Relations With Other Churches
SIR,—May I be allowed to add a consideration to the discussion upon the Conversion of England which has hitherto been overlooked?
Some of your correspondents pre
suppose that the majority of our nonCatholic fellow countrymen are actively engaged in hunting for the true Church or at least in spasmodic hankering after such a Body, that we have only to make our churches Englishlooking enough, our services liturgic or alternatively hymnodic enough, and our brethren will rush to them crying "Eureka!" Such is not the case. The nature of Anglicanism and its subsequent divisions have produced a state of affairs in which the religion of this or that parish church is not the religion of the Bishop of the Diocese in which it is incorporated, nor in a great many cases is the religion of the parishioners the religion of the incumbent. Nowadays not even the parish church is the religious unit; c'esi mot" is the unspoken conviction of the individual. The Idea of a Church which is one and indivisible in faith and discipline is one which has no reality, and still worse not even desirability. I take the liberty to quote an instance from my personal experience. X, a young man, a devout Anglo-Catholic, moves from his home town in search of a job. Not finding the Anglican church in his new sphere at all to his taste, he puts himself under instruction and is received into the Church. All goes well until he returns to his home where in the most natural manner possible, and in perfect good faith, he finds his spiritual home once again at the Anglican parish church which is of the Anglo-Catholic type. I mention this because it is an indication of mind quite common among Anglicans. Many would answer that X's early training and allegiance proved too much for him, or that his instruction was inadequate. I am convinced that neither of these Is the true answer, but rather that X never conceived the idea of all that we mean by " the Church " and consequently never felt the necessity of becoming, or of remaining, a member of the Body of Christ. In his and in the minds of a great number of our countrymen " the Churches " are a kind of religious multiple stores bearing the slogan, "If you don't see what you want in this window, try nexts door." The remedy might be found in a practical intensification amongst ourselves of the unity of charity, which we alone possess as members of the one Body of Christ. There is in reality, and there should be in practice, a unity between two Catholics, be one an Englishman and the other a Chinaman, which does not exist between a Catholic and a nonCatholic Englishman, though national pride often obscures the fact. But it is only by this that " all men shall know that you are My disciples," and if it is obscured from their sight how can men be blamed for failing to recognise or to desire the true Church? Such a revival of the spirit of unity amongst ourselves would naturally develop in the corporate life of the parish by means of which social distinctions would cease to mean social barriers and our consciences would become extremely sensitive to any word or act which would break the bond of charity. It is only unity in action which can be seen and appreciated by our nonCatholic countrymen and can make the idea of the Church, once formed in their minds, a desirable reality to them, The words of the Martyr-Bishop, St. Ignatius, are pertinent " therefore in your concord and harmonious charity Jesus Christ is sung and every single person among you makes up the chorus," and, it may be added, sings a siren's song to many a wandering Odysseus. G. A. Teener son (Rev.) The Oratory School, Caversham Park, Reading.
An Anglican Archdeacon
SIR,—As the one who, perhaps, was the means of starting the correspondence on the Conversion of England by offering a few suggestions as to the methods we employ for gaining converts, may I be permitted to add how thoroughly I endorse the statements of some of your correspondents as to the vital need of establishing contact with our nonCatholic brethren? No one knows better than the convert of the enormous amount of prejudice which exists on both sides, due to a large extent to ignorance and so leading to that spirit of exclusiveness which prevents seeing what is good in one another'a positions. In this connection, am reminded to two cases in particular which show how much can be done to overcome this spirit. A very dear friend of mine, an Anglican Archdeacon, was visiting a theatre one day in his capacity as Chaplain to the Actors' Church Union, when he was approached by two little chorus girls. " Please, Father, will you hoar our confessions?" " Well, ray dears," he replied, " I cannot hear them myself, but I will take you to a very nice priest who will," and he then and there put them in his car and drove them to his friend, a neighbouring Catholic priest, saw them into the confessional and drove them back to the theatre In time for the evening performance. The following Sunday the priest spoke in glowing terms from the pulpit about what his " little Anglican friend round the corner, Archdeacon
" had done.
The other case is one which my friend Mr Clancy told me of in connection with his work for discharged prisoners. viz., that of a Unitarian minister who, when dealing with Catholic ex-prisoners, would make a point of taking them himself to the neighbouring Catholic church for them to make their confessions. It is by such methods as these that I am convinced an enormous amount of prejudice can be overcome, but it must not be on one side only. And if I may be allowed to add a personal note from my own experience, which I offer in all humility, after 12 years as an Anglican clergyman and now in my 30th year as a Catholic, I can honestly say that even though forty or more followed me into the Church from the various places where I have worked (rather a bitter pill, was it not, for some to swallow?) I have never lost one friend in consequence. On the contrary, most of my closest friends are still Anglicans and Nonconformists. But we just respect each other's convictions, seeing the good even in those things wherein we differ but held together by the spirit of Christian charity and courtesy. A. R. BURGER BAYLEY. 75, Mount Pleasant,
The Phrase " False Religion "
SiR,--WIII you think it a great impertinence if I plead that the use of the term "false religion " for non-Catholic forms of Christianity should be given up? It causes great resentment, as Protestants can and do say : What is false about a belief in God and Christ? And, these An moreover, the fundamental truths actually more re important than the very important truth others reject Really they could be called " incomplete or imperfect " religions—" false '' is a great barrier in the way of that better understanding we all are anxious for and which alone will counter the grave threat of atheism, which is, after all, the "false" creed.
E. I. WATKTN.
Pinecroft, Barton Road, Torquay.
Sire—I would suggest that the Conversion of England can only take place when there is less hardness of heart shown to the great body of AngloCatholics, who have endeavoured many times to bridge the breach between the Anglican and Roman Communion. One remembers with gratitude the work of Lord Halifax with the Cardinal of Hennes. What if anything has been done to engender that self-sacrifice?
Sin,—Ithink every Catholic church in England, where possible, should have an outside pulpit as well as an Inside one, and that it should be regularly used on Sunday evenings, after Benediction within, for the preaching of sermons (not Evidence Guild lectures). Ordinary nonCatholics are marvellously attracted and moved when a priest is preaching. If this was done all over, we should soon see a change in the country. The Catholic Evidence Guild should be extended to include other types of work. indoor m Regular indoeetings during the in
winter months all the principal towns should be held in public halls. The expenses could be defrayed (as has been done in Newcastle) by putting a price
on reserved seats and having the others free. There shouldbe universal and wholehearted support for charity. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, that devoted and re rather despised congregation, should be exalted into a great and self evident charity, obvious to all non-Catholics, to whom appeals should be made as a form of advertisement that the Church is doing something for the under-dog if nothing else. Finally, as Fr. McNabb once said. we are all instructed in the ancient heresies which have been dead for centuries, but what affect to believe. When ignorant of hat our fellow
countrymen believe, lieve. When we repair this ignorance we will know exactly what we have to work upon.
3, Elmwood Street, Sunderland.
Example of British Saints
Sin,—Many converts (myself among from them) hope to get away fm that narrow, insular, national form of on religi, so prevalent and so disastrous, when they join that Church which knows no boundaries of race, time, or space. What matter whether our priests and people are English, Irish or Continental? That thought never troubled our glorious English martyrs. A friend of mine, deeply religious, hard working, of Nonconformist origin, has been trying for several years to understand the Catholic point of view. reading our literature, listening to Catholic broadcast sermons, closely watching Catholics, and occasionally attending our services. After one of these attendances, with deep emotion and straight from the shoulder he said to me, "lf you Catholics believe ail I have heard and seen to-night you are a wonderful people; furthermore, if you would only live up to these ideals you could convert the world—nothing could stop you." By realising and living our Faith through and through, defending the sanctity of marriage and home-life, seeing that the children have a real Catholic education (not mere parrot-like Catechism repetition)—these are the means which would bring the Conversion of England immeasurably nearer. We need the burning zeal of a Blessed Edmund Campion, the unwavering devotion of a Margaret Clitheroe, the ideals and nobility of a Thomas More, and the sanctity of a John Fisher—then would England see what is meant by the one, Holy, Catholic Church.
14, North Parade, Lincoln.
The Apostolic Union
hope that many of your readers have studied Mr Barber's letter in the issue of February 2 for he gives a very true and popular sketch of the great Cleavage—that is, between the development of our national life and our true Catholic heritage since the sixteenth century. This is, in fact, the staple of much that Mr Christopher Dawson works out so admirably in his book. Progress and Religion. our Here is o mental preparation for tackling all that the Conversion of England to the Faith really means today; as regards our practical work personally I think it is going forward. It mention here be almost impertinent to ention work here the wo of Mgr. Filmer or the n to all keen C.E.G.—these are know Catholics; but more can still be made out of the Apostolic Union as organised in parishes under the approval of our Hierarchy. This organisation is making missionaries, in a quiet way, of hundreds of people totally unknown, but a secret without which no spiritual " leaven " wit forward and movement can be carried
outward—the leaven working in the lump, in accordance with Our Lord's teaching.
C. G. MORTIMER. Poplars, Remenham Park,
Wraysbury, nr. Staines.
SIR,--Some time ago I advocated in a certain quarter, among other suggestions, a thorough examination into the " leakage," but as an adjunct of the wider problem of the " Conversion of England." The war came, and the suggestion was shelved. It would probably be fruitless to press the matter again, as it seems that the " black-out," even more than the war, paralyses people's desires as well as impedes (heir footsteps; though even when the light lengthens the war will sure to be quoted as a reason for postponements. It is a wrong view and a weak way, which worked lamentably after the last war, for the same talk and attitude obtained during that war. " Wait until after the war." The expression should be banned, It proffers a justification for laziness and feat'. The cry should be—" Begin during the war." I straightway make a proposal that the Catholic Church in England should work might and main from this moment onwards to place the "Family wage" on the Statute Book of this country. Here are a few figures for those who think of justice and charity first of all in terms of money. We all know the cost of the war day by day; and now— an allowance of 5s. a week for every child under 15 years of age would mean f116,000,000 a year; for the third and all dependent children 124,000.000 a year; for the fourth and all dependent children f6,000,000 a year—the last is less than the cost of .the war for one day, but simple division is still taught in the schools. Now let the money-juggler called the business man laugh the " Family wage " to scorn and then tear it to pieces, as he behaved towards old age pensions, unemployment insurance and a whole host of other fancies which dreamed of justice and charity, and hypnotise us all into the humiliation of fanatical demagogues. But the parable of the labourers in the vineyard gives a guide to the business man who is also a Christian.