SIR*—Dialogue between clergy and laity is an idea we are gradually getting used to—it is quite some time since the Prophet Newman told us about it—and the phrase is frequently aired.
How deplorable then to read of the recently-formed Commission for Mass Media of Communication, created as a result of Vatican Council II, Second Session! Twenty new members, of whom seventeen are Archbishops or Bishops, one a Monsignor. President of the Catholic International Office of Cinema, one other Monsignor, President of the Catholic International Association of Radio and Television: and one lay journalist. Can we expect that the voice of the single professional will carry great weight with the august amateurs?
Surely this is one field where, in the nature of things, a cleric can hardly he qualified; it is essentially a lay department, from which the clergy can retire without losing face, and still keep a benevolent surveillance. But nineteen to one! This depressing lack of proportion suggests that those responsible for thus obliterating the laity either (a) do not trust the Catholic professional nian or (b) are not really concerned about the mass media.
But on this point they surely remember how the popes. Pius XI and Pius XII for instance, gave us serious warnings on their importance and dangers. Which brings us back dismally to (a). Because the only possible (c) is that their reverences think they know more about these things than all the Catholic film-makers, journalists, television and radio publicists in the, world: and not even they could think that!
Nimrod. London, S.W.11.
Missions Sir, — Some interesting views have been contributed to the discussion on parish missions begun by my original letter May 22).
I am relieved to hear that there are indeed missions which deepen and enrich the spiritual life of a parish and attract waverers to the Church, and it seems a great pity that the whole idea of a Mission has been poisoned in the minds of so many by Missions of the wrong sort.
May I correct those, from His Satanic Majesty downwards, who assume that those of LIS who feel this way (among whom are numbered most of my acquaintances) have no sense of sin or belief in Hell? What we object to arc these melodramatic thunderings which terrify those who take them seriously, worry those who wonder whether they ought to, and repel those who don't.
The whole purpose of the Incarnation and Crucifixion, as understand them, Was to reveal the personal Love of God for each one of us. If our faith is not in essence a response to that Love rather than a fear of Hell, then 1 for one am in the wrong boat. The priest who received me into the Church, now an Archbishop. had one simple recipe for increasing one's faith; to kneel before a Crucifix and say, "God loves me as much as that".
Perhaps the most constructive suggestion came from a priest who suggesled to me lint the old idea of a parish mission might be superseded by that of a parish retreat. to instruct. help and strengthen the members in their own spiritual lives, so that the parish might become the beacon of light in a darkened world that a Christian community ought to be.
One of the Damned. , This correspondence is now concluded.—EDITOR.
Our Father Sir,—There will be satisfaction at the plan to introduce English for some parts of tlie Mass, though the decision to retain Latin for the Our Father is surely incomprehensible.
The Vatican Council's "Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy" called for the full conscious and active participation of all the faithful in liturgical celebrations, and defined this as the "aim to be considered before all else".
The introduction of English for the less important parts of the Mass is a useful first step, but we must not make the mistake of accepting this as a substitute for implementing the directives of the Council. What is being done about this, please?
W. I. Stanton. London. S.W.20.
Mgr. Knox Sir,---Though admitting the excellence of the English prose in the translation of the Bible by Knox. yet it is not without misgivings that I hear that his translation may he used in the new English liturgy. Knox has a very definite anti-feminine bias in his intepretation of certain passages which if adopted for universal liturgical use becomes disturbing.
For instance, in his translation of 1 Timothy 2, v. 8 "Volo ergo viros orare in omni loco levantes pions nianus sine Ira et discep
thine. Similiter et mulieres . ." he twists it into meaning that only men should offer public prayer and that women should refrain. The Greek text does not suggest this, nor have other translators given this interpretation. Considering the number of women "(ironies" with hands outstretched to be seen in the Catacombs, where there arc something liee 100 women "mimics" as against about four men "orantes", Knox's interpretation does not seem to he in accordance with early Christian custom.
Joan Morris London W.C.1,
Sir, A condensation of the report I sent on the conference "The Young Delinquent" has led to the attribution to Dr. J. B. Mays of some opinions which he did not express. I he latter part of the article was concerned not with a talk by Dr. Mays but with the final discussion to which many contributed and which was claimed by him. He specifically challenged Christians to show the relevance and uniqueness of their approach to delinquency.
Elizabeth Halsall Upholland.