A selection of Readers'
letters to The Editor
Sir,--lher,e can be few Catholics in England and Wales who du not await with eagerness the early canonisation of the Forty Martyrs. whose example of steadfastness in the Faith is still relevant to our age. But we must not allow this enthusiasm to distort our presentation of the truth in other fields. On this account, we feel that the Manifesto issued last week by the Vice-Postulation office, and the treatment of it in your paper, call for some comments: I. No evidence has been pat forward to suggest that the Martyrs were "ecumenical", as we now understand the term—indeed, in their circumstances this was hardly possible. Though it is Lil1.. deniable that they loved their separated brethren, and were often fluent in presenting the Catholic case, true ecumenism demands more than this.
2. Since the majority of our fellow Christians cannot in conscience join us in prayer to saints, it is surely unwise to propose a patron saint for the ecumenical
mo3v. Ectm emenit, enism demands above all else charity and understandjog: to use such tents as "triumph" in ecumenical affairs (as in Comment, CH., July 9) is at best misleading, and at worst uncharitable.
H. J. S. Heywood, Chairman, U.C.S. Christian Unity Executive.
Misleading, yes; uncharitable, no.—Editor.
Sir,-11, as you suggest, the main reason for our promoting the cause of the Forty Martyrs is to get them accepted by all Christians as patrons of the ecuineniciad movement, then should one not promote at the same time the canonisation cause of Forty non-Catholic Martyrs to be copatrons with them?
The example of the Catholic martyrs you state as "constancy in the striving for Christian unity". Complementary to this is the example of Wyclifyite, Anglican and Protestant martyrs in their constancy in striving for Christian reform. W. 3. Morgan
J. Fleet (Socialist) who suggests (July 2) that the better hope for "the complete transformation of society in its entire structure" lies in the Labour Party, has much -in common with Mr. St. John-Stevas (Conservative) whose views he thinks he attacks.
For they both belong to the establishment group in blinkers, that cannot see the Liberal Party, because, like the Catholic Church in England, it is a minority party. I suggest that people with such a restricted view can hardly be expected to appreciate the new and radical ideas on democratic
participation (co-ownership, regional devolution, etc.) echoing Catholic teaching, that are being worked out in the Liberal party.
Apart from the minor (!) matters of programme, where Liberals alone are committed to Catholic ideas, there is the further fact that only the Liberal Party is not in the financial leading strings of the status quo (mutually dependent, big business and big unionism, that finance "both parties" to the exclusion of the third party). And though one must certainhy sympathise with Mr. Fleet's view that "it is only within the Labour Party that the effective tradition ,of, resistance to the oppression of the capitalist system can be found", this is, alas, a view that lives in the past.
The sturdy independence that is central to this tradition is not in the air of the Labour Party of today. lt is undoubtedly present in the Liberal Party where the fresh air of freedom is a great (and essential) encouragement to the radical ideas of Catholic social teaching.
E. Abraham, London, W.I4.
Sir.—Surely the wording under the picture of Luci Baines Johnson (July 9) is entirely incorrect.
10 speak of Miss Johnson's being baptised into the Catholic Church is the very thing that has upset the Episcopalians in the U.S.A. It is elementary Catholic teaching that baptism can only he given and received once.
If Miss -Johnson was validly baptised in an Episcopalian church then what has recently happened haa been a reconciliation or recep tion into the strue'Church. ' If her :!origirial baptism was invalid, then that recently given conditionally has been her baptism into The Church—just that.
Jack Goodway Banbury.
Sir,—May I through the medium of your correspondence column, ask if any of your readers can give advice on the following problem?
What is the best way of explaining to a young child of a mixed marriage why her daddy, who is a non-church-going member of the Church of England, does not accompany her mummy and herself to Church whenever they go?
Grateful thanks for any suggestions.