Lesson of charity
THIS is the first awkward Sunday after Pentecost for the facts of the Profumo case will not be disclosed Ilefore tomorrow while the Conclave will reveal its secrets later in the week.
Pope John's bewildering reputation has multiplied many times since his death. In the Press, both editors and letter writers cite his example when lecturing other public figures on the way to behave.
It is a pity that some editors and letter writers do not apply his lesson of charity to themselves.
Bishops on TV
How lucky we are our hierarchy does not rush to TV on every occasion, that it entrusts its remarks to one recognised spokesman if and when there is anything to say. C. of E. bishops are sincere, well meaning. men of virtue and learning, hut like many others, they are not all good on the screen. Many of them waffle and in so doing put over a damaging image which we poor suckers have to hear.
The viewing public makes no subtle distinctions between denominations and judges Christianity and the churches by what It hears and sees. No uncharity is intended here. If one may he guided by the comments of those who gather round the screens each evening, viewers of all denominations will agree.
One of the mysteries of modern life is the willingness with which so many accept the prejudices of pressmen, less in the papers than from the TV screen. A panel of pressmen discuss a point in public and it matters little whether they be racing, football, financial or fashion correspondents, their views on morality seem to be accepted without a second thought. Or are they ?
Lord Hfailsham certainly scored a point down here in Dorset when he let fly at such impudence, Oddly enough pressmen and poll ticians belong to the two professions which demand no necessary qualifications other than a quick pen and a glib tongue.
There are, certainly, learned pressmen and learned politicians, but great care is needed in spotting the winners and separating the sheep from the goats.
From Gibraltar came this charming letter a month ago: "My name is X. My age is eleven years old. As you may have seen. I have sent you £0 I ls. 7d.. which
I have collected from my friends to help the Nevett fund for little Indians. Sincerely, P.C."
Readers have heard nothing of the Nevett Fund for several weeks. Silence in this case is golden, and donations have been pouring in. The fund stands now at £1,930, so the provisional target for the year 1963 has been reached inside eight months. Fr. Nevett. confined to bed for several weeks with rheumatic fever, sends happy letters, for our generosity has enabled more than 100 outcast children to begin school.
I am sure that no readers will want the fund to end because we have reached our target, and while thousands of poor Catholic Indians are pleading for our help. " Priest in the Piazza " is to be published this week. and all the royalties will go to the Nevett Fund. A word of thanks to kind friends in a Limerick bookshop. These received a trade copy of the book and immediately sent a donation to the fund.
1 write from Wareham. where I will be acting as locum for a month. Across the road from the small Catholic church, in the ancient chapel of St. Martin, is Kennington's fine effigy of Lawrence of Arabia in Arab dress.
Country parishes are no sinecure. This morning, Sunday, I said Muss at Wareham at 8.30 a.m., motored six miles to lovington for Mass in the camp at 9.30 a.m., and was back at Wareham for Mass at 11 a.m. Both at Bovington and at Wareham the congregation joins in the responses of the Mass.
At Wareham the little church was crowded out. Catholic papers are ordered in advance and appear in the church porch each Sunday with the name of the family written on each copy. Having foolishly slammed the presbytery door with the keys on the study table, I had to appeal from the pulpit for an amateur thief.
One small volunteer came forward, delighted, and climbed through a presbytery window with the more devout of the congregation cheering and praying on the lawn outside.
At the C.Y.M.S. conference at Buxton, a Scot told the story of a friend who. in confeesion, accused himself of being drunk. Said the confessor : "You drunk, Jimmy ! Tell me. how many did you have ?" Answered the Scot sombrely : "Father, I came to accuse myself, not to boast!"