letters to the editor

Terminology of confusion

From Mr Arthur Smithson

The Revd Jonathan Redvers Harris writes of the difficulty in terminology in referring to the different branches of the Western Church. I am not entirely sure that I see a way around the problem as he presents it: what has happened recently is that some catholic priests and laity have left one branch of the catholic church in order to become catholic priests and laity in another branch of the catholic church. How, without additional terminology, are you to avoid your publication lapsing into chaos?

A further problem presents itself: in the most recent edition of The Portal, there is a photograph which shows catholic (Anglican) priests being ordained as catholic (Roman) priests by a catholic (Roman) bishop assisted by a catholic (Anglican) bishop who is now a catholic (Roman) priest. This is confusing enough as it is. Surely matters would only be rendered yet more bizarre by the abolition of the adjective?

Arthur Smithson

arthursmithson@hotmail.co.uk

Proof of free will

From the Chaplain, St Thomas More Catholic Comprehensive School, Eltham

I am grateful to Fr Turner for his response to my letter (‘There is no proof’, ND June), but confess to be puzzled by his insistence ‘There is no proof of free will’ because it seems to me he provides precisely that when he writes ‘We make choices, we express

judgements, we praise or condemn others for their actions’. Of course the things he mentions would not count as proof in the laboratory, but that is what I would expect because, as he knows, I agree with Blessed John Paul’s statement in Fides et Ratio (‘There is thus no reason for competition of any kind between reason and faith’). Maybe, as Fr Turner himself admits, he will never wholly share my approval of it. However, I trust he will never ‘succumb to the temptations of atheism’ by allowing his faith in reason (what he calls ‘the certainties of science’) to prevent him from continuing to see reason in faith for, as he rightly says, ‘Free will opens the gate to God.’

Fr Simon Heans simon.heans@ntlworld.com

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An exchange of views

2 February 2011

By email

Dear Ms Jackson,

I write as a young constituent of yours extremely disappointed to discover that you are one of the 12 MPs (at time of writing) to have signed an Early Day Motion sponsored by Frank Field MP entitled ‘Women Bishops’. This EDM, amongst other things, ‘encourages the House of Bishops to commend the Measure as currently drafted’ to the General Synod for final approval in 2012. I am writing to explain why I am so concerned by your support of this motion.

Firstly, I find the intervention particularly ill-timed. I am an elected member of the London Diocesan Synod, which is called to debate the proposed legislation later this year. Thinly-veiled threats as contained in the EDM are bound to prejudice legitimate democratic debate when the Measure is considered in the Dioceses. The proper time for parliamentary scrutiny of the legislation is once the legislation has been passed to Parliament.

Given the words quoted in my first paragraph, I assume that you have read and understood the Measure as currently drafted in its entirety. You must remember that the Church of England has already decided that women should be elevated to the episcopate. It is the Church of England’s duty to do this carefully and to do it well. I wonder whether you have had the time to consider the proposed legislation (and its alternatives) in enough depth to be so convinced that the proposed Measure without further amendment is the correct way forward.

Whilst believing that Women Bishops should happen in the Church of England as quickly as possible, we have, as a church, recognised that opposition to the ordination of women is a legitimate theological view, consistent with scripture and tradition. The General Synod Revision Committee admitted themselves that the proposed legislation is entirely unsuitable for those with a traditional understanding of the theology of communion amongst bishops and of apostolic succession (views which the Anglican Communion has affirmed as entirely legitimate for ‘loyal Anglicans’ to hold). Those of us desperate to find a way forward acceptable to all feel utterly undermined by the intervention of the 12 MPs.

The threat to amend gender equality legislation unless the Church of England dances to Parliament’s tune is one of the most unacceptable political interferences in the Church since 1928. Do you also wish to make it illegal for the Roman Catholic Priesthood to be restricted to males? If not, what is the basis for this discrimination between religious denominations?

I do hope you considered these issues fully before signing the EDM. I would be most grateful if you could outline your thinking to me on the questions I have raised.

Yours sincerely

Matthew Chinery

28 June 2011

By email

Dear Mr Chinery,

Thank you for forwarding me the original e-mail. Ms Jackson read through it carefully and asked me to respond on her behalf. She asked me to write to you that you will have to agree to disagree on this matter. Ms Jackson indicated that she would not be changing her opinion after having carefully considered your comments, and that she will not be removing her name from the EDM.

I hope this answers your enquiry. Best wishes,

Gary Klaukka

Senior Caseworker for Glenda Jackson MP

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