Patient; judge's memorial
A memorial service for Sir Seymour Karminski, the distinguished High Court judge, provides the double opponunity of paying tribute to a great man and for taking the Temple Church, where the service was held, in London as "church of the week" (impossible last week through lack of space).
Lord Justice Karminski, whom I had known foi quarter of a century almost to the day, was an extraordinarily courteous and patient judge, a gallant Naval Commander during the war and an extremely well-informed ecumenist.
This was by virtue of his involvement in such organisations as the Council of Christians and Jews; and his active and studious pursuit of its objectives on a wide scale in everyday life.
His considerable knowledge of Catholic affairs was helped by the fact that a nephew of his a noted an exegetical scholar into the bargain — is Fr Henry Wansbrough, a monk of Ampleforth Abbey.
The Temple Church — well worth a visit if you are strolling between Fleet Street and the Embankment — is of immense interest to Catholics_ The "Temple." of course. got its name when the returning Crusaders returned from the Holy Land where the ruined Temple of Solomon was a symbolic focal point in terms of history' and devotion.
The church was dedicated in the late 12th • century to Our Lady by Lord Heraclius "by the Grace of God the Patriarch of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre or Jerusalem."
In May 1941, the Temple Church was almost totally destroyed by bombs. But work on its reconstruction happened to uncover. five feet below the choir, the remains of what must have been a beautiful 12th century chapel, thought to be on the site of the original Chapel of St Anne. mother of Our Lady.
There are some arresting figures on the north side of the C hurch, supposedly representing Henry 11 with three Templars. to whom he is presenting the charter of their foundation, with edifying words of instruction for Templars based on the Commendation of St Bernard:
"Never an idle word or a useless deed, or immoderate laughter, or a murmur, even if onl) whispered, is allowed io go unpunished. Draughts and dice they detest.
"Hunting they hold in abomination and lake no pleasure in the absurd pastime of hawking. Soothsayers, jesters and story tellers, ribald song and stage plays, they eschew as insane follies_
"They cut close their hair, knowing as the apostle says that it is a shame for a man to have long hair. They never dress gaily and wash but seldom.
"Shaggy by reason of their uncombed hair, they are also begrimed with dust and swarthy from the weight of their armour and the heat of the sun."
This week, as promised, our guest diary piece is "contributed" as if by the Daily Express's very own Miss Jean (Hook or by C—) Rook, whom we must now picture sitting opposite Archbishop Dwyer of Birmingham, resulting in the following account of the occasion: Just imagine your favourite journalist. usually appearing in your favourite morning paper, howling down to Brum to interview your favourite archbishop! Having taken on notables of the calibre of Mrs Thatcher and Lord Horder (no relation), Mrs Williams and Mr Heath, I started going over all shy as I approached the archiepiscopal residence.
But the roly-poly, boyishlooking archbish quite disarmed me. Like a clerical, plain man's Quintin Hogg, he brought in tea and biscuits himselF while I perched on a purple-bottomed chair tugging frantically at my skirt.
"No need for alarm, however, with this cosy, homespun man of God — as I thought to myself, used to summing people up in a few minutes.
"Bravo, archbishop," I ventured after the first warming cuppa, "on so statesmanlike a stand by a high Church dignitary against the IRA."
"Oh. I hope that's not the only thing people associate with me." chuckled his charming Grace.
"I'd rather he thoeght of as a simple priest."
"But that's what you say to all the . . I mean that's what you always feel you must say, isn't it" stuttered his impertinent guest. almost going too far.
"No, no. believe me. I am without guile. An innocent at home. Ignorant of the big world. That's why it would he much more interesting to hear about a life as fascinating as yours must be, Miss Rook. Do tell me about it!"
No guile, ch? Don't you believe it! Just about the wiliest and shrewdest old bird I'd met in a month of scoop-searching Sundays.
He's my boy!
The deadly seriousness with which "religion" is sometimes taken can never quite quench the often light-hearted but always profound sense of "faith" from which the manmade aspects of religion must ever be distinguished.
At least, there are times when all, however distinct. can be united in spirit if human efforts arc superhuman suddenly, as revelation shows that they are meant to be.
It thus seems only right, in this season of goodwill, to send grateful good wishes to all our faithful readers. The most faithful of all are those who are always vowing they will never read the paper again. Year in, year out. they breathe righteous fire and doom-laden indignation.
Alas for the prophets of doom, however, the paper is in a flourishing condition. And. of course, the people who prompt our deepest gratitude are the mass of readers who may not read every word of every issue with quite such fanatical, inquisitorial zeal as the doomwatchers, but provide the healths and normal market for a paper that is recognised as "Catholic" by all but the microminority who think they are the only ones in step, the quasiecclesiastical Urial Creeps of our day.
And, of course, I must apologise to those lonely, humourless souls who seem to have thought that Lord Arran, et al, really mere writing in "Heraldiary." The ruse seems In have succeeded all too well.
A happy Christmas to one and all!