The article of October 4 by Peter Nolan on the Catholic Renewal Movement makes rather sad reading. I suppose I am one of those original members who have dropped away. There is no doubt that the original very useful thrust of CRM weakened after two or three years to a point at which one felt there was no benefit in remaining involved.
I think there were two reasons for this. One reason undoubtedly has been the indifference of the authorities, who, in generally failing to understand what CRM was trying to do, did not distinguish between its better and worse contributions and thus prevented it from being of use.
On the other hand, the movement played into the hands of those hostile to it by becoming far too political, Time was wasted in constitution-making and manoeuvring for position which could have been used for actually working on the serious issues. Some were attracted whose main impulse seemed to be to dissent against authority, in a negative fashion, rather than press for positive improvements.
However, CRM undoubtedly made important contributions which should he remembered. One, which you did not mention, was Anthony Spencer's monograph on Catholic education, which suggested that serious investigation of how well the present system achieves its aims was overdue. The continuing complacent neglect of Spencer's arguments is a disgrace.
There is still a place for a CRM, or at least CRM people. We are asked to take the lay apostolate seriously but the contradiction which remains at the heart of Humanae Vitae inhibits the understanding we could spread of Christian marriage. And it is dreadful that talented people are lost to the Church (or the priesthood) even partly because of official myopia.
C. S. P. McDonald Formerly Editor of CRM Bulletin Peckwater, Pine Avenue, Camberley, Surrey.