Sir, The Conservative party has its own lack of moral direction As I take the parable of Dives and Lazarus very seriously 1 could never vote for a party which increased unemployment and sold off public utilities for the benefit of the rich. Would the Liberal patty be any better?
Yours faithfully ANNE TOPPING Worthing, BN14 7DQ
Cardinal Ratzinger on the old Mass
From Mr Christopher Zealley
Sir, In one respect Fr Symondson's review of Cardinal Ratzinger's Book The Spirit of the Liturgy (27 October) is misleading. He leaves the impression that the Cardinal is not a supporter of those who wish to see the Tridentine Mass more widely celebrated.
Fr Symondson accurately reports both the Cardinal's comparison of Catholic liturgy in the early 20th century with a wonderful fresco that had been preserved from damage, but had been overlaid with whitewash by later generations, and also his view that the fresco was successfully exposed to view by the liturgical movement, culminating in Vatican II. But Fr Symondson goes on to say: "The reapplication of whitewash, in the form of a restoration of the Tridentine Mass, is firmly rejected ..."
This is a serious distortion because Cardinal Ratzinger makes clear that by "whitewash" he means not the old liturgy, but defective modes of lay participation which had sprung up around it — "instructions for and forms of private prayer", which in many places were commonly used during Mass (pp.7-8). Moreover at no point in the book does the author reject the restoration of the Tridentine rite.
To find out what Cardinal Ratzinger thinks about the proper place of the old liturgy we need to look elsewhere. For instance, in Milestones (Ignatius Press, 1998), he writes, "I was dismayed by the prohibition of the old missal [in 1970], since nothing of the sort had ever happened in the entire history of the liturgy ... The prohibition ... introduced a breach into the history of the liturgy whose consequences could only be tragic" (pp.146-8).
He is more forthcoming still in his 1998 lecture Ten Years of the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei (www.unavoce.org/tenyears.htm). There he gives thanks for the foundation of the traditional communities which since 1988 have given the Church many priestly and religious vocations, and remarks that through their ministry numbers of the faithful have rediscovered the joy of being able to live the liturgy and love the Church. He recalls "what Cardinal Newman observed, that the Church, throughout her history, has never abolished nor forbidden orthodox liturgical forms, which would be quite alien to the Spirit of the Church" .Hence Vatican II "ordered a reform of the liturgical books, but it did not prohibit the former books". He compares the co-existence of new and old rites today with the co existence of the Dominican and Roman rites before the council, and he reassures traditional Catholics that any future "reform of the reform" would not be used as an opportunity for eliminating the old rite. In supporting not only the reform of the new liturgy, but also the greater availability of the old, Cardinal Ratzinger surely offers a way forward which is both constructive and charitable.
Yours faithfully CHRISTOPHER ZEALLEY Kidlington, Oxon. OX5 1HG
Remember the animals
From Ms Deborah Jones
Sir, As the world of agriculture is celebrated this weekend, and we commiserate with the plight of British farmers undergoing a seismic crisis in their industry, please spare a thought for the billions of sentient animals and poultry undergoing untold misery within factory farms. As the Catechism says: animals are Gods creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care.
So let Christians take a lead in this Jubilee year in saying no to all meat, eggs and milk produced in conditions which cause intense suffering for fellow creatures of our one Father.
Yours faithfully, DEBORAH JONES Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare 12 Swan Court, Witney OX8 7EA
From Miss Fiorella Sultana de Maria Sir, Having read your "Israeli perspective" on the Palestine/Israel conflict, may I be permitted to make an obvious point? The killing of those Israeli soldiers was inhuman and unjustifiable — but so was the killing of over 100 Palestinians, half of them children, in the name of Israeli security.
If Mrs Rist is to encourage us to read in this incident, an overwhelming desire by all Arabs to kill Jews, how exactly are we to read the indiscriminate killing of Palestinians on a far greater scale?. Palestinian civilians are injured and killed on a chillingly regular basis by Israeli soldiers and settlers but until this recent bout of fighting, these incidents have gone largely unreported in the Western media. When 1 visited the National Injury Foundation in Gaza this summer (a centre which rehabilitates Palestinians disabled by soldiers/settlers) their most recent admission had been just four days previously. I had not even read of it in the Israeli press.
Yours faithfully, FIORELLA SULTANA DE MARIA. Cambridge.
From Mr Denis Jackson
Sir, There is much talk in some parts of the country of having to close Catholic schools because of falling numbers.
I fear the Catholic community have brought this on themselves over the years. Since it seems, most couples have largely ignored traditional church teaching on contraception since the swinging 60s, they are now having to pay the price.
They sowed a wind in their ignorance and are now reaping a whirlwind. There is surely some wisdom in the saying "a contracepting Church is a sterile Church!"
Yours faithfully, DENIS.JACKSON, Allerton Bradford BD15 7RS