the fact that the two most talked about books in English about the first session of the Vatican Council were written by Americans. One we review on our book page this week. The other — Xavier Rynne's Letters from Vatican City — will be published here in a few weeks' time.
Xavier Rynnc himself is a mystery, No one knows who be is, though many people can make a more or less shrewd guess. Indeed, some think Xavier Rynne is
penname for more than one person who collaborated in writing the book.
When the Letters first appeared as articles in the New Yorker magazine, they caused a minor sensation. The Rome gossip held that they were required reading for many Bishops who found in them the first all-round view of what was going on in St. Peter's. Though Rynne's book, like Robert Kaiser's, has been both highly praised and heavily attacked. it makes the same point as Kaiser's — that much of the fault for the world's scanty knowledge of the Council's work was due to the hopelessly inadequate press service.
Insurance plus MoROM the fertile brain of Fr. T. A. McGoldrick, Catholic Chaplain at Liverpool University, comes what strikes me as an excellent idea. It is based on the fact that at this time of the year new graduates from the Universities are taking out insurance polities.
Fr. McGoldrick has made a special arrangement with an insurance company which specialises in graduate insurance; has offered what he describes as "a worthwhile percentage" on every policy taken out by someone introduced by the chaplaincy.
There is, of course. no extra charge on the policy-holder, otherwise no one could blame him for preferring to do his business in the normal way. But Fr. McGoldrick's has the added advantage of bringing extra money into the Chaplaincy fund which is still e30,000 short of its £70.000 target.
Incidentally. Catholics at Liverpool University number over 13 per cent of the total and will soon reach the 1.000 mark.
Poor response OUk offer, made in the corms. pondenee columns, to publish dates of study week-ends and similar functions organised by Catholic societies did not attract much response. The offer was made in a footnote following a reader's suggestion that the compiling or a register would help to avoid clashing dates and also to provide a quick reference for Catholics wishing to attend the functions, Only two people wrote in to approve of the idea. Mr. H. S. Sharratt of Teddington wrote to tell us of the difficulty he had in finding accommodation for the annual conference of the Teachers' Y.C.W. groups. He feels many teachers would now like to know it has been arranged for October 12 and 13 at Soithwell House, Swiss n Miss M Cotitage. And M. M. Bate, organis
ing secretary of Our Lady's Catechists, was determined to get her society's spring and autumn conferences advertised well in advance. Its pext conference is at the Cenacle Convent, Hampstead. on April 24 to 27, 1964.
P.S. -A late note from Fr, Conrad Pepler, 0.P., to say that Spode House, perhaps our leading conference centre is all behind the idea of a "register".
Atahuaipa nUR photograph shows the "Crown of the Andes", which took six years to make, in the days of the Spanish Empire in South America. and was destined for a statue of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.
The crown is made of Inca gold. encrusted with no less than 453 jewels, including the 45-carat "Atahualpa Emerald". It is valued at e1,600.000, and elaborate security precautions were taken when it was brought to London in the Queen Mary recently. Obviously too valuable for any single person to own nowadays. it belongs to an American syndicate, who were hoping to sell it over here, Not surprisingly, they failed.
Work on the crown began in 1593. The original instructions to the craftsmen who made it read, "The crown must exceed in beauty. in grandeur and in value the crown of any reigning monarch on earth .. otherwise ii would not be a becoming gift to the Queen of Heaven."
Shortly before the First World War. the Czar of Russia wanted to purchase it, on the grounds that it was the only collection of emeralds which outshone the one owned by the Russian Imperial Family. The Czar's negotiations were. however, abruptly terminated by the outbreak of the Russian Revolution. Thc crown was sold to its present owners in 1936, Conference BA R BA R A WARD JACKSON. the noted Catholic economist whose perceptive article on Pope John appeared in the Observer the other week. has been asked to lecture on "Farmers and Planners" to a residential conference being sponsored by Oxfam and the U.K. Freedom From Hunger Committee from July 30 to August 5 in Oxford.
Other eminent speakers will include Sir John Lockwood (on voluntary service). Sir George Allen (on food and population) William Clark and Dr. A. H. Boerma, who is Director of the World Food Programme.
Part-time attendance is possible and there is a reduced fee for students, if there are any who can take time of from exams at this time of year. Details from Oxfam.
Printing display I HAD never realised how much Christianity and printing went hand in hand in the early Middle Ages until I saw the exhibits in the "Printing and the Mind of Man" display at Earls Court this week. In a series of scaled glass cases (so that temperature changes cannot affect the old manuscripts) lie dozens of Bibles, psalters. tracts and even t he o I ogicaI works chosen as particularly fine specimens of their period, One first edition that I noticed must be the envy of connoisseurs. It is a copy of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum printed in 1559—just after the Congregation for the Index was created—by Antonio Mario in Rome. Among the offending works on the page at which the exhibition copy is open is Boccaccio's Decameran.
The Index. the catalogue remarks with asperity, "is the classic example of censorship . . but its real influence was not widely felt until the invention of printing." If some of our theologians have their Way, I suppose copies of the Index will become even rarer.
Eric Gill Li NOTHER remarkable book on " show is the edition of the Four Gospels published by the Golden Cockerel Press at Waltham St.
Laurence in 1931. This fine example from the press that was owned by Robert Gibbings has decorations engraved on wood by Eric Gill, the Catholic artist, sculptor and designer.
Gill's name is familiar to typefounders everywhere—he designed several different type faces which bear his name, and others as well, such as the "Perpetua" type which is used occasionally on our Book Page.
New Professor ICOR thc first time, a Catholic has been appointed to the British Oxygen Research Chair of Anaesthetics in the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He is Dr. .1. P. Payne at present lecturer in anaesthesia in London University Postgraduate Medical School and consultant anaesthetist at Hammersmith Hospital.
Dr. Payne is a Scot. Born at Dalkeith. he graduated from Edinburgh University in 1946 and served in Leith Hospital and the Royal Infirmary. Edinburgh. He is one of the country's experts on anaesthesia and has written about this subject in many learned journals and has lectured extensively broad, Rare Ceremony A CEREMONY seldom seen in .1-%. this country and one that has not taken place in the Liverpool Archdiocese for over forty years will be performed on Sunday evening next. It is the bestowal of the insignia of the rank of Protonotary Apostolic, which Monsignor James Redmond will receive at the hands of Archbishop Heenan. It will take place at St. Joseph's Blundellsands, where the seventy-seven old prelate has been parish priest for over twenty-five years. It marks his golden jubilee of ordination which occurred in May.
After ordination at St. Joseph's, Up Holland Mgr. Redmond took a doctorate of divinity in Rome and remained as vice-rector of the English College for the next fourteen years. In this capacity half the present English hierarchy, including Dr. Heenan, came under his tutelage. Made a Privy Chamberlain in 1921 he was raised to the rank of Domestic Prelate ten years later. For a number of years he was Chancellor of the Liverpool Archdiocese and frequently acted as pro tent Vicar General.
INE enthusiasts among our readers will have a chance to show their families and friends "The Lire of Pope John XXIII", when the evenings begin to draw in again.
The Audio Visual Division of the Rank Organization have produced a short, documentary film based on black-and-white newsreels taken during Pope John's reign, by arrangement with 20th Century Fox.
The film shows Pope John's Coronation. a number of public appearances. and the audiences which he gave to visiting Heads of State, including the Queen. Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy is also shown.
The film, which is in two reels, costs 303. to hire from the Rank Film Library. Churches might well consider booking it for showing in their parish halt.