Page 3, 23rd January 1948

23rd January 1948
Page 3
Page 3, 23rd January 1948 — THE WRITER

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People: Henry Edwards


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Henry Edwards was one of

the " young Tory " men just be. fore the war. His Radical Tory (1937) showed this, though his high Toryism was wedded with a syndicalist element in The Good Patch (Cape, 1937). Born into a Quaker family, he was a practising Quaker and a pacifist. He served on Bomb Disposalg

he was baptised at Impset, Yorkshire, before his first job E. began.

eineeneeire friend of a holy Quaker elder, who, whenever he travelled to France, which was often, would go always to Mass and make several visits to little Normandy churches. I once (old him that while there was much in the Catholic Church that I admired I could not accept Papal Infallibility. To my surprise he turned to me and in a rather louder voice than was his wont told me that he was perfectly convinced of Papal Infallibility. "But then why . . . ? " " Ali, you must see the matter in this way. There is the Roman Church. You must admit her existence. Well then. The doctrine of Papal Infallibility is part and parcel of her existence. So arc all Roman Catholic doctrines. Men would have laughed her out of existence long ago if there were not substance in Roman doctrines. And the Papacy is as strong as ever. You can't dismiss Papal Infallibility without pretending the Roman Church has ceased


',But why are you then still a Q " Oh! It has nothing to do with Me. No doubt God has allowed the Roman Church a certain mission in the world and for that reason has seen that her Popes shall be infallible. It is one way of preaching the 6┬░st:tel.: 1 now that while millions of my fellow countrymen could not put their position in his words, it is roughly how they feel. If they say they deny Papal infallibility or if they debate it it is not because they really want to deny it or to debate it, They do believe that, while there may be something in it, there is some other way which avoids having to give a wop or a dap a peculiar faculty-or rather a peculiar protection-the Britisher does not possess, which he prides himself in fact on not possessing. "It is a part of freedom," he says, " to err." The Catholic answer in the words of St. Augustine: " Whet greater evil is there than for a soul to go astray," does not move him, for by evil he does not think of intellectual error as of some moral turpitude such as cruelty.

British Nationalism

The third point has less force perhaps to-day than a few decades ago. But my Protestant friends still bear traces of " the British Over All "

emotion. One of my relatives reminds me of Cardinal Manning's words about putting a heel on an Imperial race. And the British still feel that the Catholic Faith is unEnglish, certainly Irish and " woo."

tri this matter I believe it right to make concessions.

English literature is, for example, overwhelmingly Protestant in authorship and tone. And it is the greatest of literatures. The English moral code shows important Protestant emphases, and I do not mind very much. I am glad that the British on the whole are kind to animals, clean in body, respectable, fairly lawabiding, not given to rebellion and still possessed of a fund of political horse sense which foreigners Catholic foreigners have often envied.

Further, any Catholic convert from old fashioned Protestantism knows only too well what losses he has to suffer. The worlda world unknown to most Catholics of Wesley's and Watt's and Cowper's hymns, of the devout and worthy Protestant pastor and the pieties of the chapel, of the numerous occasions of grace, all the more wonderful because uncovenanted, of the morning and evening prayers in a Protestant home: these are precious and have to be given up. But a Protestant of that sort is not going to give them up easily. It is only within the last two years that I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that a fatal stop tp the conversion of many Protestants is the attempt by some Catholics to collaborate with them. I think that so long as they are not all the time

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