Coming Back Into Fashion THE other day I picked up a " Soviet
Booklet " called Marriage and the Family in the U.S.S.R. I am not competent to check the accuracy of its information, though I was amused to note that its first words were inaccurate. It starts with a reference to a modern French novel which it calls Le NW de Viperes. It should be Le Noeud de Vipkres. But much more interesting and important than the question of accuracy is the revelation of the trend of feeling towards the family. The book defends divorce—and on this point we must, of course, differ. But if we except that matter, we find here a consistent plea for a family ideal which corresponds to the Catholic tradition an attempt to argue that monogamy. the rights of parents, procreation as the object of marriage. the dependence of child on parent and the unique value of that relation of affection—that all these arc the aim of the Soviet system. We find the vulgarity of free love, "affaircs," childlessness strongly denounced. Coming from this source it is a remarkable tribute to a very great deal of what Christians have stood for through the last fifty " capitalist " years. It is reassuring to know that we are coming back into fashion.
Drink IWAS having a drink last week with one of the distinguished American editors who have been making a hectic tour of this country. A big smiling fellow came up and I was introduced. My connection with this paper was mentioned, the paper itself being flatteringly described. " Don't t know it?" answered the newcomer, who turned out to be a London correspondent of one of the big Now York papers, " I read it regularly in order to pick out extracts to quote in my paper so that can refute Catholics out of their own mouths. I quoted half a column the other day of a justification of the Pope's attitude to the war. I thought I couldn't do better for the anti-Catholic cause!" All this was said with roars of friendly laughter all round and assurances of unaffected personal friendship. After all. I was quite willing to be judged by the great American public on what we have written—and so was he!
Charles du Bos IMUST apologise for an error in this column last week. Several readers have informed me that Charles du Bos, the French Catholic critic, of whom I wrote as though he were still alive, died in France in 1940. Somehow or other
I missed this sad bit of news. I had never met him personally, though I cherish some of his letters, and I knew a certain amount about him personally through the late Alger Thorold, who was an intimate friend of his. By the way, I see that Alger Thorold's wellknown translation of The Dialogues of St. Catherine of Siena is being republished in America and widely advertised in Catholic papers.
"V" for Vatican SAID a London paper last week: " Vatican Radio ended the French news bulletin last night with the words ' Courage, confidence.' Part of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, the opening theme of which has the rhythm of the Morse V, was then played." I would like to believe the headline given to this story: •' Vatican gives ' V ' Sign," but I fear it's all just coincidence. Vatican Radio has been ending its French broadcasts ever since the downfall of France with the words: " Courage! confiarice! Dieu vous guardel Luise soh Jesus Christ!" And it often follows with the broadcast of records from its limited repertoire, ranging from Tchaikovsky to Beethoven and Chopin. I have heard it play the " Fifth " quite often.
Strange Human Nature
THE inability of people to see them selves as they see others is surely one of the most remarkable characteristics of human nature. And it is never so evident as in war Thus last week Mr. Morrison had no difficulty in telling a large audience in reference to possible raids on this country that " the Hun is .still the same nasty customer, and is not going to get nicer in bombing . he may yet attempt some desperate and savage stroke." I know the Nazis started it and will be judged in history as such, but with Hamburg, Milan and other cities virtually destroyed it is an odd time to suggest that heavy bombing is the business of a " nasty customer " and a " savage stroke "especially from a highly placed Minister !
No Surrender I ANOTHER example of our inability to appreciate in others what we admire in ourselves is to be got from
studying the comments on the Italian refusal to surrender. This is explained by cowardice, stupidity, chicanery, maliciousness, betrayal of the poor by the rich—in fact all the reasons that filled the German press and propaganda when we refused to accept the so very kind German invitations in the summer of 19401
Information AS a change from war—or even Catholic—information, i offer the following. In the last two years I have taken a taxi from the same spot in Fleet Street to Marylebone Station about a hundred times. In every case the taxi has chosen a fresh route, and the fare has always been 2s. 9d., except once when it was 3s. How many routes are there between these two spots? Lovers of permutations, combinations, topography and maps, please answer.
Italian Figures AMID the welter of names that fill 4-1 the Italian papers after the fall of Fascism, it is good to come across a few who are familiar owing to the fact that they are on one's own bookshelves. Thus I read that Guido de Ruggiero, author of the rather heavy but valuable History of European Liberalism, has been released from Bari prison, where he was awaiting trial, and made President of the National Confederation of the Liberal Professions and Arts. Croce was never interfered with, but he received a telegram of greeting from Leonardo Severi, the new Minister of Education. The evidence of wholesale changes in editorial chairs reminds me of the advantages of editing a paper based on principles that have not changed for 2,000 years!
Bookshop Change THE curious transformation operated A in the well-known Catholic bookshop in Victoria Street, whereby half the shop has been turned into a secular book-shop. widely advertised for the purchase of all books, suggests to me a kind of opposite transformation. It seems to me that it would be a good thing if more Catholics ordered their current Catholic literature from the ordinary bookshops, especially perhaps the big shops in London and other large towns. By doing so they familiar. ise these shops with Catholic books and encourage them to keep a stock for the benefit of casual shoppers, thus helping to spread the circulation of Catholic books among readers generally.