HAIR-SPLITTING BY OUR REFORMERS
I FEEL that I must answer -1Mr. St. John-Stevas' remarks of March 7 in reply to Abbot Thatcher's letter. It was a pity that he could not forbear uttering his opening snide remarks although he realises that were he a better person he would not have done so.
It seems to me that this is the key to the actions of the reformers. They want to do something and so they do it and look for excuses afterwards. Why all the hair-splitting over what is revealed. religion? Is the Pope the Supreme Head of the Church or not?
We ordinary Catholics—and I believe there are still a great many of us left—who believe in the pre-reformers' teaching of the Church pray that humility of spirit will be granted to the reformers. The Pope has and always has had complete authority and obedience in the teaching ministry of the Church. He is not nor ever has been bound by a majority vote of the bishops or any other group.
In A.D. 96 Pope Clement wrote to the Corinthians: "If you obey what we have written by the Holy Spirit you will be our joy and consolation. But if some do not obey what God has said by us, let them know that they will be involved in no small sin and danger."
Pope Julius I wrote to the Eusebian bishops: "The eccle siastical canon forbids any decrees to he sanctioned without the judgment of the Roman Bishop."
St. Anselm of Canterbury wrote in the I 1 th century: "It is certain that he who does not obey the Roman Pontiff is disobedient to the Apostle Peter, nor is he of that flock given to Peter by God."
In A.D. 1170 St. Thomas of Canterbury wrote: "Who doubts that the Roman Church is the head of all churches and the source of doctrine?"
In the face of this and more, can any Catholic doubt the authority of the Pope? Perhaps theology is changing. The reformers are doing their best to change it, but let them remember that until the changes receive Papal consent we are all hound by the old teachings which we were brought up to and which no one quibbled over whether they were revealed religion or not. We accepted them in obedience.
This is the nub of the matter. The permissive society of today no longer believes in obedience—it wishes to go its own way and casts about for any excuse which will allow it to do so. Do not let us complicate our religion. Let us live in obedience to the voice of Paul VI, the Vicar of Christ on earth, and we will not go wrong.
J. W. Ennis (Major) Broadstairs. Kent.