Pharisaism In Our Outlook
Slg,----It is to be feared that there is peeping out of this correspondence symptoms of a complaint that is not uncommon among Catholics, namely, Pharisaism. We share quite a lot in common with the Pharisees. Among other things we know we are right and others wrong. That is dangerous. For though we are safe enough from the complacency of the Pharisee in the parable, nor do we often fall into the temptation to pray publicly, we are apt to produce our membership of the One True Church as the ace of trumps just as the Pharisees used their descent from Abraham to reduce all criticism. In our attitude to those outside the Church there is often to be detected something akin to the attitude of the Jews to the Samaritans (a useful parallel, I think, to the relationship of Catholic and Anglican).
The root of Pharisaism is pride, an Ignoring of the fact that, before God, we are all, Catholics and non-Catholics, creatures before their Creator. To ignore this fact is to reduce our religious practice to hypocrisy. We have not deserved to be Catholics. By the grace of God we are what we are.
We should be grateful to the Ceegoten HERALD, which enables us to oome into contact with the minds of our nonCatholic brethren. We need not fear the expression of their views in our Press. If we are humble we shall profit by them. To listen with Faith sweetened by Charity to the criticisms and diffieultieis of those who differ from us is the way to begin to win them to ultimate acceptance of that Truth of which, at present. they possess only a part. We must accept it as an axiom that the majority of our Anglican brethren are sincere in their beliefs. We know them to be in error; but they are not helped ley an arrogant closing of our hearts and minds against them. "Other sheep I have . . . them also must I bring."
The mention of sheep brings me to a point on which I fear that we priests must humbly examine our consciences. Too often we emulate the English shepherd, who goes behind his flock and drives them. The Palestinian prototype exemplified by Our Lord leads his lambs to the place of pasture.
Is there no trace of the commercial In our public worship? Do the advertisements in our Catholic Press never seem to be near to simony? Do we not sometimes seem to mistake means for ends, ritual for worship? Is it really scandalous to hear the unpleasant truth uttered by heretic lips?
jr A. V. l3ueice (Rev.) Leatherhead.
Understanding The non-Catholic
Sire—It was a great pleasure to realise that the CATHOLIC HERALD is being read by our non-Catholic brethren. One of the biggest obstacles to the Conversion of England and to the fruitful conversion of any individual is our ignorance or lack of complete understanding of the other point of view. Any reasonable man, before attempting a task, will estimate the difficulties confronting him. Converting anyone from a false religion Is a task beset with many difficulties. A non.Catholic is not necessarily converted when he has been Instructed. Conversion involves a change of mind, and an understanding of the enquirer's mental attitude to religion and the supernatural Is an indispensable prerequisite, if the person is to be instructed on the most profitable lines. Hence the need for Individual tuition, at least in part. protestantiene is a religion of private opinions, and a knowledge of it cannot be obtained from books. We must listen to the Individual, ana (referring to the point which provoked this letter) read
his letters. I have found the letters from Anglican ministers already published very helpful. Anything which makes a man think is helpful. I hope that many more, who, like ourselves are striving for the preservation of the idea of God and religion in England and Wales, will give us their experiences, so that all may profit by this friendly and zealous co-operation in a work so dear to the heart of every priest.
B. S. C. [The above letter is from a priest.— ED rro a. I
The Catacomb Spirit
SIR—May I suggest that one of the great hindrances to the Conversion of England is the "Catacomb Spirit " which prevails in so many Catholics?
How few there are who have the courage of the Member for Ipswich, who does not hesitate to proclaim himself on the public platform " A Catholic first, and a politician second."
Most of us seem to try to conceal the fact that we are Catholics, and when we do admit it, we do so in a shamefaced manner as though we expected to be reprimanded, or at least pitied, for belonging to such an unworthy "sect "!
Also, too many Catholics show that they themselves put their religion in a secondary place. Such, for example, as those who habitually miss Sunday Mass for a job of work, which sounds suspiciously like worshipping Mammon instead of the God Who said "Consider the lilies. . . ."
No wonder outsiders are not attracted by the Faith. They take us at our own (apparent) value!
Then again, it seems a pity that we have not shown our appreciation of the religious liberty which we enjoy in this country by availing ourselves of the freedom which we have gained under the various Catholic Emancipation Acts. Isn't it silly that if one meets a man in a religious habit he is almost certain to be an Anglican?
The Government might Well say: " You Catholics don't care much for your religion—you don't take advantage of the liberty which we have given you!"
We want more 100 per cent. Catholics
CHURCH LATIN CORRESPONDENCE COURSES. For Terms and Particulars, write to Charles O. Mortimer, 22, Moore Street, London, S.W.3.
who will put first things first, especially In country places where the spiritual stagnation is frequently appalling, and little realised by those who live In towns.
Finally. what are the Tertiaries doing? Except in certain parishes it does not seem that they are playing as great a part in Catholic Action as one would expect.
D. BANNS WARNER.
Minsmere Haven, Dunwich, Suffolk.
Sin, -Fr. P. Pears' letter is indeed lamentable. There is a type of Anglican
who delights to term us "Romanists," but can it be there are Catholics who can label all Anglicans by the term "Protestant," knowing well that by all High Church and " advanced " Anglicans such a term is deeply resented? Charity demands we should observe the decencies of debate. Also, as " Protestant " covers non-Anglicans, such as Baptists, etc., it Is a slovenly word to use indiscriminately of all non-Catholics. When the context shows that Anglicans are referred to, even then " Protestant " is inadequate to show what type of Anglican we mean.
Nor is it "Protestant" to demand Communion is both kinds. Can Fr. Pears really be unaware of the fact that Communion is given in both kinds in the Catholic Church? Why, any Catholic may so receive when present at a Mass of an Eastern Rite in communion with Rome. Not long ago many Western Catholics received Holy Communion in troth kinds at the Westminster Diocesan Seminary, and I have witnessed the same practice in a London church when a Jesuit Father offered the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. Distinguished Catholic clergy of unimpeachable orthodoxy have mooted the desirability of restoring the practice of both kinds: the question is one of discipline, and that is not uniform in the Catholic Church even now on this matter. To call the practice of both kinds "Protestant " is to call the Church herself by that name.
Many of us thank you, Sir, for publishing honest letters from Anglican clergymen. We wanted to know what they think about us, however mistaken some of those ideas may be.
Nor are we guiltless of some taint of commercialism. Even in fairly recent years the Holy See forbade the shameful practice of extorting entrance money from would-be worshippers. One church I know had an actual box-office exactly like a theatre. Other instances could be given.
Nothing is worse than to resent any and all criticism. Humility and truth demand we should own up to faults. Also, some of our practices, such as Mass stipends, though perfectly proper, are very open to misunderstanding, the more so as some Catholics use such expressions as (I had this very one used to me); "Father, what is the price of a Mass?" What would any non-Catholic make of such a phrase?
May your brave and enlightened paper prosper, even in Fr. Pears' parish!
AN OLD PRIEST OF MOTHER CHURCH. [We feet that we should say that we have received very many letters deprecating Fr. Pears' attitude, and only one
or two supporting hint. For certain reasons we had not Intended to publish any of this correspondence, but we cannot reject the above letter from an old and high/y-vatteed correspondent of the
— I am much interested in the letters on the Conversion of England, and as you have already printed a letter from an Anglo-Catholic, I am emboldened to write giving my views, which are an extension of his letter.
The problem of the Conversion of England is two-fold, or to be more accurate, consists of two related problems. These arc, firstly, those who belong to schismatic bodies, and secondly, those who belong to no Church at all, or at most have a nominal membership but do not practise their religion.
The second problem is the greater of the two, but here I can but offer the advice, timeworn no doubt, but none the less practical: if at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again.
The most important point in connection with this first problem is that there Is within the communion of the Holy Roman Church a complete and utter misconception of the ultimate end of English-Catholicism. Too many are the criticisms levelled against " A rival to the Church of Rome, which adopts her rites, and appropriates her doctrines in all things save her allegiance to the See of Peter." This is not the true EnglishCatholic standpoint at all, but unfortunately, certain newspapers and pamphlets have combined to instill this idea Into a certain number of our flock, and In consequence the idea is now held by certain of the " other voices amongst us."
The true English-Catholic standpoint may be traced back to certain early Tractarians, notably to Hurrell Froude. (Indeed, it may be traced back much further, but I dare not trespass on your space to that extent.) Murrell Froude thus reproves Newman: "I must enter another protest against your cursing and your swearing at the end of Tract 38 (against the 'Romenists) as you do. What good can it do? And I call It uncharitable to an excess. How mistaken we may ourselves be on many points that are only gradually opening to us." Again he writes bo Newman: " When I get your letter I expect a rowing for my Roman Catholic sentiments. Really I hate the Reformation and the Reformers more and more. . . . I never mean, if I can help it, to use any phrase even, which can connect me with such a set. . . Nor shall I even abuse the Roman Catholics as a Church for anything, save only for excommunicating us."
This viewpoint is also seen in the speeches of the late Lord Halifax, and In the much-maligned Conversations at Malines.
Now, at this very present, can this spirit be seen more clearly than ever in the writings of Fr. Spencer Jones and his followers, who say: "Only through Corporate Reunion with the divinelyappointed Centre of Unity, on the basis of complete dogmatic agreement can the Church of England be saved."
This letter seems already to be of Inordinate length, so perhaps I had better write my conclusion, which is that In this matter of the repairing of the Sixteenth-Century Schism you must leave it to us, and help us by refraining from "Your cursing and your swearing," for " What good can it do?"
[The Church holds the Church of England to be " heretioal" as well as " schismatic."—Enrre
Squaring the Circle
Site—The correspondence on the Conversion of England appears to attempt to square the circle: by watering down Catholicism to fit Protestant ideas. In fact a sort of Anglo-Catholicism, something national instead of supranational.
The great joy of being a Catholic is to find oneself at home when in other countries.
No, Sir, one is converted to all that Holy Church proposes and permits, or not.
We cannot be choosers.
Writing To The Papers
Sna—Before the Conversion of England can ever begin, the doubts, fears and prejudices of our countrymen must be removed, and I suggest in this regard that Press correspondence columns offer valuable opportunities to zealous and well-informed Catholics, Whilst realising that he who " Writes to the papers " is often regarded either as a crank or an Idiot, my own experience prompts me to believe that much good can be done in this way.
During the Spanish War I engaged in several controversies on behalf of the Nationalists in the editorial columns of our local evening paper, which has a circulation of some 90,000. Abusive anonymous letters led me to believe that the seed was not entirely without fruit, and finally one letter provoked four replies, including a challenge to debate. The replies were answered by eight Franco supporters, whose vindication of the Nationalist cause occupied almost a whole page, and ventilated facts carefully concealed by the popular Press. The debate crowded a working men's club, and many more than the 300 present were unable to gain admission. I had abundant other evidence of the widespread interest aroused, and became convinced that controversy, based on charity and knowledge, could be of inestimable value to the Faith.
My own experience was the result of six years' training in the Catholic Evidence Guild, and if every journal which offered such facilities was " covered " by trained controversialists from the C.E.G. much ignorance of the Faith amongst our brethren would be dispelled.
6, Ribbieton Hall Drive, Preston. Lancs.
P.S.—The subject is too wide to be exhausted in one letter.
SIR,—The whole Catholic community is divided into the same strata as nonCatholic society, the membership of such strata being determined by becomelevel. Catholics of different income groups meet officially but never socially. Catholics and non-Catholics meet socially, according to their several income-groups, as fellow snobs.
Some sporadic effort notwithstanding, the Church in England is ceasing to be missionary, for the adequate reason that where our treasure is there will our heart be also. The Conversion of England will begin when Catholic snobbery ceases, when a lay apostolate is effectively mobilised and freely released, and when, consequently, not merely the nonCatholic bourgeoisie but also the nonCatholic poor have the gospel preached to them.
G. EDGAR, 6, Coniston Road,
Social Justice Paramount
Si,—The letters regarding the conversion of England are indeed very interesting, and no doubt the suggestions, if made practical, would help. And yet I am tempted to think of the millions of workers in our large works and factories. How would they receive these suggestions? Ask a Catholic employed in any large industry how many converts does he meet during the course of his employment ? What is uppermost in their minds, and what are they striving for ? The answer in most cases would be—first nil: secondly, improvement of social conditions and the right to live due to man's dignity, etc. Catholics interested in England's conversion should realise the majority of our population are workers, therefore I would like to suggest the workers must be informed of the Church's solution for all social problems.
Vast numbers are firmly convinced the Church is the enemy of the worker instead of a friend. At the present moment more than ever they are being well fed with a doctrine that promises freedom and the right to live as a human being. Why not we; cannot we feed them with social justice? I can visualise the huge crowd that would gather in our parks if speakers (if possible, priests) standing on a platform similar to the C.E.G. expounded the social teaching of the Church.
The suggestion may appear as being like a sprat to catch a mackerel; even so my thoughts dwell on the Multitude that followed our Lord. When they were hungry he bade them be seated, and fed them. After which He resumed His divine teaching.
L. D. FLYNN.
49, Syon Park-gardens, Isleworth, Middlesex.