Look on Two Pictures
SOME recent notes in this column about inaccuracies in the " Catholic Directory" — alleged inaccuracies brought to our notice by readers, not discovered by my, anyway, ignorant self -have caused some distress among those responsible for this annual necessity. It is clear that one has to form two pictures in one's mind. The first is of the censorious reader with spectacles on long thin nose angrily pointing to his particular discovery, allegedly or actually erroneous. The other is of a harassed gentleman sitting tinder a snowstorm of letters and papers, blowing in from all over the country, providing him with the requisite information — or failing to do so. This flow continues throughout the first half of the year. Imagine him, too. surrounded with telephones for checking, rechecking and. of course, cornplaints. Finally. think of him. not a full-time, but a mere spare-time, editor. And all this is only the London end of a kind of river-line, or rather lines, from parishes to diocese and from diocese to editor. No wonder he feels hurt when two or three inaccuracies are pointed out. As the editor is also an artist, perhaps my note will inspire him to send us his own graphic picture of what happens.
MORE seriously — though my apologies are real — I am indebted to the Editor of the Directory for the information that " the population figures are conservative as they represent the number of Catholics known to the parish clergy to be living in their parishes." This is valuable information and it goes far to explain the general belief that the numbers are a considerable underestimate of the real figure. Ile also says: " Few of the figures given in the annual statistics are estimates as jthey are based on precise returns from parishes which in their turn
draw their information from their parochial registers."
A Very Busy Man
HUGH ROSS WILLIAMSON tells me that his play "Test of ruth " about St. Bernadette is to be shown on Associated Rediffusion ITV between 9 and 10 p.m. on Friday. February 7. No actor for the main part, it appears, is suitable so Mr. Ross Williamson is playing it himself. There can be few busier men than he these days. He has written the " Mime of Bernadette " for the Albert and other Five Halls Festival on February 10. It is out today from Burns and Oates at 2s, 6d. 'though only 23 pages and apart from its purpose of public performance, it is a masterly condensation of the facts and meaning of what happened in Lourdes a hundred years ago, brought up to date in lines such as.
" Penance for those who scorn the earth as one Dim point among a million empty stars.
Penance for those who use the earth to hide
The murdered millions of their senseless wars."
And shortly to appear i3 his fullsize book " The Challenge of Bernadette" which he tells mc is a kind of historical " whodunit ": "Why I.ourdes? Why 1858? Why Bernadette Soubirous? " And I almost forgot to mention that his award-winning play "Gunpowder, Treason and Plot " is being performed by the students of Campion House at the King George's Hall, Tottenham Court Road, on February 3 and 4.
P.S. Meanwhile I am myself enjoying reading Franz Werfel's " The Song of Bernadette," just out for 3s. 6d. in the Fontana books. This is my reward for not having read it when it came out in 1942. I find it a fascinating bedside book which curtails your normal sleeping times.
C. E. G. Pioneer III j RECALL memories of pioneer' ing Catholic Evidence work at Hyde Park at the end of the first world war with the news. which has just reached me, that Mr. E. J. Coldwell is in a London hospital, where has undergone an operation. He paddled a somewhat lone canoe in those days, but his perseverance in this novel form of aposiolate led others to start the Evidence Guild. Mr. Coldwell is now 81, and is still in charge of the Catholic booksellers' business he established many years ago at 17 Red Lion Square, in London. " Apostolic " as ever, he takes a personal interest in those he meets in his shop, and endeavours to persuade them that they " must go to Aylesford," the Kentish Shrine to which he is passionately devoted. Prayers are asked for his speedy recovery. Mr. Caldwell wisheS it to he known that any delay that may have been caused in the execution of readers' orders will be put right as soon as possible.
During Mr. Coldwell's illness, correspondence for the Eastern Churches Quarterly should go to the Editor, St. Augustine's Abbey, Ramsgate.
The People's Part
"Mr whole views can be summed up thus: PRIEST'S PARTS for the priest alone; CHOIR'S PARTS for the choir alone; PEOPLE'S PART for the people alone. Let no one horn in on anybody else's part. And to the question ' Which part belongs to whom 7 ' the answer is to be found