Avoid the extremes
CHARLES DAVIS, the priest theologian who left the Church and is now Professor in the department of religion at Sir George Williams University, Montreal, was the preacher at the opening service of the Edinburgh Festival, at St. Cities Cathedral on Sunday.
He is in Edinburgh to take part in a conference on artistic and religious communication which is sponsored jointly by the divinity faculty and the department of educational studies at New College.
He preached about primitivism. and apparently it was pretty highbrow.
More down to earth was the sermon by former Scots Guards Major, Fr. John Ramsay. at the Festival Mass at St. Mary's Cathedral, offered by Cardinal Gray.
He pointed to the dangers of becoming too conservative or too progressive. but told the congregation there was a greater danger in becoming nothing at all.
Many people, he said, felt they had nothing to contribute, or felt they couldn't commit themselves to any particular cause, so they didn't commit themselves at all.
"It doesn't matter if we are artists or typists, the conductor of a Philharmonia orchestra or the conductor of a number four bus ... Christ needs all of us for His work.
"By all means let us avoid extremes. but let us not opt out altogether." he said.
McElwain's new job
READERS of this newspaper will remember Alan McElwain who was our Man in Rome. Having gone to live in Sydney, he has been appointed as press officer for the Sydney diocese the first appointment of a layman to such
a position in Australia.
He will he responsible for channelling information on all aspects of the Church's work and activities to the news media.
Mr. McElwain's appointment follows 15 years as a
foreign correspondent in Rome. where he was accredited by the Vatican. He represented the Sunday -limes, the CATil01 lc Hiatato. the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Herald groups. the Argus South African Newspapsrs and other newspaper and beoadcasting interests.
Returning to the missions
LsR. .1A M FS COWAN, of the -1-' Mill Hill Fathers, who helped to set up the Missionary Institute in London which is shared by ten missionary societies. and who is now rector of the Mill Hill Fathers house of. studies in Glasgow, is shortly to return to the mission fields.
Fr. Cowan, aged 49, who served in Kenya from 1952 until 1960 as principal of a teacher training college, is to return to Kenya next month.
He was rector of St. Joseph's College, M ill Hill. London, from 1964 to 1968, and with the late Father Andrew Murphy, Provincial of the White Fathers. helped set up the London Missionary Institute.
The Institute also provides preparatory courses for lay missionaries, and was recently affiliated to the Catholic University of Louvain which enables it to offer degree courses.
Fr. Cowan is being succeeded as rector of the Glasgow house and organising secretary of the Mill Hill Fathers in Scotland by Fr. Michael Traynor, from Coatbridge. Lanarkshire.
Fr. Traynor, aged 60, has just completed 20 years service in India, first as parish priest in Kashmir and then in Hyderabad as rector of the regional major seminary.
Brave Fr. Desmond
ENGLISH Dominican Fr. Cosmas Desmond, who continues to challenge the South African authorities by breaking house arrest to go to Mass on Sundays, has hit the headlines again.
He was accompanying Zulu Chief Gatsha Buthelezi when he was refused lunch at a five star hotel in Johannesburg owned by Trust Houses Forte.
A report of the incident has been sent to their headquarters in London.
The hotel manager. Mr. L. D. de Pinna, is reported to have said: "The group has no racial policy. We simply abide strictly by the laws of each country in which we operate."
Fr. Desmond knows the laws too. But daily he is brave enough to defy them.
Beauty takes the veil
WHEN Australian beauty queen. Christine Francis, arrived in London seven months ago and announced that she was joining the Cister clan nuns. I was, I confess, rather sceptical. Even more so when she had a last fling of London night spots, drank Vermouth
menthol and smoked enthol
cigarettes, accompanied by a photographer who used to be her boyfriend in Queensland.
What some neoole will do for publicity. I thought to myself.
But it seems I have been
uncharitable, The vivacious 23year-old from Brisbane has now taken the habit as a novice at Holy Cross Abbey, Stapehill, Dorset.
I would like to prove to you that you don't make a decision like that lightly. I would like to dispel any suspicions you might still have that it is a publicity stunt, by explaining to you the sort of life she will lead there.
he News of the World told us on Sunday that she will rise at 3.30 a.m. and start her day with five hours of prayer. When I asked Mother Abbess
about this she said "Nonsense." And that's about all she would say.
"We don't want any publicity about this,she said. I explained to her that she already had the News of the World is read by millions. The paper also told us she will work on the abbey dairy farm and vegetable garden. .followed by more prayer and instruction before bed at 7 p.m. She will not speak because there is a rule of silence.
How much of that is "nonsense" I really can't tell you. Mother Abbess, firmly though politely. was not saying.
The Catholic Information Office was not in a position to say either. "The convent won't play ball. They don't want publicity. They don't even want people to know they exist. We have never met such a blank wall." I was told.
Which is contrast indeed to the Cistercian monks who once opened their doors to Malcolm Muggeridge and a television team.
I can understand and sympathise with Mother Abbess in her wish to be left ;done. But if a girl voted Australia's Girl in a Million for her brains and personality gives up her life of glamour, and after several months of living a contemplative life decides to commit herself to it. the world ought to know about it.
In need of help
MRS. PEGGY COVERDALE is a kindly lady who runs a home for Catholic children at St. Helen's Crescent. Hastings. She is mother to sixteen youngsters between 7 and 17, some of whom have been with her since she opened her 15-bedroom house to them ten years ago.
"I'm 48 now and it is beginning to tell on me. I desperately need a young Catholic couple to help run the place.
"1 have advertised extensively but have never succeeded in getting anyone who is a Catholic, or even a Christian. although 1 have had considerable help from excellent young graduates," she said.
Two male graduates there at the moment are both going on to become social workers.
It would be a pity if Mrs. Coverdale was forced to close her home through lack of helpers. Any offers?
Theologians on tour
IRISH theologian, Fr. Enda McDonagh of Maynooth, is planning a lecture tour of Britain in November.
Starting at Bristol on November 14, where he will address a meeting on "Conscience and Christian Ethics." he will lecture at London on the 15th. Birmingham. the next day, and conclude the following day in Glasgow.
The title of his London lecture has yet to be confirmed, but in Birmingham his subject will he "Personal responsibility since Vatican 11," and in Glasgow he will tackle theological issues.
Another internationally famous theologian, Fr. Bernard Haring, is also on a lecture tour of Britain in November.
He will be in London on the 20th, Cambridge (21st), Birmingham or Nottingham (22nd), Liverpool (23rd), and Glasgow 124th).
ON Saturday, September 9, for the 21st year. a group of Catholic laymen and two priests will hear Mass at the Guild of Our Lady of Ransom Office, in London, and after reciting the first Joyful Mystery
of the Rosary will pack up their packs and set off to walk 120 miles to the Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham in Nor folk.
Two of the men who set out with the late Mgr. Goulder on the first walk will be among the 24 setting off this time. They are Leonard Neal and Raymond Ryden.
When they reach Walsingham on September 16, 2,541 miles will have been walked and 315 hours of silent prayer will have been observed by almost 150 men in the 21 years of this pilgrimage.
"The numbers have had to be restricted to 24 for safety reasons, but many more would like to take part. We have al ready started next year's list," said Mr. Paul Hirons, the Guild Secretary.