Handsome Prelates CERTAINLY one of the most impressive prelates it has ever been my good fortune to meet is Mgr. Leonard Joseph Raymond, the Lord Bishop of Allahabad, who has been in London on his way to Rome as leader for India of the World Congress of the Lay Apostolate. He is an old friend and a sturdy weekly reader of this newspaper. What with Cardinal Gracias and the tall handsome Bishop of Allahabad, India seems to run physically imposing Bishops. By contrast the Bishop's diocese, though large in area and inhabitants (10 million), is from the Catholic point of view tiny. It contains only 14 churches and his priests number just over 40. These serve the religious needs of about 5,000 Catholics.
Observer of the Church at large PERH APS it is the Bishop's in voluntary leisure which allows him time for meditation and observation, for he is astonishingly well-informed. He understands India itself thoroughly, of course, and is by no means a pessimist about the Catholic position there, admiring much of Nehru's work. Nehru however is not immortal. But he seems almost as well informed about America and Europe, and from our conversation I got quite a fresh picture of the immense variety of custom and habit within the one true Church in different parts of the world. It is obvious that he admires much of the freedom from conservatism in external manner which marks the United States where you may run across a goodly number of puns eating in a New York Fifth Avenue restaurant or well-known Bishops happily bathing and sunning themselves on crowded, public beaches. Equally he admires this country for the spiritual keenest of Catholic youth and for the Catholic writers which it produces — writers whose work tends to serve all English-speaking Catholicity. On the Continent, today, you get fruitful and courageous experiments in intelligent lay participation in the liturgy. How consoling, therefore, it was to get from this observant Indian Bishop the sense that while everyone in the Church cannot do everything. Each country shows its own special signs of the Church's contemporary apostolate.
Once the Largest Statue ONE of the towns through which
I passed on my recent holiday in France was previously unknown
to me, yet it is so striking aesthetically and religiously that I would not like any tourist in France to miss it, if he comes within striking distance. 1 mean Le Puy. You reach he Puy from over the mountains south of Vichy, passing through Chaise-Dieu which lies about as high as Snowden's summit. A wonderful scooter ride down a long steep twisting road at length brings into view a great plain chequered by many rocks and craggy hills thrown up crazily by volcanic eruptions. The town is built among sonic of these. And for the eldest daughter of the Church, rocks like these were inevitably giant pedestals for churches and shrines. Thus it is that the cathedral itself sits above the town and not far away a miniature church sits on a dark blue-black ice-cream cornet. From the cathedral you climb yet higher to the immense statue of Notre Dame de France, built in the 19th century from the canons of Sebastopol. In its day this statue was the largest in the world, and for good measure you may climb up inside the statue itself and look out through portholes on the world far away below. In view of all these wonders, it is perhaps not surprising that a large notice reminds Christians to climb up in the spirit of pilgrimage to pray for France and not just out of idle curiosity. Tunes in French Churches A LETTER from a reader this " week, commenting on my remarks about Mass in France, mentions that the tune of Auld Lane Sync is used for the Girl Guides' song in France. The letter continues: When we were in Paris last year. we went to Mass at Puteaux (Seine) near Paris. where a large congregation joined lustily in the Dialogue — and, presumably because the tunes are so well known, a version of the Pater Noster in French to the tune of "Shenandoah " — and another hymn to the tune of " The Old Folks at Home ' — marked in tihe Dialogue Missals as "Congo Beige." Naturally, we ourselves
" let it rip " with, of course, the correct non-secular words."
AM asked to remind readers that next Sunday, October 6 and the nearest to the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, is " Animal Sunday." The Conference of Animal Welfare Societies chose this date some years ago. Without entering into controversy about animals and their exact place in the Christian scheme of things, all will at least agree that it is good and necessary for us all, as well as good for animals, that we should always treat them with affection and understanding. 1 don't think I have ever heard a sermon about our moral duties in regard to animals, but we would not be the worse for an occasional one. I am sorry to see that " Mr. Slyboots," who voices his views on another page, appears to have forgotten about Animal Sunday. I daresay he would have had semething to the point to say about it.
For Drivers and Passengers AS one of the now, I suppose, rapidly diminishing number of car drivers who have never passed a test, I might be tempted to overlook the merits of Mr. S. C. H. Davis's new book " Car Driving as an Art—A guide for Learners and Advanced Drivers" (Iliffe 12s. 6d.), but my experience is that however long one has driven with a clean bill of health, so to speak, one still learns as one drives. How far a book can replace experience I don't know, but at any rate it is fun to read one — especially one that has fascinating diagrams of the controls and driving seat of a number of popular makes of cars. But perhaps this well-illustrated and most clearly-written book will prove of most use to the carriers of the L Sign. Non-drivers or passenger-drivers can profitably read the section on "Nervous Passengers" and "Going Foreign " is useful for tourists. Horrifying diagramatic case histories of accidents can whole-heartedly be recommended to all.