Page 5, 21st February 1964

21st February 1964
Page 5
Page 5, 21st February 1964 — Failure of our pastoral methods today

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Failure of our pastoral methods today

Sir, Regarding the Liverpool docker's letter on about lapsed Catholic work-mates of his, down at the docks, being very anticlerical, and very ignorant of their faith. He speaks the awful truth. It's deplorable!

1 work, also, down at the Liverpool docks, just like him, and I am a sincere practising Catholic and a happily married family man with a house full of kids. And I am very concerned about all this lapsed Catholic business, and want to try and solve the deplorable problem.

When you come into personal contact, often. with your fellow Catholic work-mates you know well, you hear and learn an awful lot about their outlook in life, and what those things are that interest them apart from work.

Lapsed Catholics are very bitter at times if you suggest to them about coming hack home again into the one true fold. And why arc they lapsed? They often tell you to mind your own bloody business when speaking to them about their being lapsed. Sometimes they do get quite annoyed with you and violent. And mock you in front of other lapsed Catholics and not lapsed Catholics, and non-Catholics. And you do begin then to wonder, is there any hope for them ever coming back once again into the one true Fold?

Some of our so-called practising Catholics let you down often, They never back you up when these lapsed Catholics turn against you for being a fool for Christ. They arc afraid, are some practising Catholics to show their true colours. It is a very brave and embarrassing business all this getting to know lapsed Catholics better and trying to get them back again as practising Catholics. I know!

Surely the C.Y.M.S. and K.S.C. here could do more. 1 am a member of both. Half of them are afraid to open their mouths and speak up for their faith when attacked for fear of losing face with the majority at work. And that is a true fact. They make me sick these so-called practising Catholics.

John Cowper Bootle.

Sir,—Peter Thompson's !splendid letter about his fellow Liverpool dockers who have lapsed touched on so many truths that it is hard to select appropriate and, hope. constructive comments. May I make a few points, first assuring House-keeper that 1 have been a parish priest for thirteen years? Mr. Thompson's 'letter shows conclusively that our pastoral methods have failed, yet there are not, to my knowledge, any serious attempts to encourage religioussociological studies, or experimental pastoral methods. Young clergy just learn the traditional methods "on the job". They could learn a lot by means of seminars and discussions.

It is only fair to point out that people who lapse do have some guilt feelings and it is common experience that such people rarely blame themselves. It is unwise to accept criticisms of priests at face value. for some priest is nearly always blamed for what are often the lapsed person's own shortcomings. It IS significant that these men do admire those like Pope John and Archbishop Heenan who DO something. even though they may make mistakes. We have too many who never put a foot wrong, because they never put a foot anywhere. We need adventurous leaders

The traditional pastoral visiting is insufficient nowadays. I was reprimanded for saying so a year or so ago, but i haven't changed my opinion, One of its obvious


Sir,—A question is raised in your last issue, why miraculous cures recognized by the Church as valid never seem to include miracles which could be termed indisputable, e,g. restoration of a lost leg.

One well known instance has occurred. A young man whose leg had been amputated recovered it through the intercession of Our Lady of the Piller at Saragossa. The miracle itself occurred at Calanda and was the subject of ecclesiastical investigation.

I wrote upon the subject some years ago in the Southwark Record under the title of "Our Lady's greatest miracle". The case is celebrated in Spain and I do not hesitate to say that the historical evidence is so abundant and trustworthy as to place it beyond doubt.

L. E. Whatmore (Fr.) Hindhead.

deficiencies is that one can seldom get a given member of the family .on his own.

Perhaps the most fundamental criticism is that the men are ignorant of the Mass. I would agree that we should see the recent Liturgical decree as a call to embark on a tremendous programme of education, It works wonders when it is carried out tirelessly. methodically and with passion. But few priests have any idea how to set ahout it and they have had, 'hitherto, little encouragement.

It is the Mass that matters, not just saying Mass, but making people see that it is relevant, A priest muttering to himself in an unknown language is not relevant.

I long for the day when priests can concentrate on priestly work. At the moment they are jacks of all trades and do most of them as well as they can, but not well enough. No wonder they look harassed.

May I quote Pope John once again?: "Priestly activity is destined principally for the celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass, fur preaching for the Sacraments, for assistance to the sick. for cuteehetics for religious instruction. Everything that is, not related to these duties must be set aside or at best be only tolerated."

(Dom) Benet Innes Downside. '


*Sir,--In answer to H.F.'s query I would point out that only Anglican clergymen of the High Church persuasion like to be called Father.

Most Anglican clergymen prefer to be called Vicar (or Rector) or simply Mr. . , I feel that if the term Father were reserved exclusively for Catholic priests and all Anglican clergymen were addressed according to their title, i.e. Vicar, Rector &c. (or simply Mr. . . in the case of curates) a cause of real irritation to both Catholics and Anglicans alike would be avoided.

Incidentally I feel that if Anglican ministers were described as Anglican clergymen this would avoid wounding the . susceptibilities of "High Anglicans".

Kathleen Capsey Hadleigh.

Sir, —1-1.F. asks why we do not give the title of "Father" to ministers of the Church of England.

There are at least two good reasons. In the first place the official document appointing an incumbent to his living always refers to him as "Mr." The title "Father" seems to he quite unofficial and we should not outCanterbury Canterbury. When a parson's own superiors call him "Mr." that should be our guide.

Secondly there are many Church of England ministers who do not like being called 'Father'. The Low Church Evangelists think it smacks too much of Rome. How can we distinguish between 'High' and 'Low' unless they wear buttons with "I like Father" printed on them?

(Rev) Denis G. Murphy, Parish Priest. Burton-on-Trent.

Sits—Whatever may he the best form of addressing bishops, I do riot see any answer. despite Mr. O'Halloran, to the following argument:

Christ in his lifetime did not claim the title of "father", nor, after 2,000 years. do we think of himA. oprripersaty itso ahimsecaosnsd Christ

(alter Christus), Gareth aireforewar..d; London, N.3.


Sir,—The short answer to the letter of your correspondent a C. Stoker is that Catholics are allowed to be bridesmaids at nonCatholic weddings. Cf. Holy Office, January 14, 1874.


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