Non-Catholics at Farnborough
T HAD the privilege a week or two -"ago of taking two non-Catholic friends to Farnborough Abbey, where the Prior allowed us to partake of the monastic dinner, and later devoted two hours to showing us cokr every aspect of the monastic life. The silent meal, with sung grace and the reading of von Papen's Memoirs, though familiar enough to me, took my friends by surprise. But they were delighted by the beautiful combination of ritual and prayer with practical learning about secular things and first-rate cooking, even if meatless. They are so charming, so natural, so easy, so very practical—such was their reaction to our host and those monks to whom he introduced us.
IHE practical side of monastic life was brought home to them by visits to the monastery press and the still more fascinating visit to the room where Dom Edmund (in the intervals away from cooking) carries on his manufacture of silk. The press is a new venture, and it is equipped with the latest machines. Those who read Pax, the quarterly review of the Benedictines of Prinknash, will realise the quality of its work. But it also does a great deal of jobbing printing in first-class fashion, including notepaper. and I have no hesilation in breaking all the rules and advertising It free to my readers who have printing jobs to be done, personal or commercial. This work is a necessary means of supporting a house of prayer and contemplation that has no endowments and can only support itself by its work. Why not support it in this way?
IN a small upstairs room Dom Edmund fishes out silkworm cocoons, washes them in an electrically heated boiler. and then delicately attaches their silk threads to a complex spinning machine which turns out miles in minutes, The result is a cupboard full of the loveliest, lightest skeins of golden silk. The gold in fact disappears in time. Meanwhile eggs are breeding for the production of more silk, while thousands of mulberry trees are growing to feed the worms. The development of this almost unique plant for this industry in this country is only held back by the slow growth of the trees, For the benefit of ladies I add that Dom Edmund explained that a woman totally arrayed in natural silk on a hot summer's day feels cool, while one arrayed in artificial imitations feels hot. Supporting the Abbey by buying its silk may. however, prove an expensive business. I should like to add that at ten every Sunday monastic High Mass can be heard in the Abbey Church. and as Farnborough is °flier about an hour's car run from London I recommend the trip to those who would liturgically like to begin a Sunday in the country.
Under Mother Thornton's patronage
A LETTER received describes the tirecent books brains trust at the Cenacle Convent. Hampstead, as "a memorable one," arid the writer wishes to express his deepest gratitude to all those, not least Mother Thornton and her wonderful staff, who made it such a success. I was present there and truly amazed to see the size of the crowd that overflowed the room in which the meeting was held. One faithful CATHOLIC HERALD reader told me she had journeyed all the way from Northampton to be present. And I am glad to add the last paragraph from the letter I have referred to above : "As the subject that afternoon was Catholic Books it would not be out of place for readers to note that a 2s. 6d. edition of Douglas Hyde's 'I Believed' will he available to the public in April, published by Pan Books Ltd."
THOSE who read last week's 1 answer in our "Catholic Evidence" column to the question: "Can a child who is unhaptised enter Heaven through the desire of his parents?" may have got a surprise, if not a shock. I must confess that had it not been for the fact that I had lately read Fr. Drinkwaters' article in the current Downside Review on "The 'Baptism Invisible' and its Extent" I should have got a surprise myself. Certainly the catechism says that such 4 child goes to Limbo; but the truth, it seems, is that this is a theological hypothesis, supported by non-solemn utterances of ecclesiastical authority, and that on the basis of God's justice and mercy. the Incarnation and its consequences and Our Lord's purpose in Baptism, one can argue against it. When our correspondent wrote : "We cannot say we know anything about it," this seems about right to judge from the long article in the Downside. If so, the view should be better publicised since not a little distress may be caused by the traditional view, and it can certainly be a difficulty for the would-be Catholic.
A new mortification?
' NOTICED in a contemporary
Catholic paper the remark that when a person now refrains from drinking water before receiving Holy Communion he will be performing a meritorious act of mortification, but not obeying a precept of the Church. While this is undeniable if done for the right intention, it occurred to me as 1 read that there might he an element of mortification