Page 5, 26th June 1970

26th June 1970
Page 5
Page 5, 26th June 1970 — The injustice done to Fr. Leetham

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Locations: Hereford


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The injustice done to Fr. Leetham

IAM surprised that my reference to the cross which Father Claude Leetham was called upon to carry after his retirement as President of Ratcliffe should last week have aroused a defensive response from two correspondents.

When Mr. Myers writes that "the fact that his years after leaving Ratcliffe were triumphant ones, studious, energetic, spacious and alive with charity, is surely a sign of the wisdom of his superiors" I gasp with astonishment at such a non-sequitur.

They were a sign of the greatness of 'Father Claude and of the wisdom of Cardinal Wright and others who recognised and fostered what Father Claude's superiors evidently could not see. Nor was there any implication in my article that all his "brethren" were small men, but that there were some in positions of influence and power is shown by the failure to use the talents of one of the Institute's most illustrious members.

Of course, as iI said in my notice, Father Leetham never uttered a word of complaint about his treatment but that there was a gross lack of concern about his future by those responsible for it is a fact known to everyone close to Father Leetham, including leaders of the Old Boys' Association of Ratcliffe.

Mr. Orton is talking through his hat when he talks of "slander." I was telling the truth and if he does not know the facts he shows culpable ignorance. I will not go into details about these facts as it would be unsuitable but Mr. Orton might refresh his memory about the notice that appeared in The Times placed Mere by those endeavouring to justify themselves, concerning a totally fictitious appointment which, it was said, had been obtained for Father Leetham.

The truth will out: sometimes in one's lifetime, sometimes after it has closed.

am delighted to have the corroboration in your columns of Father Gerald Collins. The one thing I will not abide is injustice.

Father Leetham suffered injustice and I am glad to have been able to render posthumous amends. But let not those who worked injustice now seek to whitewash themselves. An obituary notice is a personal assessment but it is also a record of facts not a fairy story. De tnortuis nil nisi honum is perhaps just passable but the living must bear the Truth purgatorial though it may be. There let it end.

Norman St. John-Stevas House of Commons.

Evensong IN the interests of accuracy, there are two official names in the Book of Common Prayer for the Anglican offices: Morning and Evening Prayer are the titles used of the services where printed, but in the tables of Proper Lessons for Sundays and H o 1 y days. "Matins" and "Evensong" are also used.

Lord Ventry will, of course, know that Evensong is the customary name for the service in common parlance in the Church of England—cf. the recent debate about the BBC and the broadcasting of cathedral evensong.

(Fr.) F. H. Mountney Hereford.

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