10 JANUARY 1964, Page 12

Spectator's Notebook

`AND there followed him a great company of people. . . .' It has hap- pened before. Yet the scenes as Pope Paul tried to make his way along the. Via Dolorosa were sicken- ing. A young girl was killed, the Pope was carried off his feet, soldiers and police fought with by- standers and press repre- sentatives. Photographers and TV men, of course, were everywhere. Cardinal Cicognani, the Secretary of State, had to abandon his attempt to stay with the Pope and seek refuge. Rifle-butts were used. In part at least it is our fault. We demand to be shown everything, as it is happening. Instant News. Like millions of people not of the Roman Catholic faith, I was exhilarated by Pope Paul's decision to go as a pilgrim to the Holy Land. It was so much in the spirit of Pope John that it seemed a pledge that his policies would endure. Perhaps Christian Unity at last was to be mote than a dream. For me the first doubt came when Richard Dimbleby on Panorama announced humbly and heavily that he would be there. Of course! He and a thousand lesser Dimblebys. So that no Queen can be crowned, no President buried, no Pope pray without a solemn voice whispering to us. 'As we gaze on this historic, majestic scene our thoughts turn naturally to . . .' It isn't Dimblc- by's fault. If you can bear that sort of thing he does it rather well. Nor is it the fault of the press. We ask for it. We get it. But I only hope that be- tween us we haven't ensured that the Pope will in future remain the prisoner of the Vatican.