Page 5, 14th June 1968

14th June 1968
Page 5
Page 5, 14th June 1968 — The 'New Pentecost' dispute

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The 'New Pentecost' dispute

IT 4 very easy to find many X faults in the New Pentecost movement as it has been presented to us—the overall haste; the little envelope on which one has to state name and ` amount of donation, knowing it is quite probable that a fellow layman will see it; thp ambiguity surrounding the s rvices required and how they ill be used when offered, etc. These and some other faults may lead many people to disregard the whole scheme.

This would be a real tragedy, because here we have the implementation of the Decree on the Laity and the opportunity offered for the laity to play that part in the miss* of the Church which is theirs not by decree of bishops or permission of parish priests, but by virtue of their Baptism.

My suggestion is that people shoula put their donations into the envelope and seal them without writing anything on thpm. Then, on a separate sheet lof paper, identify themselvesj and indicate in either speci c or general terms how they pre willing to serve the Churdh.

Be ring in mind that the Chur h's mission is to the whold world, I would hope that people would indicate their eeadiness to participate in any action to fight such things as w rId poverty and racialism.

John Partridge Oxfo d.

IS bitterly disappointed by the lay preacher I heard last Sunday speaking on the "New Pentecost". Despite the assurances of Ronald Brech's letter (May 31) I was by no means convinced that here was anything more than "just another appeal for money— with the gimmick of a layman asking for it". And neither, if my instincts serve me well, was

the rest of the congregation.

And that envelope! Three lines in which to specify how I am prepared to help. But what kinds of skill or labour are required? What is an appropriate offering? No hint anywhere. Who can blame me if, in despair, I leave that section blank. at the same time guiltily doubling my more tangible monetary contribution? And is this reaction, perhaps. the unexpressed air of any envelope appeal?

Most of us, I think, have learned to shrug our shoulders at officialdom's appalling lack of sympathy for the hopes and anxieties of the common people, and we will not, in the long run, doubt the honourable intent of this scheme. But what a shame when a traffic hold-up prevents officially selected "lay preachers" from reading their officially-prepared "talks" on a subject of such vital interest and glad promise as the real involvement of the lay people—of their whole selves, their individual talents and personalities, not just their prayers and money—for the first time in the mission of their own church.

Kay Matthiesson London, N.10

ITHINK the use of the pulpit in our churches by the laity on Sunday last, even for so good a cause as the inauguration of the New Pentecost was a mistake. It sets a precedent which, in these days of change. could have dangerous implications for the future.

Our vociferous laity should take care that the tail doesn't start wagging the dog.

IX F. Simpson London, S.E.10.

.r,OU shalt renew the face of the earth" is surely the timeless message of Pentecost, and should have been the basis for the current interpretation which we were given on Sunday. "New Pentecost" sounds like nothing inure than an imitation of advertising gimmicks directed towards a discontented desire for novelty.

If the changes in the Church are to have any meaning beyond the appeal of novelty they must be based on the foundation of God's power guidance: and these are received through prayer and the prayer of others.

Without this foundation we will find ourselves as helpless as the Apostles before their nine days' preparation in the Cenacle in the company of Our Lady. It was after those nine days that the Spirit came, to renew through men the face of the earth.

Surely this is an example we cannot ignore. Without such preparation the activities we undertake will be lacking in lasting value—as the proposed programme at present so sadly promises to be. They will remain essentially meaningless as the term "New Pentecost" itself.

Brigid Boardman Bath

WHAT characterised the first Pentecost was the spontaneity of the occasion. I cannot imagine anything more deadening than the publicity handout which inaugurated the laity's increased involvement with Church affairs. The occasion was not authentic.

Either the laity are educated enough to he given a few guidelines and left to string together their own thoughts around a central theme, or they are not. If they are not, perhaps we had better wait till they are—and they will look less like marionettes in the meantime.

Bruce Cooper Middlesbrough.

Powell and race

laWOULD like to express my X support for the views advanced by C. C. Flynn on May 31.

There are many Catholics in this university who abhor the stance often taken that one should not approach the problem of immigration in a serious manner, and instead think that the only Christian thing to do is to condemn Mr. Powell's views as racialist.

I am sure that all those who pray for racial harmony in this country will agree about our incapacity to cope with further immigrants and the need to help those who would like to return home.

Simon Cunningham President, Oxford University Newman Society St. Aldate's, Oxford

Birth control

I N your issue of June 7 you published a letter from me under the heading "Birth Control Confusion." Under point 8, you have: "The side effects of the pill, on the other hand, have been widely and openly reported in your issue of May with an awareness that may be all the greater because of the thalidomide disaster."

This should, of course, have read: ". . have been widely and openly reported in medical journals with an awareness ." etc.

B. J. Rickard Guy's Hospital Medical School, SE.!.

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