From the Revd Richard Martin SIR I write in reply to Major Robertson-Young's kindly meant letter (December 12) which refers to the Bull Apostolicae Curae of Pope Leo XIII (surely not XVIII, as printed?). I would direct him and other readers to a recent biography of Pope Pius XII by Gerard Noel (a former editor of the Herald) where I read that "English Catholics today mostly believe that Pope Leo's Bull, whose original scholarship was suspect, has long since been overtaken by events and is now a dead letter".
That is precisely why I find it unhelpful to have these ashes raked over in your paper at this time when more Anglican clergy are about to seek reconciliation with the Holy See.
On the question of the alleged defects of the Edwardine Ordinal, I would refer him to Papa Ratzinger's Principles of Catholic Theology (1987 Ignatius Press), where I read, under the heading "Pius XII's Rectification of the Middle Ages": "The proper sacramental sign of holy orders is the imposition of hands, nothing else." That is the form to which the Anglican Ordinal adheres, and always has done.
What is surely lacking in the Anglican Communion, as recent developments have made obvious, is authority, found in the Magisteriurn of the Church, That is what attracts those who will be seeking reconciliation, and ordination within the Catholic Church as a means to that end.
Yours faithfully, RICHARD MARTIN Oxford