IN his article,Fuil Circle on Ecumenism (May 12), Gerard Noel having decried those "awful pre-ecumenical years" when he could not go to Evensong while at Oxford, stated that Leo XIII's 1896 Bull, Apostolicae Curae, "is crying out for clarification".
However, anyone who reads the Bull along with the excellent reply of the English Catholic bishops to the Anglican Responsio will be left in no confusion as to why the Church has never recognised Anglican orders. The fundamental obstacle is that Cranmer's new ordination rite was defective in both form and intent, and did not therefore create priests able to offer the sacrifice of the Mass.
Once the apostate Catholic hierarchy died out, the Apostolic Succession was additionally lost by the Church of England. The issue of the ordination of women is utterly irrelevant in this matter.
As one who styled himself an "historian", Mr Noel should be aware that Leo XIII's ruling was not, as he implied, the result of some dire "ultramontane" plotting between Cardinal Vaughan and (the later) Cardinal Merry del Val; it has been the Church's position from the very
beginning. When the Church was restored in England under Queen Mary, the first act of Cardinal Pole was to order the reordination of all clergy ordained under the new rites.
It is unfair on Anglicans to give the impression that their orders will ever be recognised while they remain in schism and heresy.
Truth is not negotiable, even for so good a cause as aiding "truly meaningful Anglican-Catholic discussions".
WFV Hudson Magdalene College Cambridge I FEEL that Fr Cornwell (May 12) does not sufficiently answer Fr Casey's question (May 5) as to the position regarding his Catholic ordination. When Archbishop Louis Falk of the Anglican Catholic Continuing Church of USA was asked why he helped to found that Church rather than convert to Rome, he replied; "Because I would have to accept re-ordination, which is blasphemous".
His is a position that I think most Catholics would find easier to understand than that of Fr Cornwell.
Jane Fischer Nelson, Lanes
IN your leader (May 5) you refer to the role or women as a "fundamental doctrinal question". Surely no doctrine is involved. It is not a matter of faith — only tradition, culture or practice, any of which is open to change and diversity, It can be a matter of morals though: to deny that some women may be prompted by the Holy Spirit to desire ordination poses a serious justice and human rights issue for a Church with a dark side to its history.
Terri Molloy Crawley, Sussex
I READ the article by Keith Mitchell with great interest having once known a small boy of six who referred to "Our Lady of Petrol Sucker". But I feel that Mr Mitchell is over optimistic that Roman Catholic English is dying out. I sat in On an RCIA seminar last year and was told we were entering the time of Mystagogia (can't even spell it), whereupon a wit in the party said "discrimination, where is Mrs Gogia". RCE or RCIA?
Ann James Down ham Market
I AM dismayed by the front page item "Belmont's Thatcher bonfire" (May 5). A member of a working class parish, dedicated to St Benedict, I wonder what an earlier generation of Benedictines would have made of this "celebration". In the last century they came to serve the faith in this coal mining valley. The brothers' material poverty matched that of their parishioners.
Now one of the same order sees fit to honour a woman whose government's materialistic policies have made into a chasm the divide between the country's haves and have-nots,
Bernard Donoghue Aberfan