I was disappointed to see Thurifer dismissing General Synod as a ‘talking shop….signifying nothing’. During the last Quinquennium a number of important measures were discussed in some depth, including lobbying HM Government to ban fixed-odds betting terminals, homelessness/housing and the nature of the sacrament of priesthood (as a result of the proposed merger with the Methodist Church). At the previous session, Fr Cartwright’s motion on relative poverty included a speech made by me in support of the Bishop of Chelmsford, who had rightly criticized the culture of timidity within the Church for tackling the housing shortage. As a result of the speeches, meetings have since been held with the Church Commissioners to explore serious proposals around how they may assist in this area; this is hardly ‘bloviated hot air’.
A forthcoming session will have to include a debate on a Private Members’ Motion calling for the introduction of Same-Sex blessings, since this has achieved the requisite number of signatures. These are important issues for the Church, and while much of Synod can feel pointless, Catholic candidates will not be encouraged to stand if voices within the movement are disparaging.
Lay Representative, St Eds and Ipswich
In his review of the Tate Britain Exhibition Hogarth and Europe Owen Higgs is rightly critical of the imposed opinions by the eighteen commentators (ND March).
The Observer reviewer was similarly critical and stated: ‘But the longer I stayed, the more the feeling grew in me that I was not really allowed to enjoy what I was seeing and that if I did, I was a bad or insensitive person. I no longer fully trusted myself to smile at these muslin collars and rosy cheeks, these crisp bonnets and soft jowls’.
It is unfortunately a sign of the narrow mindedness of certain authorities that they believe themselves justified in imposing their contemporary opinions on the rest of us often with ideas which are far more dangerous. It is hardly to be wondered at that some people attend performances of operas in order to boo the offensive updating seen as necessary in order to bring a work into line with today. We are rightly critical of authoritarian governments but we should also ask: How free is Britain?
Thomas E. Rookes