Page 6, 21st May 1937

21st May 1937
Page 6
Page 6, 21st May 1937 — "ACCEPTED CHURCH OF THIS LAND"

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Locations: Birmingham, Rome


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Dr. Orchard's Article

Sus.—Dr. W. F. Orchard's interesting article has provoked a question in the mind of at least one Anglican reader—what is

meant by " . conversion of England . . . with, of course, the restoration of the accepted Church of this land to full con version with Rome "?

Presumably by " accepted Church of this land " is not meant the English community in union with the Holy See and presided over by the Archbishop of Westminster; but can it mean the " Church of England "? So far as I have been able to discover, the general opinion of (Roman) Catholics—at least the majority of those domiciled in England—regarding the Church of England is that, lacking objective spiritual status (as is maintained) this body, qua "Church" is devoid of a nature rendering it capable of restoration!

If, however, the Church of England is meant, is it intended, not in the sense of a spiritual body, but simply " as a going concern, an instrument to perform certain functions in society "; so much, in fact, as has to do with buildings, property and the like? (vide Bernard Lord Manning's "The Making of Modern English Religion," which I venture to think English Christians of all denominations could read with profit).

I hope, Sir, your co-religionists will come to a more spiritual appreciation of the Church of England than this — that they may come, indeed, to appreciate the many distinctive graces and excellencies of the whole Anglican Communion; whilst I hope for my own fellow-churchmen that they may more and more imbibe the Catholic spirit and temper, thereby also eradicating their engrained anti-Roman prejudices.


[Ur. Orchard's second artiele on this subject will be found on page 5.)


Sue—The correspondents who defend Mr. O'Faolein's use of Tone's MSS. miss the point. It is not formal historical material that Mr. O'Faolain has brought to light, but private papers. Tone wrote explicitly for his family and his son edited the autobiography and journals for publication. Now, Tone trusted those who understood him, and his son, in that spirit, suppressed some passages, particularly one which, on the face of it, suggests that the Protestant champion of Catholic emancipation was a profligate. Mr. O'Faolain, in his own notes, indicates that he takes this meaning from the passage and makes the astonishing suggestion that it was suppressed merely because Tone's widow was Jiving. Does he undeistand men's minds and feelings at all?

When I wrote my own Life of Tone, I faced these difficulties. I decided that the evidence for Tone's high character far outweighed that which is found only in his own writings to the contrary, and that the ambiguous passages must be interpreted, sometimes as excessive self-condemnation, and sometimes, as in the present case, as ironical humour, in the spirit of the comic novel which Tone once wrote. If I thought the evidence on the other side too strong. I would despise Tone instead of revering him.

When private papers are suppressed by their authorised possessor lest a false and derogatory notion of their writer should be propagated, I hold that it is muck-raking to make them public, and contrary to all the canons of honour, charity and truth. What reputation will stand if casual notes and private letters of any man are published without the key to them?

Several generations of Irishmen have chosen honourably to abide by the decision of Tone's son as to the public use of private documents. It is left to the Hollywood generation to cast Irish chivalry to the winds.

As to Professor Hogan's charges against Tone as an enemy of Catholicism, the answer is given in my book, and is too long and difficult a matter of interpretation t, decide more briefly. On the one hand we have Tone's immense services to the Catholic cause and his oft-expressed devotion to

his mother's people, the Catholics. On the other we have many expressions in his writings typical of those prejudices against which a Protestant has to fight, often to the last moment before conversion. We find hitt going again and again to Mass, drawn to it by the fascination that many a convert has experienced, though, as if in mental struggle, he records his unfavourable impression of ritual in some poor County Down church: this is typical of convert psychology. I am convinced that the secret of Tone's mind is an advance, step by step, towards that happy consummation which, in the mysteries of Providence, he did not find : I mean, submission to the Catholic Church.

However, it is vain to argue this against the modern preference for scandal.




SM.—Your correspondent's statement that Guernica was " destroyed by fire" merely confirms the accounts in the English Press. which from the beginning have described the bombing as having been done with incendiary bombs.

F. H. DRINKWATER. Holy Family Presbytery, Birmingham.

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