Should Dr Dominian be above criticism?
From Professor Mary Grey
Sir, I find it extremely offensive that Dr Jack Dominian, a deeply respected colleague in the "Authority and Governance in the Roman Catholic Church" project — should be alluded to in such disrespectful tones (Letters. May 18 and 25).
It may be that people have to die before their contribution is recognised. I hope not In the field of marriage and sexuality there cannot be anyone who, for the last 30-40 years, in a career spanning medicine, psychiatry, counselling, writing and lecturing, has consistenly taught us that sexual love contributes to wholeness of personal growth and the healing of many kinds of wounds. Not only that, but it is to be found in lifelong committed relationhips — namely in Christian marriage. Across the spectrum of Christian churches Dr Dominian's reputation is unique.
It demeans the columns of The Catholic Herald to allow such offensive and ignorant language to dishonour the reputation of a man whose life has been one of consistent loyalty to the Catholic Church
Yours sincerely, MARY GREY University of Wales, Lampeter
We simply published a number of letters from concerned readers, who pointed out what is beyond dispute: that Dr Dominian 's book is inconsistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church on sexual ethics, and especially in the case of Humanae Vitae is a direct frontal attack on it. Professor Grey is entitled to her own idea of what constitutes loyalty: others have the right to differ— Editor
Safeguards against abuse
From Miss Lucy O'Farrell
Sir, I was disturbed to read Ms Margaret Kennedy's letter (18 May) on the plight of women who had been sexually abused by their parish priests when they came for pastoral help. Such abuse. as Ms Kennedy rightly stated, is at best, a serious dereliction of professional integrity. However, in what can be an emotionally highly charged atmosphere, a situation can develop which neither party had intended. The Church has traditionally made provision against such contingencies by use of the confessional not only for sacramental confession but also for spiritual guidance.
When women come to priests for pastoral care they expect the priest to act in a professional capacity and this is best done where no physical contact is possible. When such interviews are held in the neutral atmosphere of the confessional, emotions can be contained and the serious business of counsel and healing can effectively take place. When a woman seeks help from her priest she is (or should be) seeking the help and wisdom of God through His Church, not a heart to heart with a therapist. The confessional affords confidentiality and protection to both priest and parishioner and its normative use for counselling could prevent much distress to women and damage to the Church.
Yours faithfully LUCY O'FARRELL Oxford
From Mrs Leslie von Goetz
Sir, When I telephoned your paper a few days ago to explain the way in which legalising cannabis was really a pro-life issue, the gentleman who spoke to me sounded really interested. As a result the last thing I expected was to be made a mockery of in the unfunny "Lamb's Passage" column.
I am faxing you my election address so you can see what a distortion has been perpetrated.
Cannabis has been used for medical purposes all over the world for at least 5,000 years. It is a drug which seems to be unique in that you cannot overdose on it. It is not a question of "chuffing on a good clean spliff', or "clearing the streets" of psychopathic murderers. It is a question of enabling sufferers from MS, Huntingdons, Arthritis and many other ailments to lead a normal pain-free life. Other people with serious nausea problems as a result of cancer therapy are able to regain appetite and strength for recovery with cannabis.
People who face going blind with glaucoma are able to stave off this fate for years on end.
From Mrs Patricia McKeever
Sir, Bishop Maurice Taylor's criticism of the Vatican document Liturgiam Authenticam (May 18) comes as no surprise to informed Scottish Catholics.
All the lay Catholics I've spoken to since the news of the new Vatican ruling on restoring sound English translations in liturgy reached our delighted ears, are more pleased than Bishop Taylor would no doubt be if the Pope announced that he was about to ordain women to the priesthood!
Maybe it's all the General Election frenzy that is going for my brain but I'm tending now to think in "poster" parlance, so phrases like "Support Rome not Home" and "Out with Bad Language" sprang to mind as I read your account of Bishop Taylor's rebellious attitude towards the Congregation for Divine Worship who are, after all, only doing their job.
We ought to send a clear signal to Bishop Taylor et al that we do not want Liturgiam Authenticam to receive the same episcopal treatment as the Instruction on the Laity which has been quietly ignored and shelved.
Yours faithfully, PATRICIA MCKEEVER, Kilsyth, G65 9YF Scotland
From Mr Michael Landers
Sir, In the 16th century Thomas Cranmer was creating an English Liturgy. The issue that seems to divide opinion on Liturgiam Authenticam is whether we now want a specifically English Liturgy or we want the Roman Liturgy in English.
If each language group uses its own paraphrase of the liturgical texts, rather than a strict translation, there will be difference of emphasis and potentially differences of meaning in different parts of the world. Of course any translation is a paraphrase. The question is how far our paraphrase
goes from the original normative text. And how far each translation into another language departs not only from the original, but from other translations.
The Nicene Creed offers some striking examples of this. The Latin of course begins "Credo: I believe". In the English-speaking world we now say -We believe". Monsignor Ronald Knox explained in the 1940s why we say "I" rather than "we": during the Credo "we are not meant to lose ourselves in a crowd. Every clause of it is the expression of my opinion, for which I am personally responsible".
There is doubtless an equally interesting argument for using "we": emphasising the community aspect. The problem is that if I go to Mass in Paris, Rome or Barcelona I still say "I believe: je crois / credo / creo", but in London or Munich I say "We believe / wir glauben". If there is a really good case for adopting the plural everyone should do it, and perhaps the Latin should be changed as well. If there is not a good case, no-one should do it.
Yours faithfully MICHAEL LANDERS Newport NP20 3JU
From Mr John Smith
Sir, It is astonishing that Bishop Taylor could be so deaf to the steady stream of complaints that have appeared in the Press about his chosen commission ICEL. If he had read the series of excellent columns in The Catholic Herald on this matter from the pen of Fr Barrett and learned from them, he could well have saved himself and ICEL considerable embarrassment over the publication of Liturgiam Authenticam.
Surely he was not so deaf nor indeed so blind as to miss the writing that has been up and running on a very public wall now for 2 years?
Yours faithfully, JOHN SMITH, Birmingham B72 7AA
From Mrs Daphne McLeod
Sir, I would like to thank you for printing Father Bruce Harbert's masterly article on Liturgiam Authenticam, the recent Vatican directive from the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship. Father Harbert has the erudition to understand exactly why so many faithful Catholics are unhappy about the current translations of Liturgical texts and the skill to analyse the problems for us clearly and simply Seeing that of the 38 discrepancies he found between the Latin and the current English text of the third Eucharistic prayer, using the ciiteria of Liturgiam Authenticam, only ten have been remedied so far in ICEL's revision, this Vatican directive is obviously much needed and should be fully implemented as soon as humanly possible.
This means that it must be received in this country with the obedience proper to its authority and the enthusiasm expected from faithful Catholics who love the Mass.
So one is saddened to find in Luke Coppen's report (18 May) that Bishop Taylor of Galloway sees it as "a lack or trust in bishops' conferences" and alarmed to read that Martin Foster, described as secretary of the department of Christian life and Worship of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, advocates keeping the present, faulty, translations while the bishops study the text. He admits that Liturgiam Authenticam makes rulings which mean the present texts need to be altered, but still insists that we must go on using them.
Perhaps the Bishops Conference of England and Wales will let Father Harbert explain to them how damaging the various mistranslations in the present text are and that therefore it is important this Vatican directive is implemented as a matter of urgency.
Yours faithfully DAPHNE MCCLEOD Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice