From the Revd John H Fitzsimmons
Sir, I take it I am entitled to the "right to reply" now that it has been "open season" on me in your letters page. I make one simple point: no amount of personal abuse, ridicule or insults adds up to an argument. All of your correspondents have this in common: not one of them has made the slightest effort to engage seriously with the points raised in my own letters.
One would have us admire the "wit" of his spouse; I am sure he lives in a happy little home, full of merry jests and the occasional jolly jape; whether the lady knows anything about liturgy or liturgical translations, alas we are not told. They live in an area between two of the best racecourses these islands have to offer, and I wish them well.
Another, from close to my native heath, would have me join forces with the "magnificent cardinal of Glasgow" in his campaign to retain Section 28; what that has to do with ICEL I really do not know. As for "magnificent" ... Lorenzo de Medici at the height of his powers, maybe, but the cardinal of Glasgow — I think not. He is perfectly capable of mismanaging his own affairs without any help from me.
Incidentally, I cheerfully admit to doing my bit — and more during the papal visit of 1982. had hoped, however, that a mature papacy would have moved on from that stage; most of the places the Pope visits nowadays have already been visited, with the exception of some very dubious "biblical" sites in the Middle East.
I stand accused of making Vatican II my own possession; while on the one hand I was there, the only thing I have done is identify episcopal collegiality as one of the key ideas and lament the serious erosion of that idea over the past 20 years.
Then there is Ronald J MacDonald. 1 have tried to explain to him that that a lack of enthusiasm for one man's style of papacy (ie Pius XII's) does not add up to a denial of the dogma of papal infallibility. He is either possessed of an intelligence too meagre to grasp this or of a very high degree of perverseness. I tend to think he is in full possession of both.
For the record, the people responsible for the "drab and theologically redue ti on ist" ICEL texts (and if that is what The Tablet calls them it must be true) were: Prof HPR Finberg (Leicester University); Prof GB Harrison (New Zealand, University of Michigan); Canon Harold Winstone (Westminster); Fr John Hackett (Maynooth, Ireland); Fr Stephen Somerville (Canada); Fr Percy Jones (Melbourne, Australia); many of the base translations were done by Fr James Quinn SJ (Edinburgh). The input from the USA came from Mgr FR McManus of the Catholic University in Washington DC and Fr Godfrey Diekmann OSB of St John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota, then editor of Worship. They were both periti at Vatican II (how many Englishspeaking periti were there?).
The Episcopal Board reads like a Who's Who of the English-speaking Church: Grimshaw, Dwyer, Wheeler, Gray, Hurley, Hallinan, Cordeiro, Carter, Walsh, Young... et ita porro.
I know that a certain type of English person finds it hard to credit, but we Celts tend to take our religion every bit as seriously as our sport or politics. There is nothing "bilious" or "splenetic" about it — merely a fierce attachment to the Church and loyalty to friends.
Yours faithfully JOHN Il FITZSIMMONS Erskine, Rentrewshire PA8 6AB