From Father John Danson Sir, May I bring to your notice an inaccuracy in the otherwise good article (Report, June 22) about the Seminary provision for the dioceses of England and Wales?
In the use of the statistics, about which we spoke at length, Mr Shaw has quoted the total of those who entered all forms of formation in 1999 and 2000. The figures quoted in the article include those who entered the enclosed orders, the orders of brothers, clerical institutes, religious sisters, the secular priesthood, the permanent diaconate and the secular institutes.
The correct figures of those entering our seminaries for formation for the secular priesthood were: 71 in 1999 and 52 in 2000. It should be added that included in these latter figures are a few (18 and 6 respectively) who, while having been accepted as candidates for the diocesan priesthood, were asked to follow the courses of a pre-seminary year.
Yours sincerely, JOHN DANSON Secretary of the Committee for Ministerial Formation.
From Mr Adrian Stone Sir, It is reassuring to read in Richard Shaw's report that a Commission is being set up to do something about the shortage of vocations to the priesthood.
I am sorry that Father Danson, Secretary of the Committee for Ministerial formation of the Bishops' Conference is not one of its members. He seems to me to have grasped the whole essence of our problem when he says, "We have to preach the Gospel, offering an alternative to the prevailing culture..."
Exactly. A few years ago the Holy Father pointed this out to the Australian bishops when he remarked that there is no shortage of priestly vocation where the formation in schools and seminaries is sound.
Yours faithfully, ADRIAN STONE Esher, Surrey.
Corpus Christi in Oxford
From Mr Julian Chadwick Sir, Once again, many congratulations and thanks to the Clergy of Oxford for organising the Corpus Christi Procession on Sunday. This year the procession went from the Oratory, first to Blackfriars and then to Grand Pont House.
The Sacrament was borne aloft through the streets of Oxford with a large crowd of Clergy and the faithful giving witness to the Truth.
I hope that the Corpus Christi Procession is revived throughout this land as a proclamation of the faith of the Church.
Yours faithfully, JULIAN CHADWICK Newbury, Berks.
No fellow travellers From Mr V Dunleavy Sir, I was puzzled by Fr Richard Barrett's reference to your readership (1 June, page 10). He wrote: "So how about a little honesty from the readership? Why not recall those moments when we all subscribed to Pravda rather than The Catholic Herald for instance (in the days when the two amounted to the same thing)". Which days? I have been an attentive reader of the Herald for about sixty-eight years and I recollect no period in which such criticism of the paper or its readership would have been regarded as even remotely plausible.
Your younger readers should be .assured that The Catholic Herald was always admirably firm and consistent in opposing the totalitarian regimes of both Stalin and Hitler.
Yours faithfully, V DUNLEAVY Chislehurst, Kent.
Abortion TV effect?
From Mr Antony Porter Sir, Can there be a connection between the psychological effects of abortion upon the community in general and what is nowadays presented as television entertainment? If we want to know what effect 33 years of legalised abortion has had upon Britain's citizens, maybe we need look no further than our T.V. sets.
We are constantly served up a televised diet of arguments, swearing, blasphemy, nudity, sex, violence, cruelty and other questionable activities. Certainly television was not this bad prior to the legalisation of abortion in Britain in 1967.
Is there a link here?
I understand that the soap operas make use of the same half-dozen basic plots over and over again. One of these seems to be that of the "wronged woman" who eventually gets even with her man. Another appears to be the sacrifice through tragedy of some innocent such as beloved child or animal.
Yours faithfully, ANTONY PORTER London W7.
Collegiality no carte blanche
From Bishop Hugh Lindsay Sir, Collegiality means that bishops wish to work closely with the Pope, not that they wish to challenge him nor, as Mr Espley (letter 22 June) imagines, to have "carteblanche with regard to liturgy, sacraments and doctrine".
The Bishops of Salford and Shrewsbury did make different emergency decisions about dispensation from Friday abstinence for different world War II situations between their dioceses, but that was certainly not, "challenging the Pope".
There was also a relatively short time during which the Holy See permitted us bishops to allow inchvidual Catholics in England to join the Freemasons before the decision was reversed in Rome after further consideration.
It was not a question of challenging the Pope. As far as I was concerned, I had rather reluctantly to give a few permissions because they came within the Roman rules, but I was personally much happier when the Holy See withdrew the concession.
Yours faithfully, + Hugh Lindsay Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria.
A cherished tradition
From Mr Terence Kamsilca Sir, Slowly but surely, modern clergy are phasing out a cherished tradition. At their first Holy Communion, some children receive Communion from hands that have both been anointed with Holy Oil and blessed by a bishop, while other First Communion children receive from a Eucharistic minister. Although the sacrament given is the same, many lay people still feel that there is a difference between the hands of a priest and that of a Eucharistic minister.
Yours faithfully, TERENCE ICAMSIKA Sheffield.
From Mr Danny Marks Sir, Phyllis Bowman in your edition of 15 June 2001 asked the question "Why this humiliation of William Hague?" but did not seem to have produced the answer. In the main it was the Tory Party that was humiliated twice in four years. But Mr Hague must accept some responsibility for his rush to condemn everything that the Government has done with exag gerated, ill-thought comments.
The transfer of the responsibility for setting interest rates to the Bank of England was "a dereliction of duty", the setting of the minimum wage was to result in "millions upon millions of unemployed and will send thousands of firms into bankruptcy". The Pensioners' Winter Allowance and free TV license were gimmicks; the Nation was being turned into "a foreign country"; Jeffrey Archer was a man of "great probity and integrity".
As with asylum seekers and the new approval of the killing of a burglar by Mr Martin and many other matters, his judgement was faulty. The voters were not impressed. Much was made of the Dome and the unbalanced judgement over the sleaze in this Government as compared to the previous Tory administration. The public could judge the difference and were prepared to give the approval and another chance to improve public services to this Government.
As for Christian values, it was not long ago that Mr Hague stated that he would rather go for a walk in the country than go to Church on a Sunday. Pressed later he said he "had" to go to church as part of his duties as Leader of the opposition.
Contrast that with Mr Blair's family life and a lifelong practicing Christian Faith, leading by and his record of helping the least well of in Government. There were some failures to deliver as well.
About 2 million pensioners have been taken out of poverty by the introduction of the minimum pension guarantee, some dignity has been restored to about 2 million workpersons by the introduction of the minimum wage, millions of pensioners have bean granted E200 winter allowance and given a free TV license, making their life a bit more comfortable in winter. Income tax for the least well off has been reduced to 10%, the minimum income credit guarantee introduced etc. etc. All this amounts to a good start in redressing the balance between the "haves' and "have nots".
About two years ago and as the election got closer, Mr Hague realised that there were votes in religion. He started courting religious organisations and making pronouncements which he never dreamed of before. The electorate were not fooled by his artificial religious conversion.
Yours faithfully, DANNY MARKS Wirral, Merseyside.
Julia Kim's miracles
From Ms Maura Brennan Sir, I read with sadness that an Archbishop from South Korea has come out against the various revelations and Miracles given to Julia Kim, since 1985.
It is reported from Naju, that a Statue of Our Lady has now shed tears of blood there, over 700 times. The photos of these tears are quite impressive. The Messages given to Julia, are totally in line with the teachings of our Church and are similar to Fatima. It is a call to do penance and to convert. Julia is a "victim soul" who prays and suffers so much for the aborted babies of today. She and her husband met Pope John Paul in 1989.
We are asked to make reparation to the Sacred Heart and to pray to Mary, the "Ark of Salvation", for the sanctification of families. In his negative statement against Julia Kim, the Archbishop is very vague. If there was scientific evidence that the statue was all a hoax or that the Messages were against the teaching of the Church, then we would understand. But what are the reasons?
It is not enough to dismiss out of hand, all the "miracles" over the last 16 years, and just say "obey,or else". Obedience to God comes before all else. (Acts 4:19). Millions of Catholics (including Cardinal Sin), do believe in the supernatural events associated with Naju, in Korea. Read the books and see the videos, I would say.
Yours faithfully MAURA BRENNAN London NW9
Voices of conscience
From Fr Bryan Storey Sir, It was gratifying to read the letter (it was a pity his name and address had to be withheld) from the homosexual gentleman who through good pastoral help, gave up his former way of life. There are many who could give similar witness to the transforming power of God's grace.
The points made by the convenor for Lesbian and Gay Catholic Christians can only be upheld by psychological gymnastics which totally ignore the penetratingly loud Voice of Conscience beating in us all that the sexual organs are for producing offspring. There cannot be any furtherance of human love when this truth is ignored or covered up instead of being grown into.
I would also like to take the opportunity to thank you for recent leading articles which fairly and with outstanding reason and understanding have faced up to a good few perplexing and worrying problems. There can only be dynamic spiritual and moral progress and movements away from unhelpful cover ups and half truths when the kind of journalism you promote, free from blinding sycophancy, flourishes more and more.
Yours faithfully, BRYAN STOREY, Tintagel Catholic Church
From Mrs Pat Cartwright Sir, I was sickened by the remarks of a visiting Italian Salesian who said mass at our parish last Sunday, to celebrate the Birth of John the Baptist. There, to promote his Order, he said he had learnt so much from his time in Brazil.
Apparently. young people who have given up going to mass are prophets of a new revolutionary Church shortly to emerge, and he offered no encouragement to those who persevere in the Faith by continuing to keep the Sabbath.
In particular, my three teenage children who accompany me to mass each Sunday and holy day, and who frequent the sacraments must be due for extinction! Especially my daughter, who regularly attracts her non Catholic companions to join us at Sunday celebrations. This priest, and others like him must feel very frustrated with their present "outmoded" duties.
Yours faithfully, PAT CARTWRIGHT Ferryhill Co Durham DL178HA