From the Auxiliary Bishop of Northampton
MR. Norman St. JohnStevas, in his review in last week's CATHOLIC HERALD of the current enquiry into working of the Abortion Law, takes the opportunity of commenting on the present position of Catholics regarding contraception.
Several questions arise from his comment.
Is the fact, for example, that a Catholic M.P. is reported as welcoming the availability of contraceptives on social, as well as medical grounds really "indicative of the way Catholic opinion on contraception has changed radically in the last decade"?
Whether this is true or not— and it may well be true—it in no way resolves the question as to whether it is right or wrong to use contraception. So called Catholic opinion could be"radicaIly" wrong.
But when Mr St.J ohn-Stevas goes on to say: "even those Catholics who condemn contraception as intrinsically immoral may be able to see that compared with abortion it is the lesser of two evils," one feels one is being invited to welcome contraception as the only alternative.
What is far more serious is the apparent dismissal of the judgment of the Pope, who is
one of those "who condemn contraception as intrinsically immoral," as though there were now two options open to a Catholic who would approach this issue in the light of his Catholic faith.
When it comes to a judgment on the morality of contraception there has only been one option. Like so many other things we do, it has always been wrong.
One of the reasons why this particular debate has been fought to a weary standstill is that it has become secondary to far greater dilemmas. in fact it could he argued that it is counter-productive to go on spelling out Catholic teaching on contraception. Catholics— and many who are not Catholics—know it. and either accept it or reject it.
No, what is at issue now is the credibility of the Catholic faith, or any Christian faith for that matter. For we are rapidly becoming inarticulate about what we believe as true; so why should others, involved in the explosive problems of a bursting, expanding world, bother to listen to us?
Perhaps the ultimate betrayal has begun as we falter in our faith in the presence of Christ to a world which is his and of which he is its lord and God.
The day we lose our trust in Christ and his Body which is the church, on that day we
should accept the growing con.
census that we Christians
belong to the past, and now is the time to go. (Rt. Rev.) Alan C. Clark Norwich
THE Cohen decision to clear Dr. Browne, who informed the parents of a 16year-old girl that she was on the pill, will be welcomed by those anxious Christian parents and doctors who may find themselves in similar circumstances.
But Mr. Leo Abse, Labour M.P. for Pontypool, intends to bring in amending legislations. ale is reported to have said "no self claimed moralist doctor should, as a result of the G.M.C.'s decision, imagine that he now has legal immunity."
Let us hope our Catholic and Christian M.P.s will be as speedy and as energetic to see the Cohen decision given the legal security of the Chancery Courts as Mr. Ahse in forwarding his self claimed and moralist views.
James Drake Felbridge, Sussex.
FR. PETROC HOWELL (March 5) may care to know that there are many, like myself. who are determined not to tax and impair their spiritual digestion by forcing themselves to swallow even a mouthful of the halfcooked liturgical cabbage, being served up, so noisily and heartily, in our churches today.
What puzzles and amazes us (it would even amuse, were it not so tragic) is that the liturgical diet, on which the saints and our forefathers thrived, all the world over, for centuries, should suddenly be found to be indigestible, unwholesome (and even harmful, since it is now to be forbidden.) Eric Lovelock London, W.14.