FOR better or worse, during the ten centuries up to the Reformation, there was no incompatibility between the laws of the Church and those of Europe, said Archbishop Murphy of Cardiff in his Lenten Pastoral Letter Europe was just Chris
"Then, once more, the Church was divorced from the world, and apart from the split in Christian culture, a new culture arose, sown and fertilised in a secular garden and completely shut off from the rl'.u-o?.t."
Even though the seeds of division were sown then, he continued, it was only in our own day that we were reaping tht harvest. "Only now do we speak of a pluralist society; only now do we clearly witness the great divide, the two cultures, Christian and secular, and in between a vast amorphous majority."
Th's majority owed no allegiance to either culture, yet hoped to preserve the impossible. a Christian conscience and a Christian ethic which had no roots in belief and no nourishment in worship, "One like to think that it was compassion for this bewildered majority which swayed the Church in her new decrees at Vatican II. She could then have chosen isolation and the ghetto, she could have chosen a confrontation, hurling her anathemas. her fulminations, her excommunications.
"She chose instead dialogue, involvement, personal commitment, call it what you will, but in the last analysis it is a mixed marriage with the world, with all its attendant dangers. This is a tremendous act of faith in her children, "The two cultures are to meet, to live together, with all the risks involved, and the Church is so confident in her children that she expects that the children's children who will be born of this mixed marriage will be born into the Christian culture."
The Archbishop continued: "It would be rash of these same children if they contemplated this alliance, this involvement, without first assessing their own weakness, and the strength of the opposition. It is well to remember, first of all, that many of us have derived our higher education outside the stream of Catholic culture.
"One-eyed Catholicism helps neither the Church nor the world. Priest and layman require information, and even more important, formation, before they involve in dialogue.
"It is well to remember, too, that we have little to offer the world if we play down or reject what we have gathered from our Catholic culture, our beliefs, our respect for infallible magisterium, our obedience, out of some ghastly fear
of being dubbed naive, conformist or predictable.
'Sincerity and loyalty to the Fa.:th which is costing will contribute more to the dialogue than a weak and watery compromise which is cheap. Let us honestly offer what we have to give, and not cowardly seek to give them what we think they want.
"We could easily be mislei2. Men don't always want the panacea of unfettered and riotous freedom. A desire for authority, for order, for knowing where one stands, is endemic to men.
FILLING VOID "Quite a lot of prominence has been given recently to the way in which political power, almost by the will, or lack of will, in the people has been moving from the elected representatives to the Cabinet, and from the Cabinet to the Premier: as if there was some wishful yearning for a political Batman to deliver us from our worries.
"People may no longer believe in the supernatural, but they are longing for some authority to fill the void. and are very near to inventing one. Denying anything above the human is producing a curious back eddy of idols and supermen."
Another danger when involved in this dialogue with the world arose from the fact that the priorities of the secular culture tended to swamp all other priorities by their very imminence and proximity. Their problems were here and now. And as a result, there was a danger of reducing the Christian culture to the mere sum of its involvement in "here and now" problems . . .
"There may be times when the Church must descend from preaching her principles of rational and economic freedom, the dignity of the human person and the family, to actual, detailed application. But the occasions will be rare.
"The danger of the world using the Church as a selective weed-killer in one part of the world, while demanding that She remain quiet and keep out of politics in another part, is only too apparent to fairminded men. The world is only too ready to hitch the Church to its own wagon and to go places, provided it chooses them " The Archbishop concluded: "The 'here and now' always has more coverage than the 'eternal.' And the Church, having chosen involvement, must listen. But the yardstick will always be to 'eternity'."
ANOTHER step towards Christian Unity—this time at London Hospital. Cardinal Heenan is seen here admiring an embroidery panel in the hospital's new ecumenical chapel
with Dr. Robert Stopford, Anglican Bishop of London and Dr. Aubrey Vine, General Secretary of the Free Church Federal Council.
The inauguration of this E3,800 "Christian Centre" took place last week. The embroidery, made by the Benedictine nuns of Cockfosters, depicts the Sermon on the Mount and the healing of Lazarus.
The chapel is the culmination of a move for closer church relations taken„in the summer of 1965 when Fr. Louis Marteau (Catholic), Rev. R. Holmes (Church of England) and Rev William Parkes (Free Church) formed a Chaplains' Department.
By the clever use of dividing screens the area of worship can be regulated. It will also be used for discussion group meetings. Among those welcoming guests to the inauguration was the Matron of the hospital, Miss P Friend.