Friend of Monasteries
A GREAT many Catholics have
known that for many years now Lord Hore-Belisha was deeply attracted by Catholic faith and Catholic life. In particular, he roved the life of contemplative monasteries and regularly visited them in this country and abroad. The last time 1 lunched with him in his farmhouse on Wimbledon Common I arranged to drive him this summer to Prinknash, which he had never visited a trip, alas, that will never take place. He seemed to look forward to the treat like a child, especially when I assured him that the guest at Prinknash got the best of spiritual and temporal comfort. On another occasion when I lunched one Sunday at Farnborough, I was not surprised to find Hore-Belisha my fellow guest and to enjoy with him and the Prior an hour of delightful conversation in the guest-room after the meal. A great favourite of his was Mount St. Bernard's, the Cistercian monastery near Leicester. Inevitably, the question of whether the colourful inventor of Belisha Beacons would become a Catholic was often discussed among Catholics in private. In my last conversation with him, I went so far as to pull his leg about one of our Bishops, saying to him quite plainly one day: " You know, you ought to become a Catholic." He smiled thoughtfully as he recalled the Incident and said to me, rather sadly: "You know, one has loyalties." 1 wonder whether we shall ever get further than that on a seeming mystery.
H0RE-BELISHA was certainly
an ambitious political man, but he seemed to take very philosophically the sudden break in what still looked like a splendid career — right to the very top perhaps. And he was content to make his come-hack as a peer and elder statesman, nor was he ashamed of asking Catholic friends for their prayers that somehow this should come about. To the last he was so vital as a host, so full of life and always seemingly so eager to get his guest's views that he could hardly have had any premonitions of early and sudden death. But he loved talking about religion, and a person who talks about religion does not mind talking about old age and death, to which he seemed to look forward rather ruefully. He also enjoyed talking about his early years. One of the stories he enjoyed telling about himself was when he was travelling in Morocco and came up against a guide who undertook, among other things, to show tourists the house where Mr. Hore Belisha, the British War Minister, had been born. He joined the party and saw it all. The only trouble was that there was no foundation at all for the ingenious guide's pilgrimage. My last words to him, a few weeks ago when he was off on a tour in the Middle East, were : " Don't forget TELE CATHOLIC HERALD. We'd like to have an article about it all." That article, which l am sure he would have written had 1 pressed him enough, will never come. Catholics will be moved to praying for the repose of his soul — not least in our contemplative houses.
The priest's view
FR. C. P. SCARBOROUGH, of
the Sacred Heart Church, Caterham, has made a point in his 43rd Parish Weekly Newsletter which I am only too glad to pass on to all readers. Discussing the question of the audibility of the celebrant in parts of the Mass, he, in his turn, complains of the way the people, especially on weekdays, stick at the hack of the church. " To be audible in a large church is a big strain on the voice and very tiring—you have no experience of this and would probably be surprised to know how fatiguing it is." One reason for inaudibility, he suggests, is that " many priests have given way to despair "! That smaller congregations should gather together near the altar is very much in the spirit of the Mass and greatly helps the celebrant. But the final answer in the large church can only be the loudspeaker. How helpful it is in some churches now to hear the epistle and gospel read in English by a lector while the celebrant reads them to himself in Latin. It also gives more time for the sermon. As to the latter, I find that most people, contrary to the usual view, greatly appreciate an instruction.
The Cure d'Ars
MR. LANCELOT SHEPPARD
tells me that he is writing the life of the Curd d'Ars, whose centenary is in 1959. As he is writing especially for Englishspeaking readers, he is very anxious to trace any accounts there may he of English or American visitors to Ars in the saint's lifetime. He feels that in the archives of convents, monasteries, churches, homes, existing in the first half of the 19th century, there may well he records of such visits. Archbishop Ullathorne visited the Cure, but the original letter describing this is missing and the printed version is not complete. It all seems rather a long shot, as the "Grand Tour" would hardly include Ars, but if anyone knows of anything, w ill he write to Mr. Sheppard at Capel Cottage, Nettlebridge, Oakhill. near Bath?
FROM the Abbey of Saint
Maurice I have received a note drawing attention to a "Swiss Date to Note" which did not appear jn our Travel Number. "You might have mentioned," the letter says, " September 22, when four large 12th century silver reliquaries are carried in procession at St. Maurice. The martyrdom of the Theban Legion has been celebrated on this date since St. Avitus of Vienne preached at the inauguaration of the monastery in 515. Agaunum, soon called St. Maurice, is situated, as Julius Caesar tells us, 12 miles from the head of Lake Leman (of Geneva) on the banks of the Rhone. The Treasure, which includes a 7th century golden casket, can usually be seen on application --except during the Community Retreat in the first week of September."
The 1960 Missal
UNDER its heading "Tele grammes," Paris-Match prints: " The Congregation of Rites is preparing a complete recasting of the Missal for 1960. In the Mass there will be more room for the participation of the faithful."