SIR,-In discussing the elusive " difference " of the Celtic Church, whose orthodoxy I was trying to defend, Mr. Geoffrey Ashe contrives to give the impression that it was in fact a nest of heresies, rather than my contemptuous '' dates and haircults.a'
m not unaware that there were differences and I tried to
account for them. 1 think Mr. Ashe's letter exaggerates, them. As for mine, it did not assert there was no other difference beyond the tonsure and the date of Easter, but that had there been more (undamental issues they would have
been raised at Whitby. So they
would, So would Bede have raised them in his long dissertations on
the Celtic Church, which he was in a position to know. So would Augustine when he met the British
bishops. whereas he found nothing worth contesting beyond those two issues and, in addition. a variation in the rite of baptism.
The list of heretical tendencies looks impressive until one realises
that both Pelagius and John Scotus owed little but their origins to
these islands. Their heresies were perpetrated nowhere less than at
Rome and Paris. Pelagianism survived a while in Britain. not. how
ever, tolerated by complacent bishops, but in Italy and Gaul no less. For the widespread Celtic
Church to get away with only two heresiarchs, and those in exile in over half a millenium, is a good record in my opinion. Catholics have nothing to fear from the record of either British, Irish. or Scottish churches.
Stanley G. Luff.
I Grange Road, Ramsgate. Kent.
Where does your correspondent. Mr. Geoffrey Ashc. get his authority for describing Erigena as Scottish ? All the authorities are agreed that he was Irish-his name Erigena meaning " of the people of Erin." To go back to his own age: Prudentitis of Troyes. who was a friend of his early clay.s and who surely was in a position to know, stiles that Erigena was an Irishman " te Tolam aeutissinum Your correspondent must surely know that Scotia was one of the early names for Ireland and that in the ninth century and throughout the early Middle Ages Irishmen. both in England and on the continent. were known as " Scots' Galliae transmisit Hibernia.' Furthermore his knowledge of Greek, which alone would have made him unique amongst his contemporaries, could have been acquired In that age. only in an Irish monastery.