Duke and the cardinal DURING AN an interview with the BBC last week to mark his ninetieth birthday, the Duke of Edinburgh said the greatest threat to the planet was the “growing human population”. This issue, it turns out, is a matter which he has raised with none other than Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, whom he chal- lenged about church teaching on contraception. Over the years, the cardinal has met the Duke of Edinburgh when he was a member of the Council of St George’s House, Windsor Castle. “Occasionally I sat next to Prince Philip at lunch and he always had something to say about the Catholic Church and her teaching, about which he was not always in total agreement. I remember one occasion having a strong discussion with him about over- population and he thought the Catholic Church’s view on birth control was somewhat misguided,” he told us. The cardinal said that he later forwarded a document on the subject from the Pontifical Council of the Family in Rome to the duke saying that he hoped it would be of help. However, he explained that “the next day I had a three- page letter from him – clearly typed by himself because there were some typing errors – giving his own comments on the document.” The cardinal added that he likes the duke “very much” and has always enjoyed their meetings.
Stack’s new shack CARDIFF’s new archbishop is sacrificing his love of gardening for the opportunity to live in the city centre. George Stack, who is being installed as the diocese’s seventh arch- bishop on Monday at Cardiff Cathedral, will live at Archbishop’s House, in the city centre, rather than the suburban home used by his predecessor – and fellow gardening enthusiast – Peter Smith. Archbishop Smith’s former home had a decent-sized garden, whereas that at Archbishop’s House is “very, very small indeed”, according to the vicar general Mgr Bob Reardon, and has room for only a lawn and a few shrubs. The archbishop-elect, formerly an auxiliary
at Westminster Diocese, had an allotment near his home in Hendon, north London, and told The Tablet that he loved to grow vegetables and flowers. On his visits to schools, he took particular interest if the pupils looked after a garden.
New auxiliary? RESPECTED Vatican watcher Andrea Tornielli, sometimes referred to as “court scribe” for his closeness to officials in the Holy See, reported this week that the
that he wanted to express the commitment of marriage between a married couple through drama rather than through a pastoral letter or book,” he told us. The one-off performance will be staged as
part of the annual Spirit in the City festival, which promotes the Christian faith in and around Soho and the West End.
In a different key THE TRIO les Prêtres (“the Priests”) stormed the French charts last year with a first album, Spiritus Dei, that sold 850,000 copies. At the end of last month, their second album, Gloria, was number two in the French Top 150 album charts, topped only by Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. But the youngest member, Joseph Dinh
Congregation for Bishops discussed a “new English auxiliary” at their meeting on Thursday.
It is probably safe to assume that they dis-
cussed names for a new auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Westminster, which has been short of one since Archbishop Bernard Longley moved to Birmingham in December 2009. It is understood that names in the frame to receive a mitre include the diocesan figures of Mgr Mark O’Toole, the rector of Allen Hall; Mgr Jim Curry, the parish priest of Our Lady of Victories, High Street Kensington; Canon Christopher Tuckwell, administrator of Westminster Cathedral; and Canon Pat Browne, parish priest of Holy Apostles, Pimlico. Both Frs Curry and Browne worked as
private secretaries to Cardinal Basil Hume, so know the workings of Archbishop’s House, while Mgr O’Toole is a former private secretary to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. The cardinal, of course, is a member of the Congregation for Bishops, and so one of the key people deciding who will get the job.
Catch it while you can POPE JOHN PAUL II’S best-known play will at last make the West End stage – though it is for one night only. An adaptation of The Jeweller’s Shop – written in 1960 when he was still Karol Wojtyla, and auxiliary in Krakow – is being performed at London’s Leicester Square Theatre next Wednesday. Originally subtitled “A Meditation on the
Sacrament of Matrimony”, the three-part drama examines social concepts of romantic love and marriage through the experiences of three couples who visit a jeweller’s shop. Like most of the late Pope’s plays, it is rarely performed today and, according to one of his biographers, Michael Walsh, would not generally be considered good drama. “The Jeweller’s Shop is essentially just two people talking outside a shop. My guess is
Nguyen, has announced that he wants to depart to have his own family. Nguyen, 27, is a seminarian on leave for discernment of his vocation. He came to France from Vietnam in 2003 to study for the priesthood in Gap in the French Alps. When his local bishop launched the group to finance a missions project in Madagascar, he and his older part- ners, Fr Jean-Michel Bardet and Fr Charles Troesch, became stars as they toured France. “Seeing the audiences during the concerts,
I saw one could live one’s faith in a family and it made me want to do that,” said Nguyen. Gap Bishop Jean-Michel di Falco said he
respected Nguyen’s decision but assured fans the young Vietnamese would stay with the group at least until a major concert at Paris’ Palais des Congrès on 13 November.
Church choir fusion IF THERE is one area of the BBC that would normally have zero interest in choral music, it’s Radio 1. Yet one of the station’s DJs, Gilles Peterson – specialist interest jazz- dance fusion music – gave a plug last week on his show to the 92-strong family choir at Our Lady and St Joseph’s in Dalston, east London. “It’s the first time I have been to a Catholic church and really enjoyed the choir,” he told his listeners. “There were Irish people in the choir, there was African crew, there was Caribbean crew, Eastern European and Polish and it was just brilliant.” Mr Peterson, a practising Catholic, was
attending the First Communion of his godson at the church.
Correction IN last week’s Notebook, we stated that Seymour Spencer’s funeral was to take place on 25 June at Corpus Christi Church, Headington. In fact, it took place on Tuesday 15 June. We apologise for the confusion.
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