SIR,-I was interested in some remarks in your column recently about a television programme where similarities between an Anglican and a Roman Catholic Convent were evident.
You mentioned, if I remember correctly, Mr. Wiggins' surprise that the Anglicans, "having gone so far, had not gone the whole way ". while you said that you had never understood how certain Anglicans believed that thc Church of England was the same as the preReformation church in this country. May I, as an Anglican priest and a regular reader of your excellent paper, say something about these points in all possible friendliness? Anglicans with similar views to mine would not, I believe, say that the Church of England was exactly the same as that in days before the Reformation. What we would say is that in the basic fundamentals of the Faith she preserves a continuity with the preReformation church. I realise, of course, that is begging the question of unity with the Holy See, hut we believe we have the Apostolic Succession and thus the Sacraments, the Creeds and thus Orthodox faith (at least potentially).
We use your ceremonial and so on because we believe we are part of the Western Patriarchate in spirit if not externally.
I realise this view must seem silly to those who are not Anglicans; we seem to you very often as if we were in had faith in view of the divided front Anglicanism presents to the world. No one. least of all Anglicans who regard themselves as Catholics, would say their position was easy; those of us who are ordained do believe quite passionately that we are priests, Nave said Mass, given Absolution.
For myself, however much I might long to be in communion with the Holy See. I come resolutely against these facts, as I would call them. 1 cannot deny them.
For these reasons, people like myself cannot, as Mr. Wiggins suggests, " go the whole way." There are other difficulties, too.
I would find it difficult to accept the present definition of Papal Infallibility and the Assumption as a dogma, though I believe the latter to he true. Both as dogmas and the idea of the implicit deposit of faith to give scriptural support for the Assumption seem to me to represent a departure from the church of our forefathers. I write this in no carping spirit. I am just very anxious that the 'position of Anglicans like myself might be a little clearer. When charity and friendship between Christians is growing so much I feel strongly that misunderstandings must not be allowed to remain if they can be removed. With best wishes,
Yours sincerely, David A. G. Davies 74 Abbey Foregate. Shrewsbury.
Though Catholics will be quite unable to agree with our correspondent, we think it right that so sincere an apologia from a regular reader should