The Coining Council The Central Preparatory Commission for the Second Vatican Council began its first session on Monday. It is to meet eight times before the session ends on June 22nd. After the Pope's opening address, the presidents of the eleven commissions and three secretariats gave reports of their work so far. The members of the Central PreparatorN Commission present include the Cardinal Archbishop ot Westminster an the Archbishop of Glasgow.
King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola
When the King and Queen of the Belgians were received by Pope John XXIII on the Thursday of last week Queen Fabiola wore white, instead of the now more familiar black such as was worn at her papal audience last month by Queen Elizabeth of England; this was by a special privilege reserved in modern times to the ladies of the House of Savoy, granted to her because this was a delayed postnuptial audience. Another unusual feature of the audience was that Queen Fabiola was allowed to ascend in the Pope's private lift instead of accompanying King Baudouin in the long, slow progress through ante-chamber after antechamber prescribed by protocol, and that she did not accompany the King afterwards when he called on the Cardinal Secretary of State, instead leaving the Vatican without delay as soon as she had left the presence of the Pope. The reason for those concessions was naturally guessed to be that she was expecting a child; but this had not then been announced, and the news was given to the world for the first time on the following day, when the Pope told the Belgian journalists in Rome for the royal visit that Queen Fabiola had confided her secret in him. It Was remarked that she had followed in the footsteps of Isabella the Catholic, who set off from Spain at the end of the fifteenth century to ask the Pope's blessing on the child she was expecting. But it seems clear that there was a misunderstanding and that she had not expected the Pope to make the news public. M. Lefevre, the Catholic Prime Minister of Belgium, said in Brussels on Saturday that he had not expected the Pope to do so, that it was regrettable that he had done so, since the announcement should have been made in Brussels, and that the Pope had, he thought, misunderstood what the Queen had said. But it WIts understandable, he added, that the Queen should have wished to give her news first to the Pope, just as many young couples in Belgium, it appears, like to give such news to their parish priest before telling it to anyone else.
At the Eichmann Trial An American judge, Mr. Justice Michael Musmanno, of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, returning after giving evidence for the prosecution at the trial of Adolf Eichmann, was received by the Pope on June 6th. The audience had been arranged by the Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine. Mr. Musmanno said afterwards: "I simply told the Pope about evidence which was presented while I was at the trial, testimony which revealed how the Catholic Church had intervened on countless occasions on behalf of the persecuted Jews, and how monasteries, convents and churches were often sanctuaries to Jewish refugees and frequently were the means of saving them from concentration camps and death."
Two German Bishops The German Hierarchy has sustained two losses in swift succession with the deaths of the Bishop of Mainz and the Archbishop-Bishop of Regensburg.
Dr. Stohr, who became Bishop of Mainz in 1935, is remembered not least because it was in his diocese at Christmas, 1951, that, by special dispensation from the Holy See, a convert Lutheran pastor. Rudolf Goethe. was ordained as a Catholic priest althoughhis wife was still living and he was not separated from her; the Bishop himself made the announcement in his cathedral. Dr. Stohr was a member of the theological commission preparing for the Second Vatican Council. He was a leader in the liturgical movement, who played a prominent part in the preparation of the German ritual. He is remembered with gratitude in France because in the latter Dart of 1940 he received in his diocesan seminary the seminarians of the French diocese of Metz who had been prevented by the German occupying authorities from continuing their studies in their own seminary.
Dr. Buchberger, who was eighty-seven, was the doyen of the German Hierarchy. He had been Bishop of Regensburg, or Ratisbon, since 1927, and was made an Archbishop ad personarn in 1950. He became a canon of Munich in 1908, Vicar-General of Munich in 1919, and Auxiliary Bishop of Munich in 1924. Earlier he had been a seminary professor, first at Freising and then at Ratisbon, and he was above all a pastoral theologian. He is especially remembered for the great theological dictionary, in ten volumes, with one thousand two hundred contributors, which he edited and the Herder Verlag published between 1930 and 1938.
Pensions for the Italian Clergy The Italian Parliament passed on May 5th a law which had been under discussion for about ten years past, for providing pensions and health insurance for all the diocesan clergy of Italy. The regular clergy are not included, it being assumed that the orders and congregations to which they belong are better able to provide for them than the dioceses are to provide for the seculars. The new law, which has effect from July 1st, 1959, provides a pension equivalent to about £2 a week for priests who become invalids within five years of that date. For those who become invalids thereafter the pension will be nearer to £5 a week. A pension equivalent to about £2 a week will be paid to all priests who had passed their seventieth birthday on July 1st, 1959, or who reach their seventieth birthday within ten years of the establishment of the pension fund. It is a contributory scheme, with all diocesan priests paying into the pension fund, from the day of their ordination until their seventieth birthday, one sixth of the amount that they will thereafter receive each year. Some 44,000 priests come under the scheme, of whom about 9,000 are eligible for immediate payments.
A bill to provide similar benefits for the ministers of non-Catholic religions was passed on May 25th.
PROFESSOR W. FOLKIERSKI A correspondent writes :.
"Professor Wladyslaw Folkierski, a distinguished Polish scholar, writer and politician, died in London on June 3rd, at the age of seventy-one. A great number of his compatriots of all walks of life attended the Requiem Mass at 'Brompton Oratory last Saturday and followed the funeral procession to St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green.
"Professor Folkierski was born in Paris. His father was a well-known scientist and once Professor of Applied Mathematics in the San Marco University at Lima. His mother was French, and it was from both his parents that he inherited his deep devotion to the great trends of European thought, especially in literature and the arts. It was in this particular held that his scholarly work developed. Appointed to • the chair of Romance Philology in the Jagiellonian University in Cracow at the early age of thirty, he not only taught generations of Polish students, imbuing them with the love he himself bore for the European heritage, but also wrote a number of books and many studies in comparative literature, exploring hitherto unknown or neglected relationships linking the great creative writers of France, Italy, Spain, England and Poland. His notable scholarl■ contribution, Linn, Ic Clussi cisme et le Romantisme, published in French in 1925, remains today an outstanding work on the transitional period between the aesthetic of the Classical and the Romantic. Among Professor Folkierski's other contributions to scholarship are studies of Lord Shaftesbury and Diderot, of Moliere, Ronsard, Dufresnoy and Montesquieu.
"Being before the war a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Professor Folkierski represented Poland at many international congresses, and was for a time the chairman of the Humanistic Section in the Institute of Intellectual Co-operation of the League of Nations. For the last ten years he was Special Lecturer in Eighteenth' century Literature in the Special School of French, University of Bristol.
"Besides his academic and scholarly work, Professor Folkierski took an active part in the political life of his country. After the first world war he was attached to the Polish delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference under Roman Dmowski. Between the wars he was Chairman of the Central Council of the National Democratic Party. He escaped from Soviet-occupied Poland in 1940, and subsequently joined the Polish National Council under Ignacy Paderewski in Paris. In June that year he arrived in this country, and in 1944, at a grave time for Poland, was appointed Minister of Education and Preparatory Work for the Peace Conference in the Government-inexile.
"While never forsaking work for the cause of his country, he devoted the last years of his life to his scholarly activities and writings. Ill-health overcame him at the end of March just when he was preparing to leave to deliver a series of lectures at the Institut Catholique in Paris and at the University of Lille. However, he managed to complete a volume of essays on European religious thought, a work to which he was greatly attached. A great Polish patriot, he was at the same time a great European."
THE REPARATION SOCIETY Father R. C. Fuller, parish priest of the Church of the Assumption, Warwick Street, London, W.1, writes to inform us that an English branch of the Reparation Society has been established at his church, where the Hour of Reparation has for some time been a very popular and successful devotion.
The Reparation Society of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was founded by Father Ryan, S.J., of Baltimore, to foster devotion to Our Lady of Fatima and above all to carry out her wishes in calling men to prayer and penance. The Irish branch has flourished for many years past, and the Irish edition of the Manual has been in widespread use in England. Now an English edition has been published, and may be obtained for one shilling, or Is. 3d. post free, from the secretary, 24 Golden Square, W.1. Descriptive leaflets and application forms may also be obtained.
A NOVENA FOR A SEMINARIST A seminarist for the archdiocese of Westminster, after studying for the priesthood for over four years, has recently suffered an illness as a result of which he is threatened with blindness in both eyes. There is no medical cure available. Cardinal Godfrey invites prayers to the Forty Martyrs for the restoration of his sight. A Novena for this intention and in preparation for the feast of Blessed John Southworth is suggested, and will commence on Monday, June 19th. The prayers printed on the Forty Martyrs leaflets are recommended for use, with the invocation to Blessed John Southworth and his companion martyrs.