THIS is not an obituary. It is a posthumous gesture of respect and affection. It probably has no place in a newspaper column. But the fact remains that my uncle, Dr Patrick O'Donovan, well shriven, has died and has been buried with all the help that the Church Militant can offer.
He was a physician who specialised in heart diseases. He had lived king and in good health and he died very patiently. He worked in Nottingham and though he played no politics, he was one of its essential citizens.
He was one of its leading Catholics. He was the sort of useful and valuable man whi, adds to the quality of life in a city.
Despite his undoubted eminence and his authority in hospital, there was a rare humility about him. Maybe it had something to do with his God, for, certainly, as a family, humility has never been one of our more obvious qualities.
He was reasonably austere, used sensibly, was happy in a quiet way, was capable of great kindness, and was unexpectedly tolerant.
He was 77 when he died, but nevertheless such goings are shattering to the immediate family and the fact that this is a sort of grief that almost everyone in the world must go through at least once does not make it any easier,
Personally I usually feel an irrational anger over such a death. I resent the disappearance of all that knowledge and experience. In a way, humanity is always having to start all over again. The Church alone makes any sense of much human wastage and it is not a sense that means resigned or passive acceptance.
The Requiem is as much for the living as for the dead. His was held in the Church of St Augustine in Nottingham.
It does not look much from the outside, but inside it is a solid, handsome, stone Romanesque building. It has a curved apse of arches at the end. It has a great painted crucifix hanging over the altar. It has a massive stone reading desk. It perfectly fits the new rites.
The Mass was said by Bishop McGuinness of Nottingham, very clearly and to the point. Both he and theparish priest spoke affectionately and with gratitude of the dead man.
That will do nothing for the dead doctor, though it is a marvellous comfort for the close family. But really it is the liturgy that counts no wailing, no wild regrets, not even any real sadness. The ferocity of the Dies hat has gone. That was splendid stuff, but it was a bit much.
The Requiem is now a solid exposition of hope, and it involves the congregation in helping the dead man. In a way, it is as sensible and sentimental as an operating theatre. And though most men in their hearts fear death, this is the one great and good thing they can do for a man who has experienced it. The retired Bishop of Nottingham, Bishop Edward Ellis, was in the sanctuary. But there was no attempt at great solemnity or splendour. It went straight to the heart of the matter and it was heard in concentrated silence.
I must confess, however, that I was a little disturbed at the frequent mention of Patrick O'Donovan in such a context. But no, it was a fine thing at a bad time. His wife and his two sons took it like Christians.
Catholic Herald search
NEWSPAPERS survive only by being sold. They may aspire to the highest heaven, but if they are not bought they will die and go there unnoticed.
It is a cruel world, and its cruelty makes no exception. It is also a commercial world, and
if L'Osservatore Romano can perhaps fall hack on a Papal subsidy, in this country the Catholic papers must survive like any others.
True, there are a mass of Catholic magazines which simply cannot be paying their way. Each religious organisation, each missionary society, each aspect and point of view of the Church, each small ecclesiastical empire, gets into print somewhere or somehow.
But a paper like the Catholic Herald has no society and no holy pressure-group to back it up. Perched over London's great meat market at Smithfield, looking down on railway lines and the backs of buildings which seem to have grown there like sonic impenetrable and frightening forest, it must for all its aspirations maintain all the apparatus of a newspaper. The heaps of papers, the litter, the never-quite-clearedaway disorder that goes with journalism are here too. And here too the same problems have to be faced. And extra ones, So the Catholic Herald is seeking a circulation manager. It sounds like the Catholic Church using the facilities of public relations which of course it does.
For many people the Church stops at their parish boundaries and only occurs anyway on Sunday morning. So they do not consider a specifically Catholic paper necessary. Some pastors assume the roles of censors and, hyssop in hand, ban the paper from their Church property like a Victorian parent sending his daughter out for ever into the night.
They may be convinced that the thing is a peril to immortal souls or else it fails to mirror their strong views. Its being there at all involves extra work, and the laity can learn all they
A Requiem Mass for Dr Ernst Schumechsr, author of "Smell Is Beautiful," was celebrated last week in Westminster Cathedral by Bishop Harris, Auxiliary of Liverpool, and Bishop Mahon. Wehrle in We London. Cardinal Hume was present at the Mass. The lessons were read by Lady Eve Ballow (Soli AseociatIon) and Mr George McRoble ilntermediate Technology Groupl. The High Commissioner for Zambia read a message from Presideet Kaunda
need from his pulpit or his parish newsletter. It needs an act of will to take a Catholic paper. In fact you cannot buy religious papers on a railway station. Amidst all that shining array of specialised trash you will not find the Catholic Herald or the Church Times or the Jewish Chronicle.
W. H. Smith, the most highminded and powerful of the guardians of British literacy, are not interested.
So the Catholic Herald, which does not do too badly at all, is down in the market-place seeking a circulation manager, to help in the weekly miracle of producing a profitable paper whose main subject is God and His Church on earth and the work of the People of God.
It would be much easier to write about motor bicycles or how to Do It Yourself. But our subject is of our choosing.
Labyrinths of protocol
PROTOCOL is that most elaborate set of rules which stops diplomats from scratching each other's eyes out. It lays down where each should sit at the dinner table, whether an Ambassador or a Duke goes through a door first. It ordains the degree of insult that may be offered by one country to another. It even ordains how war should be declared, though that bit is
The Church of Our Lady Immaculate, Commercial Road, East London. celebrated its golden Jubilee yesterday. The church was the only one to remain undamaged in the East End during World War II. The service was celebrated by Fr Oliver Kelly, the Administrator of Westminster Cathedral, who was formerly parish priest of Our Lady Immaculate.
Missions and missionaries throughout the world will celebrate next Wednesday the golden jubilee of the appointment of St Therese of the Child Josue as their patroness
usually ignored in getting the first shot in first.
It attends the Holy See in a peculiarly strict form. It is a great preventer of embarrassment and a preserver of decorum. It does, however, look a little odd at times as if it had some mad, secret purpose of its own.
For example, recently the Pope received Queen Margrethe of Denmark. She is a tall and splendid lady from one of the most likable countries in Europe. She came dressed in the proper black from head to toe, with not an inch of arm showing and a veil on her head held in place by a fine tiara.
Her husband used to he a French diplomat and a Catholic. When he married the Queen he took Danish citizenship and became a Lutheran. It is not the custom of the Pope to receive people who publicly apostatise.
So although Prince Henrik met the Pope at a public ceremony, he was not received in private audience and waited in a library while the Pope saw the Queen for 20 minutes in private. He was referred to in communiques, vaguely, as "the consort".
When the Pope received our Queen, Prince Philip went with her. I heard someone describe the occasion with plump Pope John, all in white, coming forward with his arms outstretched "like some wonderful nanny". It seems to have been a wild success.
But, just to he difficult,
Mr. Mary Gilmore, of Alesger. Stokeon-Trent, Is being presented this evening with the Bens Mereati medal, for many years of service to the Church, by Fr Kevin Moorhouse at Mass In St Gabriel's Church at 7.30 prn Mr Joseph Stephen, the London Tulle driver who was shot dead by an IRA gunman, has been awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal. It is the first time it has been awarded posthumously. Mr Stephens. a Jamaican, was a Catholic. Bishop Mahon officiated at his Requiem,
Prince Philip had left the Holy Orthodox Church which we regarded as wholly apostolic and authentic to join the Anglicans; and the party line on that one varies from country to country -at least in practice. Never mind, protocol has nothing to do with charity and is scared rigid of creating precedents. Actually Pope John had had in his past his own little troubles with royalty. As Archbishop Roncalli he was once Apostolic Delegate not in a diplomatic post -in Bulgaria, then an Orthodox country.
The King was Boris, a rather foxy man, and he wanted to marry the Princess Giovanna, daughter of King Victor Emmanuel Ill of Italy who, you may remember was a Catholic. The Holy See gave permission for this "mixed" marriage well, it was long, long ago b u t required absolute guarantees on the Roman nature of the religious rite which blessed the marriage, and
Mr R. J. H. (Bob) Edwards, 39, has been unanimously elected chenille,' of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children In succession to Lord Barrington, who has been chairmen since the launching of SPUC, and Is now In hospital. Mr Edwards joined the society in 1968 and helped to launch the Streatham (now Lambeth) branch.
Fr Thomas Nutty, parish priest of St Mary's, Dines Puwis, near Cardiff, has bean appointed as the now National Chaplain to the Guild of Catholic Nurses In England sod Wales_ He replaces Fr Edward Dorrington, who hes been National Chaplain for the pest five years.
Miss Brenda G. Watson has been eppointed assistant director of tho Farmington Institute for Christian Studies, Oxford. Since 1966 she has bean lecturing at Didebury College of Education, Manchester, and since 1970 has been lecturing in religious studies.
Mgr Patrick O'Donnell, retired pariah priest of St Margarel'a, Canning Town, Ent London, will celebrate his 80 years in the priesthood next Friday at 7 pm In the Convent Chapel, Barbell Avenue. Canning Town. There will be a concelebrated Mae. by Bishop Casey of Brentwood end many priest friends.
a Catholic education for any children of the union.
They got married in October, 1929, in Assisi. The whole affair was based on a signed agreement which Roncalli arranged, though Mussolini complained to Cardinal Gaspari, Secretary of State: "Nothing but paper work. Can't the matter be settled among friends?" The marriage was repeated in the Orthodox Rite. Pius XI was upset and wrote an encyclical on Christian marriage in 1930 as a result.
The first child of the marriage was baptised into the Orthodox Church. Roncalli protested, but was not received in the Bulgarian Royal Palace. The Pope sent a benediction. The Queen of Bulgaria's mother came expecting a Catholic occasion.
Archbishop Roncalli, no master of protocol, was moved to Turkey which was and is the Outer Siberia of Papal diplomacy. So much for protocol. This unsuccessful diplomat later made quite a reputation for himself but that is another story. And when he was Pope he dropped some protocular clangers particularly over the Poles which did a great deal of good.
Another thought for Christmas
WHERE did the idea of the effete curate "on lissome clerical toe" -spring from? 'Jake Parson Kilvert, for example. He was a parson on the
Welsh Border and kept one of those enchanting diaries about the small things which, in the end, turn out to be the things that really matter in life.
He was the son of a Rector, educated at Oxford, and quietly served his Church, mostly on the Welsh border. But if you think that this gentle movement from one large rectory to another, with servants and a church that smelt of hassocks and polish with just a touch of dry rot, read this about his Christmas Day in 1870, (1 stole this off the Dean of Winchester!) Goodness, but it is English. Dignified discomfort. Merit through avoidable inconvenience. A reasonably clean mind in an unheated body.
As 1 lay awake praying in the early morning I thought I heard a sound of distant bells. It was an intense frost. I sat down in my bath upon a sheet of thick ice which broke in the middle into large pieces whilst sharp points and jagged edges stuck all round the sides of the tub like chevaux de frise, not particularly comforting to the naked thighs and loins, for the keen ice cut like broken glass. The ice water stung and scorched like fire. I had to collect the floating pieces of ice and pile them on a chair before I could use the sponge and then I had to thaw the sponge in my hands for it was a mass of ice. The morning was most brilliant. Walked to Sunday School with Gittins and the road sparkled with millions of rainbows, the seven colours gleaming in every glittering point of hoar frost, The Church was very cold in spite of two roaring stove fires." Francis Kilvert, Diary 1870.
The following appointments were announced this week by the Scottish bishops: sins and Bishop William Andrew Hart of Dunkeld is named as member lei Scotland of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences. Archbishop Thomas Winning of Glasgow takes over from Bishop Francis Thomson of Motherwell as president of the Catholic Education Commission. Bishop Jueeph Devine, one of his two new Auxiliary Bishops Is brought In as vice-president.
Bishop Thomson becomes president of the Theological Commission and of the renamed Commission for Christian Unity formerly the Ecumenical Commission.
Bishop Charles Renfrew, Auxiliary in Glasgow. is given charge of the Commissions for Communications and for Vocations. He used to be a member of the Scottish Catholic Broadcasting Committee, and founded the National Vocations Centre.
Bishop James Monaghan, Auxiliary of St Andrews and Edinburgh, formerly president of the Communications Commission, is given charge of the Justice and Peace Commission and also becomes vice-president of the Scottish Cathollc Lay Apostolate Council. of which Bishop Devine becomes president. Bishop Monaghan is also the new bperceosimdeenstporfesithdeem MieostiothneAmidigSroacnites ctiois es.mm
Bishop Stephen Mo0111 of Paisley