Page 5, 23rd November 1973

23rd November 1973
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Page 5, 23rd November 1973 — LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Arab-Israel conflict
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Arab-Israel conflict

Educational elitism

For many years now it has seemed to me a strange paradox that the Catholic Church should stand in the forefront of those who would justify either Independent or Direct Grant Grammar Schools. For, the Church is the visible sign of Christ's presence in the world presenting itself to that world as the community of Christians committed in faith and love to serve its needs, and especially the needs of its poor — the oppressed to whom Christ came (so we hear at every Mass) to give the good news that liberates.

It seems, therefore, a terribly sad irony to see the educational views of Norman St. JohnStevas being celebrated in triplicate. as it were, (Nov 9) including the Royal patronage of H.R.H. The Princess Margaret. Ironic, because one is left wondering who needs him most as their apologist, the Government or the Church; sad. because the fact that either of them would depend on such blatant symbols of inequality and elitist privilege fills a Christian with shame.

And what are the alleged advantages of the Direct Grant Grammar Schools that Norman St. John-Stevas seeks grimly to defend?

(i) "The building of bridges" — but why not rather destroy the chasm by which human hands have brought about the division in the first place!

(2) "Tangible contacts with the community as a whole" — but aren't shared involvement and commitment to be preferred to mere contacts!

(3) "Pioneer and relevant institutions for the resolutions of tensions" — but what if the institutions themselves create the tensions?

(4) "An alternative choice" (my italics) — but a 'choice' for whom? For the few, the elite? For the worthy — and what is to he the criterion of worth? Wealth perhaps, or brains, or both?

(5) "Academic excellence." (Ah! that most sacred of all sacred cows) — yes, excellent

Communion

I was very interested to read Fr. Michael Gedge's letter of November 9 on the question of sharing in "intercommunion" by Catholics with those outside their Church on the basis that a Free Church Holy Communion could he looked upon as an agape or fellowship meal

without Eucharistic significance.

1 believe his argument to be false when he accuses some authorities of seeming to indulge in double-talk about this matter. Surely it is not permissible to share in the Lord's Supper (whatever name is given to the service by the domination celebrating it) unless there is a unity of belief. orders, and corn,mitment recognised by the official bodies of those Christians taking part. Of the Free Churches, the Methodist is the one which perhaps has a nearness to the celebration of the Eucharist as Catholics understand it.

But surely everyone must recognise that the Anglican Church has a service of Holy Communion (%\ fifth some Anglicans. and I include myself, habitually call The Mass) which in its experimental form. Series Ill, closely approximates to the Roman Catholic new Ordo, and which is celebrated by many vicars with just that dignity of ceremonial and vestments which render it indistinguishable, outwardly, from a normal Mass said in any Catholic church.

I would not welcome any Catholic friend to take Communion with me at an Anglican altar believing it to be merely an agape, and it is likely that Methodists would feel the same. Joseph T. Cartwright 45a high Street.

Broom, Alcester.

Warwickshire. for whom? For Christ? And for the rest — education for failure?

Finally is raised the spectre of "acute financial problems" for the R.C. Direct Grant Schools under an alternative Government. Is this to frighten the hierarchy into placing economic expediency before what is right?

Shouldn't we act quickly to save the privileged (38,000 out of goodness-knows-how-many hundreds of thousands of Catholic children Who attend other kinds of state schools) not to mention (as he does elsewhere) the 20'.'s Catholic pupifS in Independent Schools — many of them girls (sic!) attending convent schools? The "sacred" must again he set apart from the "profane" in the world. (Oh! the Incarnation!).

May I finish with a simple plea to all Catholics to ask themselves three questions with their hearts open wide to the Spirit of Christ, God's Suffering Servant.

(1) What sort of school would the carpenter's son and his fishermen friends have attended today'?

(2) Was it really envy that moved Lazarus to stretch out his hand towards the rich man's crumbs?

(3) Have the majority really got a duty to continue to grant the minority its privileges?

Graham Ryan

Mgr. Bruce Kent is entitled to express in your columns (November 9) his approval of

Police

As a retired senior'," police officer who spent his early years as a constable and inspector in the Metropolitan Police and the remaining 30 years in the provinces — much of them in charge of C.I.D. — I am astonished at your sweeping attack on the police in your leader of November 16. ,

Where in his lecture does Sir Robert Mark "use a handful of naughty solicitors as a smokescreen for the corruption on his own doorstep"? Surely the number or Metropolitan officers convicted or dismissed, his drastic reforms of C.I.D. control, a special department to investigate and pursue ruthlessly all complaints against police, give the lie to that? '

"Police corruptioa on comparatively minor scales is almost part of the texture of living"! What sort of lawyers and social workers dare make such a wild accusation? Recent disclosures have shown astonishing and disturbing aspects of widespread graft. and corruption in the community.

It is not surprising in the prevailing climate that a small minority, mainly confined to London and the major provincial cities, get drawn into the net. But this is a far cry from univ e rsal police graft. The "grubby detective sergeant" you mention could only "bend" the number of charges with the active connivance of senior officers. I deny this.

Although I am retired I am in active touch with senior and other officers in the Metropolitan and provincial police forces and I know that the overwhelming proportion of police officers arc doing a fine, straight job of work under great difficulties — not made easy by people who ought to know better taking every opportunity to destroy public confidence in the police by building up admitted isolated cases of graft, corruption and the like into widespread venality.

Sir Robert Mark has shown great courage in drawing attention, inter alio, to the dilficulties police have in criminal trials in getting at the truth. For the life of inc I cannot understand why, instead of having your support, there is this attack on the police in general and Sir Robert in particular.

W. J. Kelly 26 Hollycrift, Hinckley, Leicestershire.

the "all-in" comprehensive school and his disapproval of the independent school, which he does with obvious sincerity.

His efforts to further his views, however, on to the 1971 Synod of Rome must not be allowed to pass without protest. Has he a shred of evidence to suggest that the Synod's strictures were intended for that unique institution, the British Catholic public school, or that they are applicable in any special way to this type of school? Quod gratis asseritor, gratis negatur.

He is even wrong about the National Foundation for Educational Research. The report to which he alludes is already discredited. As The Times Higher Education Supplement put it in a recent leading article: "The report is not without flaws (It) is looking at groups in office, now middle-aged, and so at education 20 years ago . . . (It) examines jobs no longer so widely prestigious." As Norman St. John-Stevas pointed but in the BBC Sunday Debate, it is both superficial and dangerous to equate any particular socio-political doctrine of equality with the subtle and profound teaching of the Gospel on the infinite worth of every individual member of a redeemed roll, which far transcends differences in social status and economic power.

J. L. Norden 66 Southampton Row, London. W.C.1.

Renewal

In reply to Fr. Leslie Rumble (November 16), as two of the delegates present at the charismatic international leaders' conference held at Grottaferrata, we wish to narrate what actually occurred in connection with the Papal A udience.

More than 120 delegates were present at the weekly General Audience. Later on, and in another place, some I I representatives had a long private audience with Pope Paul. He spoke to each of these in turn. and then finallv he read in French, from a written text,. which appeared in L'Osservatore Romano the next day (October 1 I).

All agreed that the attitude of the Holy Father was throughout both fatherly and encouraging. From all the circumstances of the occasion, it was obvious that his comments were directed to what is often termed the "charismatic renewal."

All of us were deeply grateful to hear the Pope's paternal solicitude to guard the renewal from harm. We welcomed his insistence on the need for discernment, for this is very much the trend of our own thinking.

Likewise. we fully concurred with his reminder that it was the bishops who finally must do the discerning and that it was they who exercise active pastoral responsibility in guarding the Faith in their own dioceses. Finally, we were deeply moved by Pope Paul s own summing-up — printed in L'Osservatore Romano — of what is for us the essence of the renewal in the Holy Spirit: "The taste for deeper prayer, both personal and communal; a return to contemplation and an emphasis set on the praise of God; the desire to give oneself totally over to Christ; a great availability of oneself to the calling of the Holy Spirit; more frequent turning to Holy Scripture; a commitment to the service of others; the desire to help in the services of the Church. In all this we can see the mysterious and discreet work of the Holy Spirit, who is the soul of the Church."

(Fr.) Brian Murphy, S.J. Can

Australia, Tim Turner "Fatima," 58 Princes Road, Wimbledon, London, S.W.19. I have no desire to indulge in interminable wrangle over the Arab-Israeli conflict, yet I would crave your indulgence to allow me to answer one or two assertions made by Bro. Mario Sanderson in his letter of November 16.

If Bro. Sanderson has knowledge of Arab designs on Israel's existence he should state his source and not resort to vague generalisations such as "leading Arab circles." However, I can refer him to statements made by various Israeli generals regarding their intentions of extending Israel's borders at the expense of the Arabs: Dayan (The Times, June 25, 1969); Rabin (Ha'aretz, July 20, 1973); Sharon (Yediot Aharanat, July 26, 1973.)

On his reasoning the Allies on D-Day were aggressors since Egypt and Syria fought on their own territory. I would also remind him that Israel has three times already extended her frontiers — in 1948, 1949 and 1967.

I am also criticised for my use of South Africa and the Vatican in my argument (November 9). The parallel with South Africa is valid since Israel is also a racialist state. The former takes the homes of non-whites and gives them to whites; the latter takes the homes of Arabs (sometimes their country) and gives them to Jews. Both Blacks and Arabs are paid less than others for their work. There are other similarities which any seeker after nut]] can ascertain.

With regard to the Vatican, Bro. Sanderson is on equally shaky ground. To refer to its atilt ude towards Israel as prompted by "sheer diplomacy" is to denigrate the pastoral role of the Holy See. Pope Paul's attitude was made crystal clear by Mgr. Alfredo Bruniera, Papal Nuncio to the Lebanon in an interview with the Daily Star of Beirut (January 30, 1973).

When asked about the Vatican's recognition of Israel he replied that the "Pope's attitude had not changed" and that it depended on the settlement of the Palestinian refugee problem. The Vatican view was also expressed by Pope Paul in December, 1967, and in March, 1971 he said that it was his right and duty to protect the Holy Places, the permanence of Christians in the country and the status of Jerusalem.

A few days later L'Osservatore Romano called on the United Nations and the Great Powers "to impose respect for the religious minorities which today feel their existence threatened by a policy which seems aimed at their slow suffocation."

Professor Frederic° Allessandrini, editor of the weekly L'Osservatore della Domenico reiterated the demands of the daily in his leading article and later at a press conference pressed home the point on the authority' of the Pope.

Perhaps the Pope has seen pictures of desecrated Christian churches and cemeteries in Jerusalem and of the painting of the Madonna papered over with the image of a scantily dressed girl, still bearing the inscription Mater Christi in the church at Ain Karim, reputed birthplace of John the Baptist. I think Bro. Sanderson should do a little homework on the Middle East.

George Richardson 72 Dorking Walk, Corby, Northamptonshire.

Bro. Mario Sanderson (November 16) seems to be ignoring what the CommissionerGeneral of U.N.R.W.A. said of the Arab governments tttat received the refugees who fled from the Israelis: "Their record in promoting the rehabilitation of the refugees as individuals through education. training andemployment has been notably humane and helpful.

"They have extended this aid to the refugees in spite of the grave difficulties which already confronted them in providing a livelihood for their own rapidlyexpanding populations." (U.N. Document A/67 13, para. 51) John Adkins Otford, Kent.

A look at history is often a valuable exercise. I he first Jew, Abraham, emigrated from Iraq to Israel (Palestine) about 2000 BC. He farmed there and bought land. On account of a famine his descendants, Jacob and family, were obliged to leave and seek refuge in Egypt.

After a period of prosperity. brought about by Joseph, the Jews were enslaved for some hundreds of years, being finally liberated by Moses, with God's help. About 1300 BC, under Joshua, the land of Israel was conquered from the Canaanites, the Jebusites, etc., who no longer exist.

Jews have lived there ever since, although the country has been occupied by Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, Turks (from 1517-1917). It is true that the Romans removed millions of Jews by slavery and dispersion, but Israel has been the paternal home of the Jewish people for 3,300 years and Jerusalem its capital city since 1000 BC. The Arabs (who according to the Bible are also descended from Abraham through his son Ishmael) embarked on a grand tour of conquest, starting from Arabia, which is their national home in the 7th century Al.) and spread across all North Africa and into Spain. They are now, by virtue of conquest, at home in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and four sovereign states in Arabia — 16 homes in all, covering a vast territory, 100 million people and the tremendous deposits of oil, which makes them the richest people on earth.

The sufferings, massacres (six million by Hitler) of the Jews are sufficiently well known to all the peoples of this planet. The last conquerors of Israel (Palestine) were the British, who handed over the country to the League of Nations, whose 6uccessors, the United Nations, handed part of it back to the Jews. If the Arabs had been magnanimous people and had welcomed, back their halfbiothers to the poorest part 01 their vast territories, Israel would now be much smaller, but they fought their brethren four times and in spite of a vast superiority in numbers and equipment .(from the atheistic Russians) they lost.

The fact is, they are on trial before God and humanity. They seem to forget that they are in Israel by virtue of conquest and yet they invoke a new morality (Article 242 of the U.N.) that no territory may be retained by conquest.

I am in favour of the establishment of an Arab State of Palestine, and a fund contributed by world Jewry (now 14 millions) to compensate Arab refugees provided that the Jewish refugees front Arab countries are brought into the equation. The Jews are numerically greater than the Dutch, Norwegians, Swedes. Swiss, Finns, Irish and 24 other peoples in the U.N., all of whom have their own national territories, which are ample and — save for the Irish — not disputed.

L. J. Hardy 35 The Dales,

Cottingham, Yorkshire.




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