in Brentwood .1 HE ID EA of lettingthe laity, assembled in pastoralcongress, find a voice of their own has had repercussions overseas. The Archdiocese of Chicago,pianningits ownCongress for 1981, decided to send two observers to England to see how it should be done.
Not having actually got to Liverpool in May they came to London last week to ask the bishops what had happened.
The latter had been getting together to consider their long-aw ailed response to the Congress. But no detailed response has yet emerged.
'They have decided instead to issue a statement in August. By then it will be too late for any lay-episcopal consensus to be operative at Rome's autumn Synod on family life.
Germany has done better. Its bishops have invited leaders of representative lay groupsto join them at their next Pastoral Commission meeting in order to prepare common ground in time for the crucial gathering in Rome.
IT IS B El N G suggested in Romethat therope'sBrarilian visit may have produced the first turning point in his pontificate. He had beenwarnedbeforehaandbyBrazil'sbishopsthat an unduly hard line on political dissenters could — in a country more repressive than his native Poland — endanger the lives of thousands of liberation-minded Catholics, including many priests.
The regime there would have liked nothing better than to round up more and more "communist suspects" and to quote the Pope in defence of their action, But John Paul had apparently being willing to listen to urgent advice. Being a man of courage and forthrightness, he respects such qualitiesin otherseven when they beg to differ.
ONE HAPPY by-product of the hierarchical get-together on the Congress, however, wasthat the participants w ere ableto attend the episcopal ordination of the new Bishop of Brentwood. They went down from London by charabanc.
Next day, in Brentwood, attention reverted to the former bjshop to whom fond farewellswere beingsaid. N o shepherd of th at diocese had ever come closer to his flock than Bishop Casey. A notable case of sincerity and charm overcoming natural shyness.
Disappointment was expressed that suggestions for a suitable farewell presentation had seemingly come to nothing.
Now the big question is: w ill the new bishop turn his present parish (Stock ) into his episcopal headquarters? Rumour has it that he might.
A FEW weeksafter my innocent remarksabout theloavesandfishes — and the multiplicationof lettersthat followed —an interesting article appeared in the Quaker periodical The Friend. Robert Page was looking (July 4)for an alternative to the"superficial" explanations of the incident.
"It has been suggested," he writes, "that Christ's example of sharing inspired others with food to do the same. This sounds a more likely explanation and probably represents a greater miracle."
Times have not changed much. It is often those with most who part • withit least willingly. Lerslook for an es ampletow ard theCaribbean and stop off at the beautiful islands of the Bahamas.
In winter it is a favourite haunt of the international jet set. Nassau harbour in February and March is crowded with ocean-going yachts while the long days are made oppressively luxurious in such Hollywoodish hideaways as the Porcupine Club over on "Paradise Island." t.
Meanwhile, this year, in another part of the islands, an appeal had been made to the parishioners of Mary, Star of the Sea Church, Freeport. 1'r Brendan Forsyth, OSB, was, as a result, able to send the Catholic Herald a cheque for just under £1,000 for transmission to Mother Teresa. The sum represented theLenten sacrifices of parishioners, including children. In some cases the giving must realty have hurt.
Wouldsuchquixotry have read ily appeared among thejet set hadthe plea been for "part of yourself not just a cheque"? One doubts it — short of a miracle.
A READABLE and well illustrated mini-coffee table life of the Queen Mother, by David I.iveridge, has just been published by Arthur Barker Ltd, a subsidiary of Weidenfeld. It gives a chatty account of the "Queen Mum's" eighty adventurous years and a sensitive description of how she helped the future George VI to forget his unhappy and repressed childhood to becomes() popular a King.
It containsoneratherglaringerrorinstatingthatthefirst royalbirth to occur in Scotland since 1600 was that of Princess Margaret in 1930.1n fact the long spell had been broken many years earlier when, in 1887, Queen Victoria's youngest daughter. Beatrice, gave birth to a baby girl, Princess Ena of Battenberg.
Ena, in 1906, became Queenof Spain. This involved "going overto Rome", in those daysastraumatic an experience in British royal circles as it was for the individual concerned. To become a Catholic then meant abject confession of past heresy and affirmation that none can besaved outsidetheCatholic, Apostolicand Roman Church.
Many Anglicans were affronted, while 1 Itramontane Spain suspected that Ena remained a "Protestant "at heart.The King, Edward V II, didn't mind what hisniece did aslongasshedidn'tdo it in England.
An over-lengthy browser in a Bristol bookshop finally contemplated a modest purchase. On asking the price of a slim pamphlet the bookseller enquired: To read here. sir. or take