Sin and repentance
From Mr Edward Low
If I may add my two-pennorth to the controversy over Bishop Robinson. It seems to me the crux of the matter is (and where the offence lies) the true acknowledgement of sin. Jesus preached a Gospel of repentance, but the modern world wants an easy forgiveness without the hard repentance, wants the fruits without labouring in the vineyard.
Yes, of course, we are all sinners, many of us quite wretched too; but traditionalists try faithfully to submit to the Gospel, and not to reinvent it where it does not suit. We must amend our ways, not the Church its teaching. Therefore our positions are poles apart, and our sense of grievance over the subject quite acute. Sympathy for the sinner is necessary, but repentance for the sin is even more so. And there’s the rub.
35 Highfield Road, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP2 7LZ
From Mr John Whittington
I much enjoyed reading Mark Stevens’ analysis of the ‘mythopoeic fundamentalism’ of recent writing about Mary Magdalene (April). The phrase neatly encapsulates the stridency and pure fantasy that characterizes the work of Susan Haskins and others. One of the latter (Mary Magdalene: Christianity’s Hidden Goddess) would have us believe that she was an Egyptian priestess and goddess worshipper.
Stevens’ patient unpicking of the resurrection narratives shows that Mary was certainly not apostola Apostolorum. However, within Orthodoxy, she has been known since 890, when her relics were transferred to a new shrine in Constantinople, under the title Isapostolos, ‘Equal to the Apostles.’ It would seem a pity to lose this traditional way of honouring her great faith, and encouraging devotion to her, because of its apparent similarity to the recently invented liberal label. But of course this similarity is more apparent than real: ‘equal to’ does not mean ‘one of’!
15 Atherton Street, Durham DH1 4DF
Trouble at Lambeth
From the Director of FiF
George Austin recalls (April) that Ruth Gledhill of The Times wrote back in 1998 that the unpleasantness she received from bishops and their wives at the Lambeth Conference was such that she nearly left the Church of England.
It is perhaps worth reminding your readers what persuaded her to stay: ‘In three weeks at the Lambeth conference, the only food I was offered was an orange, and half a croissant by a woman bishop who took pity on me. She had eaten the other half. When I turned up, hungry, at the Catholic chaplaincy at Kent University to be invited to sit down and break bread with 13 bishops, priests and other faithful disciples, I was so grateful to be welcomed warmly that I burst into tears. Forward in Faith…had taken over the university’s Catholic chaplaincy for the conference and held its own Eucharist every lunchtime…it was the ministry of these people alone that persuaded me, at least, to remain an Anglican after enduring Lambeth.’
2A The Cloisters, Gordon Square, London WC1H 0AG
From Fr Peter Long
May I commend David Nicholl for his March review of Pseudo-Phocylides. It is most important for clergy in our integrity to be highly competent in New Testament background studies. Since 1999, the International Pseudepigrapha Study Network has been working to fill such a gap, with briefings on over 120 works. Access is available online via
26 Jubilee Street, Newquay TR7, Cornwall 1LA
Another sales pitch
From Mrs Mary Hopson
I note and bring together two of the matters raised in letters last month: ‘the attempted replacement of the language of the family with the language of partners and carers,’ and the proposal of the government to bring in identity cards. Both are examples of that scourge of the present day ‘political correctness’ – the former a blatant example, the latter a more subtle one.
In whatever form it appears political correctness is the enemy of traditional Christianity and should be fiercely opposed wherever it is spotted raising its ugly head.
Do your readers know that there is an active, well-organized, non-sectarian, non-party-political group only too willing to help and encourage them in this? It is the Campaign Against Political Correctness (CAPC), Trevose House, Orsett Street, London SE11 5PN
Tregate Castle, Monmouth NP25 5QL
A great what if
From Fr A.E. Allardice ssc
Re: Cornish Rebellion (April). As the debacle of 1992 unfolded it will be remembered that Cornwall stayed true and was the only diocese to vote against.During one of the several subsequent meetings of bishops and clergy, I asked that Truro Diocese under the legislation be a diocese exempt from women priests. Though not Cornish myself I have enjoyed the exception.
I was informed that should the diocese pursue that course it would attract ‘all sorts of undesirable clergy.’ Undesirable is what we are and this diocese in no longer orthodox, but for a few moments I can imagine what a glorious church we would have here in the land of the saints filled with so many undesirables!
4 Pensylva, St. Austell,
Cornwall PL25 4RW