Page 2, 22nd December 1949

22nd December 1949
Page 2
Page 2, 22nd December 1949 — CATHOLICISM TODAY

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Locations: Cairo, London, Winchester, Oxford


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SIR,-1 was most interested to see the letter of P. I. Power in a recent issue — more particularly as I have spent the last year in investigating the modern methods of Church action, of which he speaks, both in France and Belgium—and it has always seemed to me such a great pity that more is not known of these methods at home.

Over here, one gets the impression of a great and virile forward movement—of d return to the methods of the primitive Church in which all formation and safety-first complexes have been abandoned; and above all of a truly fraternal atmosphere of Christian charity and co-operation between clergy and laity—and between Catholics and their fellowmen in general.

It would appear that the secret lies in the ideal of getting down to

reality and to the pure spirit of the gospel and also in the great encouragement given to lay action by all ranks of the clergy—France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Italy are now full of groups, both lay and clerical, large and small, work; jog on these lines—and it is a most heartening thing to live amongst them for a while.

Of course it must be remembered that conditions at home are often very different from those of continental countries—the standard of life being higher—still, it would seem that if a breath of this particular wind could blow across the Channel it would certainly be invigorating and would no doubt wake us up!


95, Rue des Flamands, Louvain.

Sia,—Dom Bede Winslow's letter is to be welcomed as drawing attention to the co-operative study already being carried out by the Benedictines and others of Oecumenical outlook, not only in this country but on the Continent. Apart from reference to the Malines conversations, much of the correspondence arising from the Times article strikes one as peculiarly insular in character and I may thus perhaps be allowed to reinforce Dom 13ede's remarks by reference to the joint meetings to study religion and world order started in Cairo in 1939 and attended by Catholics, both Latin and of the Eastern Rites, Anglicans and Nonconformists, and also Orthodox with the benevolent interest of certain Moslems and Jews.

That co-operation between Christians of goodwill is possible is being proved by repeated news from the Egyptian capital and it seems particularly relevant to note that only a few weeks ago the newlyarrived internuncio (Mgr. Levamd) declared that the union of all Christians in charity was his premier objective ! This remark quoted by Le Rayon D'Egypte occurred when his Excellency was receiving a visit of welcome and goodwill from the Vicar-General of the historic Copt Orthodox patriarchate. A similar visit was also paid to the internuncio by Bishop Bell, representing the Anglican community and whose episcopal care extends, I believe, even beyond the wide areas of Egypt

and the Sudan. The Cairo Press alludes specifically to the cordial nature of the conversation between Mgr. Levam6 and the Bishop on matters of common Christian interest.

In conclusion may I add that the significance of co-operation in another form—that is as between the Cathblic Church and Islam and to which Colonel Butler alluded so strikingly in your paper. now receives an added impetus as the Grand Sheik of the great Muslim University of Al Azhar *was also amongst those leaving a message of welcome for Mgr. Levame on the latter's arrival in Cairo.

J. W. R-F.

Jock's Lodge, Dunborough, By Beccles, Suffolk.

Sitt.—I should like to say how warmly I agree with you on the importance of understanding that the Holy Office leaves us free to join with those outside our Communion if they wish to say with us outside our churches Our Father.

Some of your readers will have noticed that in the Times, I raised to a plaintive letter from the Bishop of Winchester I raised this point suggesting it should be referred to the Holy Office. But when I inquired how that could be done, I received the authoritative answer that the Holy Office had made no rulings on the subject and would be unlikely to do so.

The voice of the Pope is that of the visible head of the body of Christ. If we took over his utterances, as the Apostolic Delegate invited me to do, one cannot but note how generous and solicitous they are. How can we do better, as loyal Catholics, than act in the tone of these utterances, and accept the guidance of the same Spirit? It is worth remembering that the last Pope singled out the Benedictine Order, whose motto is peace, as peculiarly adapted to the work of reconciliation, forming from it the

.. monks of unity." Here in England this ideal is especially cherished in the three Abbeys of the Cassinese congregation, at Ramsgate, Prinknash and Farnborough, where one finds the atmosphere not of controversy. still less of compromise, but of contemplation.

Information reaching me from many quarters shows that when among the correspondents in the Times, the Rev. Hugh Ross Williamson paid a tribute to the supernatural grandeur of the Papacy, he spoke for many. many Anglicans.

As I have made a special study of Newman in this connection, may I recall his prayer addressed to his friend Pusey: " May the sacred influences of this time bring us all together in unity ! May it destroy all bitterness on your side and ours! May it quench all jealous, sour, proud. fierce antagonism on our side; and dissipate all captious, carping, fastidious refinements of reasoning on yours!"

ROISERT SENCOURT. 22 Beaumont Street, Oxford.

Sie,—May I remark that the significance of the Times article lies, perhaps, less in the article itself than in the prominence given to it in the Times. The implication is that the growth of the Catholic Church in this country is recognised.

With that growth, however, increased influence must also come, and that influence must be used with responsibility and restraint. One of our responsibilities will be that relating to the Reformation Settlement. If Catholics take one party in the Anglican Church as representing that Church as a whole, and enter into conferences with it on that basis, the consequences may he serious.

The success of any conference of which the aim was a form of • reunion " and the result of w Stich, therefore, would be the virtual incorporation of a vast number of Anglicans into a religious system whose discipline they would not recognise and whose faith they could not hold, might well distupt the Anglican Church.

I believe that nothing is more likely to cause prejudice against us than a course of action, however innocently meant, which would give the impression to a great number of English people that we were assisting in the disintegration of the Established Church which so many regard as part of their national patrimony.


29 Roxburgh Road, West Nor wood, London, S.E.27.

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