I find they give the accent as either on the first or the second syllable— which shows that one !Mist not he too cocksbre about these matters. IVI. was a shock last Sunday to 4ind, on going to Mass. that the newspaper kiosk near the church blazoned forth a large poster, that must have hit the eye of most worshippers, advertising "I Was a Nun," a serial running in a large-circulation Sunday newspaper. It is a superficial, silly and sentimental story of a girl who gives the impression of never having had the glimmerings of a real vocation. hut it must give readers generally a totally false understanding of religious life. I know that much of this outside-church Sunday selling of all kinds of doubtful papers is often in no way under the control of the parish authorities, But I suggest that unless the vendors have some sense of suitable display' on such an occasion and in such a place, something might be done to ask worshippers to get their general newspapers elsewhere. It would then soon stop.
Priesthood of the laity THOSE who live in glass houses . . Still, I feel I must protest against a large headline last week in a contemporary Catholic newspaper. It read : The Priesthood of the Laity is a False Idea—Pope's Warning." A newspaper headline is quite capable of permanently implanting an idea in people's minds. Those who troubled to read the article. not to mention editorial comments, would have got the truth, which is quite different from the headline. The Priesthood of the Laity was not only clearly laid down in the Pope's Mediator Del, but it is of course scriptural. as the Pope has just noted. It derives from the participation of every Christian in Christ the High Priest. The point is that it is essentially different f r o fli t h e sacramental priesthood of the ordained priest. Every Christian is called upon to suffer and make sacrifice with Christ, even up to the greatest sacrifice of all. the sacrifice of life itself, for the truth. This is the priestly role of all Christians. clerical and lay. to be. as the Pope has said, most carefully distinguished from the Christ-instituted special and ordained priestly power of taking the place of Christ m the
Sacrifice of the Mass within which the whole Church and all the faithful present participate as members of Christ's Mystical Body.
Sports communication from Mr. Potter NA R. GILLIE POT-I ER was a IVI spectator last week-end at the always keenly contested rugby match of Sherburne against that most modern of Benedictine educational establishments, Downside. It was an exciting contest throughout; opposing teams were equally divided, coding with three points each. However, Our self-appointed sports observer regarded the visiting Downside threequarters' play to have been superior because of the excellence of the passing. He propounds the interesting theory that this may have been due to a difference between the respective environments of the contestants : one set of youths ever surrounded by endless enjoinders towards selflessness. their hosts meanwhile being continually influenced by that subtle English Public School spirit which. while fostering esprit de corps, is at the same time inducive of the individualism that enables one to stand on one's own feet but, sometimes. also to hang on to the ball too long.
Jesuit-Benedictine prayer AJESUI friend of mine carries in his breviary the following charming prayer, said to have been written by a Benedictine. What about putting it in our missals? : Give mc a good digestion, Lord, And also something to digest; But when and how that something
comes We leave to Thee. who knowest best.
Give us a healthy body. Lord; Give us the sense to keep it so; And also a heart that is not bored Whatever work we have to do. Give us a sense of humour. Lord; Give us the power to see a joke; 10 get some happiness from life And pass it on to other folk.
St. Jude in the Underground W AITING for an underV ground train' the other day. I was startled to see he name at St. Jude sticking out from behind the broad shoulders of a traveller. It vast a large advertisement of the personal column of a famous newspaper. cleverly done by the selection of odd advertisements from it in large type "Thanks to St. Jude for favour received" was prominently displayed.