fatal blow to priests' group
ON reading Mr. Kevin Mayhew's article -Time to end this lobbying" in your issue of March 15. in which he tries to give the fatal blow to the Priests' Association founded to counteract false doctrines in the Church today. I did not know whether I was a victim of ocular illusions or a victim of mis understand ing. understand ing. Mr. Mayhew's article has so many errors that I can only deal with a few. yet it is on the strength of those errors that the reading public will be "lead up a garden path" to use the common expression.
Your issue of March 8 declared that the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton had given a "Rebuff" to the association. On the following day (March 9) the Bishop wrote me the following: "It was not my intention to issue a rebuff and I am rather surprised that so much attention was given to my statement." Mr. Mayhew then accuses me of turning a criticism into a "qualified approval. without giving the reading public any proof whatever other than "ipse dixit." Mr. Mayhew then designates certain priests of the country who lament the formation of the association, including Ir. Kevin O'Brien. -1 he veritable fan mail of application forms tor entering the association which every post brings me, and the scores of accompanying letters declaring that "the formation of this association is long overdue," makes nonsense of the allegation that there was no reason for its existence. Mr. Mayhew then quotes a number of lay people who see no reason for the association. I can quote him a hundred who hold the opposite view and even some who have left the Church in disgust at what is in progress. Finally we have the old trojan horse trotted out—the "freedom that the Vatican Council has declared." What freedom? The f ruction\ to deny revealed truth? The freedom to put one's own private judgment On the same standing as the ordinary magisterium of the Church? Let us have the words of the Pope again which he uttered to the clergy of Rome at the start of this Lent. "Priests must not be influenced by theories and examples that differ from the normal and authoritative judgment of the Church." Mr. Mayhew must make up his mind whether he accepts the Pope as the head of the Church or not; whether he is the supreme pastor and teacher of the one true Church, or whether there are others as well. Unless Mr. Mayhew makes up his mind on those vital questions. argument with him will be of little purpose.
(Rey.) John W. Flanagan Polegate, Sussex.
Kevin Mayhew writes: I would not presume to try to give the "fatal blow"' to the new Priests' Association. As Fr. Flanagan well knows. the country's senior bishops have refused their approval for it. Bishop Cashman. I understand. was pleased with the coverage the CiVI HOU(' 1-117.11AID gave his statement. Fr. Flanagan asks for proof that he turned a criticism into a qualified approval. In a letter to the Editor he referred to a priest quoted in our news report as saying of his Association that there was a "need for it but it will cause factions," In fact the priest said: "When I received the circular I was deeply saddened that priests should he so short sighted. The only thing such an association can do is cause factions." Fr. Flanagan has already spoken of "large numbers" and now "a veritable fan mail of application forms" from priests wishing to join his association. He has not given any figures. When he does these must be weighed against this country's 7.721 priests. Yes. I do accept the Pope as head of the Church. That is exactly why 1 trust the Holy Father and the bishops to guide the Church at the present time.
IT is surprising to the layman that Bishop Cashman of Arundel and Brighton can "see no reason" for the association of priests which has come into being to combat ncomodernism at parochial level. Many laymen are. I am sure, fully aware of the need and utterly thankful for this splendid initiative--even to the extent, perhaps. of wishing to form a parallel lay body. not in conjunction with the priests but supported by their sympathy and guidance and for the same object. 1 beg the courtesy of your columns to invite interested lay people to write to nte.
W. Hewett (Major) I Iplands. Dallington.