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handed down from the old Spanish days. Then over one hundred views were shown.
The Aquinas Reading Circle, of Mobile, observed its eighth anniversary with a “Shakespeare evening," and an interesting programme was rendered as follows:
Overture, Salutation, orchestra; Vocal solo, Miss M. M. McGettrick.
Casket scene from “ The Merchant of Venice.” Cast: Bassanio, Joseph A. Diemer; Lorenzo, T. P. Norville; Gratiano, William Airey; Salarino, Edward Hickey; Nerissa, Miss Mary McCafferty; Portia, Miss Pansy Ravier.
Vocal solo, William O. Daly; Piano solo, Miss Marietta Green; Vocal solo, Miss Anita Herpin.
Court scene from “ The Merchant of Venice.” Cast: Shylock, Joseph A. Diemer; Duke of Venice, John Goodman; Antonio, John McAleer; Bassanio, T. P. Norville; Gratiano, William Airey; Salarino, E. Hickey; Nerissa, Miss May McCafferty; Portia, Miss Teresa McAleer.
The entertainment was under the stage direction and management of Joseph A. Diemer.
The officers of the Circle are: President, Mrs. M. E.. Henry-Ruffin; Vice-President, Mrs. Lee N. Ward; Secretary, Miss Jensina Ebeltoft; Treasurer, Mrs. May Le-Baron; Musical Director, Miss Frances S. Parker.
Miss Mary Boyle O'Reilly gave a very interesting talk to the members of the Young Women's Catholic Union, of Charlestown, Mass.; her subject, a most appropriate one, “ Meanings we miss from the Gospel Story," was the result of a close study of the Gospels in connection with her impressions of the country of Palestine and the manners and customs of the people.
Beginning with a charming portrayal of the lilies of the field, which, to her surprise, were found to be large, gorgeous red flowers with purple hearts, she referred to all the familiar incidents in the life of our Lord, throwing new light upon many of them. The reference to the high estimation in which the carpenter's trade was held, the picture of the Boy Jesus, with his seamless robe of royal hue, in the Temple, the interpretation of the entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and of the Crucifixion between two malefactorswere all made more real from Miss O'Reilly's familiarity with the Holy Land and its customs.
Connected with the Union is a Reading Circle, which presented a programme on Longfellow's life and character, and some of his short poems were read and discussed, including the sweet Catholic poem, “The Legend Beau. tiful."
Another meeting was devoted to history, the programme including papers on Columbus ; Isabella the Catholic; the novel, Mercedes of Castile, a tale of the days of Columbus; and readings from Irving of the discovery of America and the first landing of Columbus.
The twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the Chicago Press Club was celebrated with a banquet in the clubrooms. In after dinner speeches
statesmen and authors of national reputation, invited guests and newspaper men, praised the power and influence of the American press in the highest terms. The principal speakers of the evening were Colonel George Harvey, of New York, and Governor Albert E. Cummins, of Iowa. Two hundred and forty members of the club, with their guests, were present. Homer J. Carr, President, was toastmaster. Colonel Harvey, in responding to the toast, The Freedom of the Press, depicted this wonderfully high standard of excellence: There is no press in the world comparable to that of America in freedom from influence, political or social, from venality, from contamination of any kind whatsoever. In France, a newspaper's opinions are a matter of francs; in England, too often of titles: in Germany, Austria, and Spain, of imperial favor; in Russia, of absolute censorship. In America, thanks to the traditions of the past, the fundamental integrity of the press cannot be impugned. It is faultful, but it is free. We have our sadly exaggerated headlines on week days, and our monstrosities on Sundays; we have amazing productions of no less amazing art; we have columns and columns of crime, and pages and pages of waste. Finally, not least, at any rate, in numbers, we have our red and white papers, sometimes referred to as yellow journals. Personally, I should be of the last to defend or make apology for this latest manifestation of commercialism, misdirected ambition, and false doctrines in the American press. But, however seriously we may regret and resent the ebullition, we cannot ignore the irresistable conclusion that this particular channel, and this alone, affords a vent for unexpressed beliefs and suspicions which can be dissipated only by the clear rays of reason following any form of expression. As contrasted with our own country, Russia to-day stands forth a vivid example of the effect of suppressed opinion. Discontent would better burn than smoulder. The continuous hissing of offensive gases escaping is not pleasant, but it is preferable to the otherwise inevitable explosion. Yet more important, more vital to the permanance of a government of a whole people by themselves, is absolute freedom of expression. Upon that all depends. Restrict it, or create the impression in suspicious minds that it is being restricted, and you sow the wind. With this general dictum few if any would have the hardihood to disagree. But it is often, and I regret to say often truly, urged that liberty is subverted to license. Freedom of speech, freedom of publicity, yes; all admit the wisdom and necessity of preserving both. But how frequently is added, especially by men in public office, a vigorous declamation against unfair criticism, and how almost daily is uttered, sometimes a violent and unwarranted, sometimes a dignified and justifiable, protest against invasion of privacy, encroachment upon personal rights, and like offenses. Only those behind the curtain of the editorial sanctum can fully appreciate the proportion of insincerity contained in the virtuous avowals of shy and retiring, though weak and human beings of both sexes. In nine cases out of ten, the most vociferous protest may be attributed safely to self-sufficiency, snobbishness, or a guilty conscience. There is so little of malice in American newspapers as to be unworthy of notice, but it is unquestionably
true that too little heed is paid to the fact that unwilful misrepresentation is often quite as serious in effect. Worst of all is the refusal to rectify a known error. Cursed be the man who initiated the policy of never making a retraction in the columns of his journal The mere fact that an individual, whether right or wrong, is virtually voiceless and helpless in controversy with a newspaper, should and does morally vest him with the right to exceptional consideration. A lie once started can never be stopped, but the one responsible for its circulation, directly or indirectly, who fails to exert every possible endeavor to that end is unworthy of association with decent men. An American newspaper should be an American gentleman. To see the right is genius; to do it is courage. Unite the two under the banner of sane idealism, and the most potent force in the cause of progress, enlightenment, and good will lie in the free press of America. Quite recently Pope Pius X. received a Catholic journalist, and in the course of conversation he took a pen from the hand of his visitor, blessed it, and gave it back with the following words: Nowadays there is no more exalted mission in the world than that of a journalist. I bless the symbol of your profession. My predecessors pronounced their blessings on the swords and weapons of Christian warriors. I count myself happy to invoke heaven's blessing upon the pen of a Catholic journalist. We could well wish that the example of the Holy Father were adopted in Catholic circles generally. If it were, the Catholic newspaper would be better appreciated and its representatives would be treated with more courtesy. But it is too much to expect the same large view or the same good taste or the same wisdom and Catholicity of spirit in other quarters, as the Catholic journalist finds in the Pope, who considers himself happy to have an opportunity of invoking a blessing on the Catholic journalist's pen. M. C. M.
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