Behind the scenes
T ENJOYED a private glimpse last -1-Sunday of the Grail rehearsing the Four Witnesses in the Oratory Hall, which is tucked away almost out of sight in a very narrow road leadlng from the Falharn Road. Unfortunately I did not have time to remain long enough to meet the players who went on determinately with a sort of semi-dress rehearsal. Looked at in those surroundings and from too near, the performance which is unique of its kind loses the immense effectiveness which it Juts in a great hall with the right lighting. On tha other hand, I did not have to be there for long without understanding the immense amount of work it entails and the quite unusual concentration which such mime and pageantry demand if they are to have a professional finish. There are new scenes this year, and most of the leading players are fresh to their work. Hopping about with a camera with a flash-light (which may or may not work) and trying to get focus and exposure right in -double-quick time is quite a job, and my respect for the rather despised' professional Press photographer goes up accordingly.
IHE Coronation of James II seems to be quite a thorn in the flesh of the non-Catholic publicist whose object seems to be to suggest the continuity of the Coronation Rite according to the Anglican mode. C. B. Mortlock (who ought to know better) writes in the Daily Telegraph : "It is a unique survival in the modern world and there has never been any attempt to alter its character, except when Archbishop Sancroft was obliged to adapt it to the unprecedented occasion of the crowning of a Roman Catholic Monarch, fatties II." The implication seems to be that James II was the first Catholic monarch. Oddly enough the number of Roman Catholic and of Anglican sovereigns since Edward the Confessor are very nearly equal: Roman Catholic 23, Anglican 21. But since the rite is supposed to go back to Egbert. one should really add 18 to the Roman Catholics, (Correspondents, please do not write to complain of the use of R.C. It is done for a purpose.) Something really "unprecedented" happened to Henry VIII who presumably was crowned a Roman Catholic, but is listed above among Anglican monarchs.
Prayer for Unity
EVERY year we receive a request, signed by Catholics, Anglicans, Orthodox and Free Church names, to publicise the Prayer to the Holy Spirit for Unity during the 50 days from Easter to Pentecost. with a recommendation to the clergy to encourage the people to mix this prayer with their ordinary occupations in home, garden and work. I am glad to he a channel for this request since we tend to forget the cause of Unity during this liturgical period so appropriate to it. And once the prayer is granted, there will be no need for captious (but now occasionally necessary) paragraphs Lice the one above.
Ad Midtos Annos
THE current Recta Review is the special centenary number, and it contains Fr. Rope's full account of the history of the college in two parts, the first part already printed reappearing for convenience's sake. Other articles on the Bede under different rectors are also given. Meanwhile we can usefully make our own the words of Cardinal Ciriffin in his foreword: "The name of Mmsignor Duchemin is linked inseparably with that of the Bede and, in wishing the College well. we wish him also ad maims annos."
Of stone basins— AR. A. D. LACAILLF, Fellow IY10f the Society of Antiquaries. writes from the Wellcome Historical Museum to send me a copy of the paper he read to the Glasgow AB scihhms o”1 o cea I Seogc ent y on his n ' 'leStitoe rn a: " C at holic archreologists in this country are not numerous, and I am an obscure one principally interested in the Old Stone Age." If he makes the grade and gets on to the panel of the experts in TV's "Animal, Vegetable and Mineral," he will rise from the obscurity which he does not deserve, to judge from a paper of some 50 printed pages on all kinds of stone basins, including ecclesiastical vessels, holy water stoups and piscinas, with excellent illustrations.
—and door stoppers
THOUGH I cannot claim that this I is a subject to which I can respond with enthusiasm, his words fall on responsive, if stony, ground, since reading his paper has thrown light on a stone basin in my possession (a picture of which I include) which serves usually as an infallible door-stopper in and out of my home. I understand that it was found in an Irish bog a .good many years ago and has re-, rnained in the family. I knew it was a kind of primitive mill for grinding corn. Now I know it is a "rotary quern of two components." That sounds far grander. It is of some kind of red limestone, and it looks in a rather better state of preservation than those illustrated in Mr. Lacaille's paper. If anyone has reason to think that it is worth £1,000, would he or she he kind enough to tell me. Meanwhile it is an excellent doorstopper.
AN Anglican clergyman, Mr. Frank Harwood, of Radwinter, Essex, has weighed in with a good point in favour of the vernacular for the Proper of the Mass. He noted that his "refined little server," of 10 years Old. on returning to the sacristy after a week-day service, said to him : "An interesting epistle this morning!"
THE other day in a certain home there was a spirited discussion over the dinner table about what to call a probably rather ponderous religious MS. perpetrated by Paterfamilias. Many—and not very successful—suggestions were made to he capped by the contribution of the youngest child, aged nine. "Why not call daddy's book 'Passport to Purgatory'?"
T RECEIVE letters from readers -Iasking for information as to where the Easter Vigil is being celebrated this year. As this information is nowhere officially available, I would be grateful if priests who see this note and intend to hold the Vigil this year will send me a postcard as soon es possible. It may be possible then to give a list in next week's issue.
I was told recently that the Vigil has become practically universal in
el'enst end Ihe" -ve It k,verv common in France. But it is rare here. I believe that it will be held this year in the Slipper Chapel at Walsingham to end a special students' pilgrimage from London.