An explanation

From Major D P Wilson MBE

Royal Artillery (Retired)

I reply to Dr Harry Donnelly’s letter in your May issue. I am sorry that the doctor was saddened by my letter in the April issue. Perhaps I stressed ‘loyalty’ too strongly.

I come from an Army family and was virtually born into the Army, when I joined I took a solemn Oath of Allegiance to my Sovereign. So loyalty has ever been a dominant feature in my life: to my family, the Army, to the Regiment and to the Church, not necessarily in that order. I hope that does not sound unduly pompous. Doctor Donnelly is now a Roman Catholic and I remain an English Catholic, but I trust we are still brothers in Christ. Lastly, although I realize this is not the issue, I would find it hard indeed to forsake our beautiful mediaeval church, which has stood here for 1000 years and has, I am sure, absorbed in its walls and columns millions of prayers of the faithful over that time.

Denys Wilson

Mill Reach, 14 Constable Way Salisbury SP2 8LN

Catholic Mission

From The Revd Ivan Clutterbuck

The one thing we know about the new Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda is that it is centred on Mission. I find this encouraging because I have been involved in mission for most of my life and know that it requires a strategy. May I suggest that the Lay Apostolate which the Church Union promoted in the 1970s had much to offer, with its watchword, the Gospel to our Neighbour, groups were formed in many parishes.

It petered out when there was no guiding hand. The strategy is fully described in my book, A Church in Miniature published in 1996 by Gracewing. It is a kind of compendium, dealing with the history of the apostolate, a programme of teaching for starters and an introduction for teaching the gospels, based on personal experience.

Ivan Clutterbuck

The College of St Barnabas Lingfield RH7 6NJ

Teaching the Faith

From The Revd Simon Heans

April’s New Directions arrived in the same week that I and other Ordinariate clergy were required to study three chapters of John Paul II’s encyclical Faith and Reason. Reading Nicholas Turner’s interesting essay (The Next Battleground) I was struck by the fact that, whereas Fr Turner assumes conflict between the two, the late pontiff maintains the opposite to be true: ‘There is thus no reason for competition of any kind between reason and faith: each contains the other, and each has its own scope for action.’ This point is explained in the preceding paragraph by reference to historical events which, although they ‘are realities to be observed, analysed and assessed with all the resources of reason… cannot be understood in depth without professing faith in the God who is at work in them.’

I would suggest that what applies to history is equally true, mutatis mutandis, of the two examples discussed by Fr Turner. As well as looking at papal encyclicals Ordinariate clergy have to study the Catechism.

When I read Fr Turner’s admission of having ‘been plagued by the temptation to atheism for most of my adult life’, I was reminded of the quotation from Augustine that appears in the section we had been set for that week: ‘But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me.’ (119) So Fr Turner’s doubts put him in good company, but does he want the antidote to them? Does he want to be moved from ‘the temptation to atheism’?

The Revd Simon Heans

St Barnabas Vicarage, Oakhill Road, Beckenham BR3 6NG

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