27 NOVEMBER 2004, Page 34

A gentle Jesuit

From June Rocket!.

Sir: I was pleased to see Fr Ian Ker's review of my biography of Philip Caraman S.J. (Books, 13 November) but surprised to find that A Gentle Jesuit had been renamed A Gentle Priest. The correct title of the book has a special relevance. Writing to Diana Cooper in 1962, Evelyn Waugh told her, 'On Saturday evening a dear gentle Jesuit called Fr Caraman dines with me.'

Previously unpublished letters reveal that the priest's friendship with Waugh — and with many other writers and famous contemporaries — was a long and devoted one. In contrast, Graham Greene hated the Jesuit, and the part played by the priest in the writer's private life is discussed in some detail in the biography.

The answer to the one question raised by Fr Ker is no — Caraman did not reveal his thoughts about the post-Conciliar Church in any conversations or letters of which I am aware or to which I had access. His thoughts on the subject are hinted at in extracts from the journal of this gentle priest who was also A Gentle Jesuit.

June Rockett

Salisbury, Wiltshire