WHAT happens to Sister's hair when she enters a convent and they shave it off was revealed to a shocked Richard Dimbleby on B.B.C. television's "Panorama" this week.
He was told that it is bought from Italian convents at £30 per kilo, brought to England, made up elegantly for London socialites, and resold at up to 75 guineas per head of hair.
He pointed at the wigs being displayed before him, saying: " Is that what happens when girls take their vows ? I'm afraid I don't altogether agree !"
• But he was not a hit shocked when, later in the programme, he took viewers to a Liverpool maternity hospital to hear a young Catholic mother say that in a difficult pregnancy, the life of her unborn child is just as sacrosanct as hers.
Spreading his arms across the table, and looking at the camera lens, he said : There you are. The controversy goes on."
Said the mother; " I have been given a chance to try and go to Heaven when I die. I would want my child to be given that chance. too, so I would sacrifice my life for it."
There were other mothers who, on being asked. said more or less the same thing. One of them had told the surgeon just before her operation: "'Save the child whatever happens to tne," The doctor saved both. She now said she was happy for having stuck to her Catholic principles.
• But there was another woman. who said: "No, it must be me first, and not the child. I am a Roman Catholic, but I am afraid I am also a coward."
There were the husbands who praised their wives for having had the strength to act as Catholic conscience dictated. and there was the Catholic doctor who said: " I must not deliberately end pregnancy. but in its earlier stages, when there is cancer or haemorrhage, I am allowed to treat that disease. even at the risk of the unborn child's life."
"'Panorama" wanted to be fair, and it also gave interviews with mothers, fathers and doctors who do not hold the Catholic view on this difficult " mother or child" question. But the panoramic view of the Liverpool hospital was strikingly Catholic : the readiness of young parents to give up life for life's sake, shown us by Richard Dimbleby, will remain in the memory of thoughtful viewers.