I WONDER if any of your readers saw the beautiful rendering of Compline in English in perfect -plainsong by the choir of Chichester Cathedral on television on March 22? Surely this is the answer to those who fear the loss of this glorious musical heritage and those who want a meaningful liturgy in their own language.
Plainsong sounds, to me at any rate, just as good in English as Latin, and though it is certainly not suitable for any and every parish occasion, it has a timeless beauty all its own.
I noticed that in the Good Friday music televised last year. the lamentations in particular were the well-known plainsong version but with English words. I wonder why not more of this is done — Westminster Cathedral, for instance, still seem determined Latinists! Could they not now try English plainsong like the great Anglican cathedrals?
Monica Comerford (Mrs.) Merrow, Guildford.
LLOWING your T.V. P
critic's general approval (March 13) for Steptoe, I considered the possibility that my normal frowns on the programme were perhaps a little puritanical. A later episode, however, was full of suggestive homosexuality. Although one might debate the relative harmlessness of natural sex as a subject for humour, there is no case whatsoever for sexual perversion as a source of entertainment.
I return, not without some sadness, to my previous prejudiced view, that critics in the Catholic press are unreliable guides to suitable programmes. Is it that they must be seen to be "forward looking" or it is that they have failed to discern the inevitable progress of modern scripts from strong language to smutty language, from blasphemy to perversion to degradation?
It must be a great comfort to scriptwriters that Catholic critics are more concerned about the inanities of "weeklycomic humour" than the 'insidious undermining of Christian virtue Which is proving so profitable to the entertainments industry.
J. Hindmarsh Sale, Cheshire.
Bulls and dogma
IS Mr. John D. Sheridan (March 20) saying that any papal pronouncement must be accepted as infallible? The Vatican Council referred to a proclamation by a "definitive act."
Would an opinion expressed in a bulla be a definitive act? I am thinking of the example quoted with relish by Lytton Strachey of the bull Cum inter nonnullus of John XXII which appeared to contradict the bull Exiit qui seminal of Nicholas HI.
Anthony L. Bongard Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh.
FR. SYMON says (March 13) most Catholics still believe in purgatory. He must surely admit that all Catholics believe in purgatory as its existence is a solemnly defined dogma of the Church and hence one who does not accept it cannot be called a Catholic.
R. A. Cooper Derby.