Page 8, 15th July 1960

15th July 1960
Page 8
Page 8, 15th July 1960 — Crockford's and the 'Roman ice'

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Locations: London, Rome


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Crockford's and the 'Roman ice'


THE preface to the 1959-60 edition of Crockford's Clerical Directory (the official directory of the Anglican Church) refers to Catholics in a section entilted " The Old and the New


"Pope John has given indications of a new spirit in his attitude towards' non-Roman Christians.

"His ideas are meeting obstruction, and English churchmen would be very unwise to rest their hopes too much upon the liberal currents flowing from Germany and France.

"The English, American, and Spanish hierarchies are still] very powerful, and the more realistic among us will not be surprised if they can obstruct even a pope. Anglicans should -be eager to welcome every move that is made from Rome, but they must realise that issues have to be settled with the Roman Catholics in England." The writer pleads that Anglicans should show friendship towards Catholics, and adds: "Even in England the Roman ice can be thawed by friendEness."


Fr. THOMAS CORBLSHLEY, Si., Rector of Farm Street Church. London, and himself an active worker in "forming contacts" with our separated brethren, comments as follows: The writer of the preface of Crockford has. for some time past. played the role of ecclesiastic enfant terrible, and perhaps one should not take his widely distributed strietures too seriously. At the same time, since in the latest edition he is pleading for greater understanding between the "Roman Church" and the Anglican, it may be worth while to explain once again precisely where we stand. "It is," he says, assumption that St. Peter was given powers different in kind from those given to the other apostles that is the root of the separation between Rome and the rest of Orthodox and Catholic Christendom."

This is to beg a very large question. It is just as logical to say that "it is the assumption that St. Peter was not given powers over and above those given to the other apostles which is the root of the separation". The question can be settled not by any ipse dixit on his part but by an appeal to history: and one's confidence in his knowledge of history is shaken by the extraordinary assertion that Pius XII "gave to the Papacy a character of personal absolutism almost without precedent".


The sad thing is that the writer of the preface does seem to be trying. He realises—possibly even he exaggerates—Catholic "memories of persecution and exclusion from public life". And we regret as much as he does that some— though not surely "a good many" —Catholics are insulting in their language and behaviour towards Anglicans. (But does he ever read some of the literature poured out by the Protestant underworld?) But none of this is particularly relevant to the question at issue. The vast majority of English Catholics—including the hierarchy, of whom he has such a poor Opinion--are more than willing to let bygones be bygones if only they can meet with genuine goodwill and adesire to come to an agreement without prejudice Or passion. But this sort of pamphleteering does little to thaw what he desribcs as "the Roman ice". Still, it is a change from "the fires of Smithfield".

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