Allow me to congratulate you on the contents of your correspondence pages in recent Issues. The fact that you are attacked from both ends of the theological spectrum of Catholic (and sometimes Angli-an) opinion proves, I think, that you are providing a valuable forum for the lively discussion of those issues, which currently loom large in the minds of the people of God in this country.
Whether in fact all these issues are as vital as your correspondents seem to imagine is, of course, a debatable point. Nevertheless, it is, in my opinion. all to the good and potentially beneficial for Christianity as a whole in this country that more and more Catholics are willing to express their opinions, and to stand up and be counted, on such subjects as the status of Humanae Vitae, the spread of heresy, family prayer groups. "Patrick Walling", the exploitation of black Africans in South Africa, the real meaning of sin, papal infallibility, the Christian attitude to homosexuality, the adornment of our churches, the significance of Opus Dei, the lapsetion rate amongst young Catholics, Catholic humanism and the Tridentine Mass.
As a convert to the church at a very early age and a product of a Jesuit school ("Independent", when I was there, later voluntary-aided grammar and finally voluntaryaided comprehensive. when attended by my son), I have over the years become — as have also an increasing number of Jesuits themselves— more and more tolerant of the ideas, opinions and beliefs of others.
I now recognise that Christ, bringing a gospel of love, came primarily to redeem and to forgive not to judge and to punish. If only, on the one hand, there were less Catholics so willing to criticise Father Baker for conscientiously insisting on celebrating Mass. according to the Tridentine rite and, on the other hand, there were less Catholics so fond of criticising those who like to experiment to the maximum with the current Missa Normativa, then the love of Christ would certainly be a much more recognisable sign of Christianity today.
Personally. I now prefer Mass in the vernacular and can well under, stand why so many young people feel themselves to he much more involved in a liturgical celebration in the folk idiom than one accompanied by insipid and — to them meaningless hymns written largely in the 19th century. Yet I can still glory in the singing of the Credo in Latin — even in the middle of a Folk Mass!
This almost boundless possibility of variation, according to the time, the place and the people present. now means much more to me than did the almost inaudible mumbling of a "low" Latin Mass, in preVatican 11 days, by a priest who had his hack to us for most of the time and seemed to regard the presence of the people of God (of course they were then only called the "congregation") as merely incidental.
Let us, however, not forget that there are still many people who, having been brought up in this tradition, find this rite, rather than one requiring their active and constant participation, to be much more conducive to their appreciation of the Mass and their worshipping of God, Why then. could not the Bishop of Northampton have gone a little further in his generous treatment of Father Baker by allowing him to remain and celebrate the Tridentine Mass at stated times in his parish church while the new Administrator of the parish could celebrate the Missa Normativa at other times?
Thus the many local Catholics who preferred the new rite would be able to take part in a Mass in their own church rather than elsewhere under makeshift conditions.
Henry Haydon Westerland, 116 Sandy Lane South, Wallington, Surrey.
The Catholic Herald is just about the best Catholic newspaper there is. Don't laugh: it's almost true! For instance, it occasionally publishes sonic or my letters. That it doesn't publish all of them merely indicates that even with the Catholic Herald there is room for improvement.
However, I wish you would house-train yourselves a little and nut go dropping things like Miss Holt's letter of November 28 on
"oYou should've hae.
u written to the dear
lady saying: "Darling, quarrelling, as you call it, is what the Letters Page is for. And leading the band is a little lad who once went up to Jerusalem, sneaked lad-like off from his Mum and Dad and was later found 'quarrelling' with and happily running rings round all the learned men of the Temple (and all seemed to he enjoying it — since there is nothing priests like better than being taught by lads of 12, especially as with many of them nobody can teach them anything at all: arid even this lad might have had his work cut out with our trendy liturgical (for instance) pundits of today.
"But when his parents spoke to him about going off like that he said: 'Well, didn t you know that I have to he about my Father's business?' as cool as you like, and quite giving his Mum something to ponder.
"And much later on we still find him going about 'quarrelling' with all and sundry — only for real when it was some fat Pharisees, scribes and priests who, as they ever do, came bouncing along to see him off, and got bounced instead. Ditto sonic pseudo 'peacemakers' of the time — people he really detested. 'I come nol to bring peace, but a sword.'
"Something the mushyChurch of today wants to remember. So, dear lady (and a certain Mr Howard Kelleher in the issue of December 5) just go down on your sweet little knees and thank God for 'quarrellers' now and always or your future generations might not know of any God to pray to or thank for anything — if the pseudopeacemakers have anything to do with it.
"Sec anything with 'Peace' daubed all over, and the word 'World' as well, and know for certain that the most malignant of all quarrellers proper are behind it: know that the word today is the most successful mask the Marxists have, while they pay such as the IRA to bring anything but peace for you and the God you are yet able to 'Quarrel' with. Thank God for the little lad who could read their minds, and hearts, like a book."
They should he pleased their little paper is about the only one anybody can still wash dirty linen in. The others smell too much — like 01' Uncle Tom Tablet 'n Thomas W. Gadd 171 Church Road, Elixton, Manchester.