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Sir,—There is no shadow of an excuse for the use in the English translation of such obsolete words as "takest", "sittest", "shouldst", and others of that sort. And there is very little excuse for the use of obscure theological and quasi-theological phrases. "Consubstantial with the Father" and "Incarnate by the Holy Ghost" are two such expressions that come readily to mind.
The Bishops should remember that a classical education is, today. the privilege of the very few, and that four out of five Catholics receive only a modern secondary school education which provides them with a very limited vocabulary.
I am not at all suggesting that the Mass should be reduced to basic English, but there does not seem to be much point in saying the Mass prayers, and other prayers, in English if three or four out of every five people do not understand the meaning of many of the phrases they use.
Let us hope that very soon a joint committee of Catholics, Anglicans and Free Church members will be formed to prepare a Book of Common Prayer, in modern English, which God will understand just as well as He understands 17th century English.
If there are some distinguished modern prose writers, as well as theologians, on the committee, who knows, they may even get rid of such words as "Thee", "Thou", "Thy", "Thine", "art", and some of the other archaisms to which Irene Zlotnicki so rightly objects, and we may be able to talk to God in language which we understand, as He will.
W. J. Kavanagh Blackpool.
Sir,—The English we have been given so far for use in the Mass suggests that our bishops want to win the interest of practising members of the Church of England. But surely it is those who have no religious practice who most need what we have to offer, and to them only language of 1966 will appeal.
We should therefore eliminate archaisms ruthlessly. In the Lord's Prayer, for example, "Our Father" should be changed, since we do not say, "Are you going to the post office, my Father?" We do not "do" a person's "will" nowadays and "Amen" should either be translated or omitted.
Revised on these Tines, our translation of the Lord's Prayer might read:
Heavenly Father, may your name always be said with reverence. May your reign over the world come soon. May your wishes be carried out here on earth, as they are always being carried out in heaven.
Give us today the food we need for tomorrow. Cancel the debts we owe you : we too cancel the debts our fellowmen owe us. And do not let us be tempted beyond our strength, but rescue us from the power of evil. (No "Amen.")
Gareth Edwards London, N.3.
Sir,—How invincible is the ignorance of the left-wing intellectual? Stalin was admired by G. B. Shaw and holy pictures of Marx and Lenin hung round the atheistic death-bed of that Yorkshire radical with the Irish accent. Shaw's spiritual descendants, the progressives (and a generous dredging from the seedy world of arts and entertainment) present a similar ignoring of Communist infamy.
The New Statesman, which is hardly an organ of balanced opinion, has been quoted. The good work of the Americans is ignored therein : in particular, their struggle to aid the peasant defeat the terrorist and bomb bully.
It is time a tribute was paid to America and her civilising influence in Asia; her generosity to past enemies like the Japanese; her works of mercy in food and medicine: her valiant missionaries. Like ours formerly, her "imperialism" is misunderstood. But. presently, it will be understood. for Truth also is invincible.
W. H. E. Kingston Crowborough, Sussex.
Sir, I find it incredible that
an English newspaper should take such notice of a rebellion in 1916 against the Crown —and, apparently, delight in its ultimate success.
M. J. Urquhart Eastbourne. Sir,—It might be wisest in the long run to imitate Mr. Kenworthy-Browne and his fellow "traditionalists" and make an oracular statement to the effect that if he really cannut see any difference between our language and that of the Reformers On the nature of the Eucharist there is nothing to be gained from prolonging discussion.
However, for the sake of other readers who may not have Mr. kenworthy-Browne's enviable clarity of vision, we would like to offer a brief rationale of our previous letter in the light of your correspondent's appeal to papa! teaching.
The quotation we were offered from Pope Paul's Encyclical on the Eucharist nowhere insists on the expression "Sacrifice of Calvary" as a definition of the Eucharist; and there is in fact, a vital difference, as we see it, between that Reformation concept and the "Sacrifice of Christ."
The one concerns an historical event, totally in the past and therefore unrepeatable, while the other concerns what has been called a metahistori cal event which envelopes Calvary in the ever-present moment of salvation history represented on earth by the Church as Christ's Mystical Body.
Both the Reformers of the 16th century and their Catholic opponents, thanks to the one
sided development of the liturgy as it was actually celehrated in the Middle Ages, made the mistake of thinking that the Sacrifice of Christ was simply the event on Calvary transposed on to the altar.
Whether the word "repetition" was used or not, psychologically it was experienced as a repetition because the idea of salvation history and the Church as the sacramental presence of Christ at this stage of it was not commonly understood.
We have only to remember the Cure D'Ars' literalistic understanding of his priestly power to "bring down" Our Lord in order to realise how far from complete was the understanding on this point until quite recently.
Calvary was the necessary sacrificial event in history, necessary because Our Lord was a man living in time. But for us now His sacrifice is more than the moments on Calvary, vital though these are: it is the whole of his incarnate life, both before and after the crucifixion which is crystalised in the sacrifice of the Glorified and Risen Christ before the face of the Father (as our pre-Reformation liturgy clearly teaches).
It is the "heavenly" sacrifice which is surely identical with the eucharist on earth, while Calvary itself is literally re-presented in an "unbloody" manner. If we did not preserve our total belief in the Eucharistic sacrifice as something integral to Calvary although not coterminous with it, we would hardly have expressed ourselves as we did in the final sentence of our previous letter.
Saving the possibility that we may err in the form in which we have stated the primitive and renewed doctrine of the Eucharist, we humbly suggest that it is only such an understanding which can explain and justify our liturgical reforms and the Dogmatic Constitution Dc Ecclesia.
Margaret and John Pinnington Southampton
#)*"alee.:4•44.."..* Ortd-avit.4 Sir,—It seems a pity that Prof. van de Pol should have to face accusations of heresy for his views on the possibility of Anglican Orders being one day recognised by Rome. Continental Catholics sometimes think that we in England lack elementary charity towards our separated brethren, and wild charges of heresy are hardly going to help them see the situation from our point of view.
No one can disagree with the view that Leo XIII's Bull was not an infallible decree. We will probably not be so ready to gloss over its concluding paragraph, nor for that matter Leo XIII's contemporary Letter aimed at well-meaning Continentals: "It was our intention to deliver a final judgement and to settle absolutely that most grave question , All Catholics are bound to receive our decisions with the utmost respect, as for ever valid, firm and irrevocable".
The Pope was dealing with a specific problem with a long history arising from fundamental Catholic doctrine, and we are naturally not inclined to jettison his verdict like some historical impedimenta. such as Pius V's Bull of 1570, excommunicating Elizabeth I.
Talk of recent developments in theology, whether on the Church or on the Eucharist as Supper. will have to he a lot more specific to be convincing. Many may find that the rediscovered emphasis on the sacramental and eucharistic nature of the Church only makes A postolicae Curve even more apposite.
Leo XIII's judgement of 1896, supported by over three centuries of previous Church practice, rests simply on a twofold defect in the consecration of Matthew Parker in 1559: (i) "an intrinsic defect of form" in the Edwardian ritual used; and (ii) "combined with it a defect of intention", the ritual having been changed "with the manifest purpose of introducing another rite not accepted by the Church", i.e. an intention "which is contrary and opposed to that of the Church". With the doctrine unassailable, the only disagreement can be with the application, and yet the historical facts of this case are never called in question.
We May all pray for full communion among separated Christians. and yet find the Professor's view male simians. We do not question his right to it, but many of us do question his prudence in coming over here to express it publicly before the Anglican Primate of Canterbury.
A. Gilbert Ipswich.
Sir,—In your October 29, 1965, issue which I have just received, a picture story states: "Priests and nuns in Milwaukee are defying their Bishop's orders by offering themselves as teachers in 'freedom schools'." Secular papers use such words as "reputedly" or "reportedly" when describing misdeeds or crimes. But you have made yourselves judges by stating that these priests and nuns have defied their bishop's orders. Should not supposedly Catholic newspapers be very careful not to offend against charity?
First, the reason why Fr. Groppi led Negro children in song on the parish school steps was to keep the children busy while space was found for them elsewhere. If the bishop had made his mind clear earlier the children would not have gathered there and they would not have been angry at not being admitted to the school.
Most priests and sisters participating in the four-day boycott of Milwaukee public schools pulled out on the final day, Thursday, after Auxiliary Bishop Roman R. Atkielski issued "cease and desist" orders to two priests.
Previous to that the bishop had issued very confusing orders. To the Milwaukee Sentinel he said he was banning participation of priests and nuns in the freedom schools and also prohibiting the use of parish facilities for such schools. In a letter to the pastors, however, the bishop mentioned only the use of parish facilities.
One religious superior, who allowed her nuns to continue teaching in the freedom schools, explained why she was not disobeying the bishop by saying: "The bishop did not communicate his wishes to us. We could hardly act on the basis of a television news programme which we heard about but didn't see." She was referring to a Sunday evening television appearance of the bishop when he forbade them to teach also.
It is interesting to note that Bishop Atkielski has been changed to another parish while the priests and nuns involved were not rebuked by the Archbishop when he returned from the Council. I appeal to you to report in an impartial manner whether it is an issue concerning a bishop, priest, nun or layman. (Rev.) Gerald Wilmsen Chun Cheon, Korea.
Sir,—While reading your interesting article on the silenced priests of America, I could not help wondering what could be done to improve "communications" between our own bishops, priests and people.
The difficulty was brought home to me when the parish priest of a small parish with which I have been connected on and off for many years was transferred recently. He started the parish some ten years ago and a genuine community grew up largely owing to the priest's exceptional willingness and ability to elicit and use the co-operation of his people.
In this atmosphere the transfer and the way in which it came upon us was a great shock. A formal letter from the Vicar General of the diocese, a formal acceptance and less than a fortnight to pack his bags. While such a move (caused by a vacancy) is no doubt both necessary and judicious, the manner in which it is done does seem unnecessarily abrupt. Perhaps the diocesan councils of the future will find some solution to this difficulty.
Meanwhile one should like to know that the priest, or perhaps all the priests concerned in such reshuffles. are given the opportunity to partake meaningfulfy in such important pastoral decisions.
The people too, would find helpful a friendly word from their bishop. explaining to them why they have to lose to another parish one who, over the years, had become their friend as well as spiritual leader. The quasi-military obedience often expected at the present time from clergy and laity makes goodwill and co-operation unusually difficult.
L. Polak N.W.S.
Sir,—It is interesting to read that Rev. W. Salmon, headmaster of Hull's Marist College, does not intend to come to terms with the pop age and proposes. on behalf of parents, to fight against its manifestations — long hair, drainpipe trousers etc.
Does Fr. Salmon intend to wage his war within the walls of his school (where he will be being unfair to young people whose tastes can only reflect those of the society in which they live) or outside, which is the only place it can be won?
And, incidentally, haven't parents generally opted for the pop age? Otherwise, how has it come to be?
ticrga ZA,44..101 Sir, — Your correspondent (January 28) who asks for guidance in forming an attitude in the current controversy about homosexuality is already doing one of the best things possible to help — she has opened her eyes to the fact that the problem exists, and is widespread (it has been estimated that about one person in twenty has homosexual tendencies to a greater or lesser degree), and that it can cause untold suffering to the people concerned.
Surely all of us can do as much as that. We could recognise too that no guilt whatever attaches to the condition itself; it is a simple physical fact, which might equally well affect ourselves or someone dear to us. It can deprive its victims of all the joys of home and family that most of us take for granted ; and I would myself have no hesitation in supporting a measure which removes from them the threat of an imprisonment which can wreck whatever chance they may have left of happiness in their life and work.
As to its causes, there is as yet no agreement ; but a fair part of a life spent in social work leads me to think that it is at least aggravated by the stresses of modern life and of a segregated system of education, and that the psychiatrist should have a great part to play in easing the situation in some cases.
Attitudes are changing slowly, though the homosexual still looks in vain to society as a whole for a sympathetic tolerance of his condition, which after all was not of his choosing. But, more distressing to the Catholic, he also looks in vain to the Church for any workable rule of life in his present state.
Officially, he is merely commanded to observe that complete chastity which most spiritual guides admit is beyond the reach of most people ; and individual counselling from priests is varied to the point Of contradictoriness, and sometimes, I am sorry to say, downright harmful. When, as can happen, it leaves the penitent plunged in a sense of guilt at his own sinfulness — from which there seems to be no escape — it not only increases all his stresses but makes a happy, outgiving Christian life almost impossible.
Surely in these days most of us know enough about the complex and delicate working of the emotions to be able at least not to aggravate problems like this. A harsh, repressive faith of "thou shalt nots", backed up by threats. can only increase the despair of a man
already trying to cope with an almost impossible situation. Our Lord Himself gathered up all the commandments into the two great "Thou shalts", which sanctify our human emotions not by trying to crush them but by enlarging them into a positive and fulfilling love of God and our fellow men.
Freda Rees Coventry.
Sir,—Might I suggest Moral Problems Now (Sheed and Ward, 1960), where the authors (G. Hagemeier, C. S. P. and R. Gleason. S.).) discuss homosexuality in chapters five and eleven. They have also added an extensive bibliography. (Mrs.) Mona Kruppa, psychologist Ware, Herts.
Sir,—Paula Davies is surely misguided in suggesting (January 28) that there is a conflict between charity and the moral law. The moral law is not an end in itself but bears witness to the real requirements of charity (as revealed by God) in particular situations. Any apparent conflict results either from misguided charity or a misunderstood application of the moral law.
In this particular case a distinction has to be made. It is one thing for Catholics to regard the private morality of others as none of their business ; it is quite different when this involves a serious injustice to a defenceless third party.
After all there were many Nazis who evidently thought that gassing Jews was moral— hut perhaps we wish that German Catholics had been more vocal in their remonstrations. They had the excuse that their proteStSmight put them in mortal danger, we haven't even that.
Incidentally, what evidence is there that Lord Silkin's bill will diminish the number of backstreet abortions? As I understand it, it does not involve either a form of "longstop" contraception, or a means of relieving the wayward from their shame.
Is it not possible that the diminishing of numbers brought about by the bill will be more than compensated for by those who do not fit into the categories mentioned, but who feel that abortion is no longer a moral issue since it has been made "respectable" by positive legislation? Abortion is a communicable disease —as has been discovered in Japan where the number of abortions exceed live births by a considerable margin.
Quentin de In Bedoyere London, S.W.20. Robert J. Hoare Ascot, Berks.