This week, I thought I should couch the "Heraldiary" in day to-day form, but with the im portant difference — compared to other newspaper "diaries" that I would actually talk about the activities of the day in question, and not merely dissertate about anything that came into my head. So here goes:
Wednesday. A birthday lunch at the Garrick Club in the com
pany inter alit,, of Kenneth More, with the conversation almost inevitably touching on Father Brown.
With only four more stories to go in what has become an outstanding television series, fans of this highly talented descendant of the original man for all seasons, St Thomas, will be taking extra special care to be tuned in to ITV between 9 and 10 on Thursday evenings.
The best story from the period when the series was being shot (partly on the estate of the well-known Catholic, and former actor, Sir Giles lsham) concerned Kenny's having tea (still wearing his cassock) with the local vicar, and nearly being mistaken by Sir Giles for the new Anglican curate. "I'm Father Brown," said Kenneth More, to forestall any possible confusion. "Yes, yes, of course," said Sir Giles. "For a moment 1 thought you were Kenneth More."
Thursday. A reception at the Ulster Office in Berkeley Street
in honour of the Women Caring Trust — a fund-raising organisation to help women and children in distress, and at present working in Northern Ireland.
The group is a non-sectarian and non-political organisation whose successes in Ulster were,
on this particular evening, eloquently attested to by the
Secretary of State himself, Mr Merlyn Rees, as well as Messrs Jeremy Thorpe and (for the Conservatives) David Howell. Among those passing drinks and refreshments were some charming young nuns from Dighy Stuart College.
Further information about a courageous and enterprising venture is obtainable from: Women Caring Trust, 3 Victoria Square, London, S.W.1.
Friday. Lunch with the new London director of the Israel Government Tourist Office, Chaim Klein. I learned that plans are not only extensive but extremely well thought out for the heavy "overflow" of Holy Year pilgrims to Rome next year who are also expected to visit the Holy Land.
Indeed it would seem that a pilgrimage would hardly be complete if the Holy Land is not included in any pilgrimage next year, especially as it can be "packaged" in with a visit to Rome at very little extra cost. To visit Rome in Holy Year, in fact, without visiting Jerusalem, would seem much like a Moslem visiting Medina without first going to Mecca.
And now — as was not the case when the last Holy Year took place in 1950 — the Holy Places are freely visitable by members of all faiths as a result of the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967.
Saturday. I spent an interesting and unusual day at the Elim Bible College, near Horsham. I had been asked by the Vicar of Southwater, the Rev Colin Beeson, to be a guest speaker at a day's discussion on the interconnection between Christianity and certain professional-cum-social activities.
Other speakers were Mr Douglas Tilbe, a director of Shelter, and Mr Tom Parson, whose experiences in both active trade unionism and management helped to explode some myths about the two supposedly conflicting "sides" of industry.
Douglas Tilbe gave some alarming facts and figures from the housing front, pointing out that the percentage of national resources spent on this social need was declining. This led, at least indirectly, to a lively debate on how the idea of "community" could be extended both in spirit and in practice.
A sort of consensus emerged that, trusting in the Holy Spirit, we should, as Christians, "let ourselves go" far more than we have done up to now. This could mean that wherever there are Christians, a true community within a community should exist as a sort of spiritual archipelago which would also be a reservoir of hope, fellowship and mutual help overflowing into the wider community all around it.
Sunday. Church of the Week: St Mary's, Cadogan Street, Chelsea, the church in which I was baptised and which has seen many changes even in that very short period. (Please don't ask: "How short?") The latest development has been the major "face-lift" executed with skill and taste by the present parish priest. Canon John I.ongstaff. And we were reminded last Sunday that financial problems continue to press.
For St Mary's is no more a rich church now than was its predecessor in the early nineteenth century, then known as "Chelsea Chapel." In which connection an entry from the "Laity's Directory" for 1839 is not without curiosity value:
"This chapel, erected to afford the comforts of religion to a highly deserving class of men, viz: the aged, disabled, and veteran Catholic soldiers, residing in the Hospital and parish of Chelsea, and others in the Barracks at Knightsbridge, seems to have a particular claim on the benevolent assistance of the Nobility, Gentry, etc.
"By the blesing of Divine Providence, the congregation is increased to nearly 6,000 persons: yet as most of these are poor, and reduced to petition their pastors for aid, rather than being able to contribute anything to their support, it is hoped that a charitable Public will supply the deficiency by their donations . . ."
Monday. A Leo Baeck Institute lecture — at the West Central (London) Liberal Synagogue — afforded opportunity for fruitful JudaeoChristian dialogue. Each of these Monday evening lectures
discusses "The Mind of the Jew" with reference to the weekly readings from the Torah.
Along with a Hebrew-English Old Testament I brought a copy of the Ronnie Knox translation.
It was fascinating to see how often the Vulgate, slightly paraphrasing the original Hebrew, provided a more exact and, Rabbinically speaking, traditional, understanding of certain passages, as rendered by Knox. than did some of the modern English-Jewish, usually more literal, versions.
Yet on other occasions nothing can replace the original Hebrew when expertly explained — as, on this occasion, by Rabbi David Goldstein, the lecturer.
But it is sad how seldom Jews and Christians bother to cornpare and examine each other's versions of Sacred Serintios
Tuesday: The Requiem Mass at the London Oratory for Mgr
Francis Cave was attended by a large number of his many friends, of whom I was privileg ed to be one. He had a story book military career before being ordained in Rome in 1954. It was difficult for his fellow students at the Beda College to believe that he had been commissioned in the Rifle Brigade as long ago as 1915 and has seen service in the Royal Flying Corps in World War I,
Modestly, over a pink gin in the evening, "Katie," as all his friends called him, would sometimes reminisce about his eventful life. His diffidence and sense of humour could not take the romance out of his exploits while serving in Ireland and India, and as a member of the Shaksgam Expedition which, in 1924, explored areas of the Himalayas never previously mapped. But he spoke most often, in his Roman days, of his desire to return as a priest to a part of the world he had come to know particularly well as a soldier the Sudan. He achieved his ambition only to become, because of new policies, the first priest to be expelled by the Sudanese Government. Ile was a lovable, inspiring and uncomplicated soldier of Christ. GEN