Better Catholics

From Mr Anthony Jarvis

I was a practising, orthodox Roman Catholic. Recently converted to the Anglican faith, I have found the Church of England more orthodoxly Catholic in my area of East Lancashire.

I write on Ascension Thursday which is still kept there. Incense is used more often; high feast days are kept more suitably; Latin is used more often; there is chanting by the priest; Our Lady’s feast days are kept.

It hit me like a bombshell when I saw all this tradition kept in my local CofE church, so that I have come round to thinking that, ironically, the Anglican faith in practice is closer to the traditional Roman Catholic faith I once knew. If only Catholics in England would realize how much Anglicans are traditionally Catholic in practice!

Anthony Jarvis
25 Heys Lane, Darwen BB3 1DT

She was right

From Mr Stuart Henry

Thank you for publishing the article ‘Parting friends’ by Christina Rees last month. I wish her well in the next step of her campaigning life; she has always been courteous, and it has been good to read her views even if I disagree with nearly all of them, often furiously.

One comment of hers seems chillingly accurate. ‘I expect most of those who continue to oppose opening the episcopate to women will continue to minister and worship faithfully in the Church of England.’ Numerically, she is likely to be proved right, but only through a form of trickery.

If one ignores the loss of the brightest and best leaders and future leaders, of what has been one of the brighter and better parts of the CofE; if one discounts those who will fade away into gentle disillusion (but at least don’t go to Rome); if one rejoices at the prospect of once thriving AngloCatholic parishes crumbling away like their liberal neighbours; then, yes, one can relax in the assurance that ‘most’ traditionalists will stay.

So if all that is best has gone, who are these ‘most’ who will go nowhere? The sad fact about a Code of Practice is that it will probably appeal to enough people in enough parishes to ‘prove’ how generous General Synod has been. Most readers of ND can think of a neighbouring parish, viciously opposed to everything that Forward in Faith stands for, yet nevertheless full of conservatives and misogynists, which is highly likely to take advantage of what will be offered.

A whole new constituency is going to be created. Fair enough, let them make use of the provision that is offered. But it is galling that these are they who will be classed as ‘most of those’. While Catholic Anglicans of conviction will be forced out of the church of their birth, they will be replaced (statistically) by mere chauvinists and reactionaries.

I know I shouldn’t be upset by this prospect, but there is something curiously upsetting about the manner in which Mrs Rees’ prediction will be proved true.

Stuart Henry

Defence of pacifism

From Fr David Sutton ssc

I take the point of the Editorial in the April issue of ND regarding gay relationships and, like the editor, do not accept the logic of a parallel between the gay issue and the just war issue. However, I do take exception to the comment about pacifists, that ‘the (Christian) majority has tolerated pacifism precisely because pacifists are committed to doing nothing’.

Surely in this context it is precisely the Christian majority which is generally committed to ‘doing nothing’, or at least not committed to doing anything, as secular policies about war and defence are allowed to go unchallenged. It is the majority of Christians that has compromised with the world (whether this be deemed a necessary compromise or not).

Pacifists, on the contrary, are committed to being peacemakers. Most are involved in seeking to persuade governments to divert monies spent on preparation for war (‘defence’ so-called) into more peaceful and potentially more profitable areas (in terms of justice, development etc). In this they are surely keeping the spirit of the Beatitude and the example and teaching of Christ in their hearts and in their conduct.

Pacifists could be said to be a prophetic voice for peace in a militaristic society, just as religious are a prophetic voice for chastity in a world of promiscuity (and who would say that religious ‘are committed to doing nothing’?) The voice of pacifists may be muted, or go unheard or unheeded, but it is there nonetheless, and accompanied by action.

After all, the Lord did not declare blessed those who defend, or keep the peace, even less those who attack and make war. It is peacemakers who are called children of God by the one who willingly gave his life in order to bring peace by his death on the cross. We ought to be grateful for the faithful witness of those who seek to recall the Church and the nation to that basic command of Jesus, supported by his example, to love not just one another but also our enemies.

David Sutton
Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

The old, old story

From Mr John Buck

A propos Women Bishops, it seems that Eve (extreme feminism) has once again tempted Adam (mankind, both male and female) with forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (contemporary political correctness). And once again Adam has fallen for it.

John Buck
211 Portland Road, London N15

Letters for publication should be sent to:

The Editor
New DirectioNs
2A The Cloisters, Gordon Square
London WC1H 0AG