From Sr Annette Stapleton OCV
Sir, Perhaps there are many readers like myself who would like to thank the gentleman, whose name was withheld, for writing a much needed and positive letter (June 24) on gaining the freedom to live the Church's approach to being a homosexual. His letter also highlights the important role of priests in this regard.
A front-page article of the same issue succinctly summed up the Church's approach. The Holy See opposes unjust discrimination against homosexuals, but insists it is morally and legally wrong to equate heterosexual married love to gay sexual relations.
There must be many, male and female, who having met, perhaps painfully, the same crossroad in life as the writer, have taken a similar decision. If the National press, radio and TV were a little less biased our youngsters might be less at risk and better informed regarding how a celibate life can be lived and joyfully celebrated. Maybe the writer could go a stage further and find national outlets to inform a wider audience of his now freely chosen way. And perhaps we might also hear more of the organisation that helps those who actively seek to turn their lives around in the same way.
Yours faithfully ANNETI'E STAPLETON OCV [email protected] totalserve.co.uk
From Mr Bernard Crowe
Sir In your edition of the 29 June Bryan Storey writes of "the penetrating loud voice of conscience beating in us all that the sexual organs are for producing offspring" What answer would he give me, who this last year as a result of major surgery suffered an accidental side effect so 1 am forever a eunuch?
Yours faithfully BERNARD P.J.CROWE Bradford
From K.H. Kavanagh
Sir, Your description of the Guardian newspaper as an "antiCatholic publication" (June 23) falls short of the truth. As 1 understand it to be "anti-catholic" is to be opposed to the Catholic or Roman Catholic Church and to Catholics ; surely a permissible stance in a pluralist society. However, the tone of the Guardian attack upon Cardinal Winning and Ian Massow's bilious attack upon Ann Widdecombe, including snide remarks about her rosary beads, go far beyond rational challenge. They have the hallmarks of a phobic reaction and while opposition is good and stimulating, phobias stemming from irrational fear often lead their sufferers where they would not wish to go.
Have pity on the Guardian mentality and take heart from the fact that the proudest royal house are but as yesterday, when compared with the line of Popes. The Catholic Church is still sending to the ends of the earth, missionaries as zealous as those who landed with Augustine and still confronting hostile rulers as she confronted Attila. There is no sign that her energy is diminishing particularly in those continents in which the future appears to lie.
Yours faithfully, K.H. KAVANAGH Bedford
Is Brindley wrong?
From Mr Dave Taylor
Sir, Brian Brindley (June 29), "with all the zeal of a covert for his new found faith", assured us that though the Archbishop of Canterbury "sees receiving communion together as a means towards unity, we [Catholics] see it as a sign of that unity when it is achieved".
As a cradle Catholic, who vividly and joyfully remembers his preparation for First Communion fiftyseven years ago, I can say with confidence that Mr Brindley is wrong. I learned then that the very definition of a Sacrament is that it effects what it signifies.
Whether talking then about the Tridentine Mass or now about the current liturgy, the drop of water in the wine at the Offertory signifies the unity of the lesser (us) in the greater (Christ in His Real Presence).
There is (and perhaps has been since the triumph of discipline over love at the Reformation) at least a theory-practice inconsistency here. It has been made tolerable by love of the Church, but it is surely time to insist that this must come second to love of and in Christ, who prayed that we might be one in Him as He is in the Father.
Yours sincerely DAVE TAYLOR Malvern Link WR14 2RZ
From Mr Neville Edwards
Sir, The Anglican Articles of Religion do not actually deny the doctrine of the Real Presence as Fr Colin Barker asserts. Article 28 contradicts the doctrine of Transubstiation, but defines the presence of Christ in the Sacrament as held by the reformers.
Article 31 is directed against the belief that Christ is offered afresh in the Eucharist , and that forgiveness depends on that offering rather than on the sacrifice that our Lord offered.
The use of the plural should be noticed here —" the sacrifices of Masses ... were blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits". The Article does not deny the doctrine that the Eucharist is a sacrifice in which Christ's death is pleaded before the Father.
Yours faithfully, NEVILLE EDWARDS Diss, Norfolk
From Ms Margaret Flynn
Mr. Hovers (June 22) states that "The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate are being shamefully rejected by Thomas McMahon, Bishop of Brentwood".
I fully endorse this; unfortunately. I attend a Catholic Church
in the diocese, harshly re-ordered, where to the further sorrow of parishioners, there have been no Masses for four weeks, since January. except on Sundays, due to our parish priest's absence.
There is a shortage of priests, but it seems to be a band wagon, some making use without justification.
Yours faithfully, MARGARET FLYNN Hornchurch, Essex
From Mrs F.L.Brooks
Sir, Our Cardinal mentions the deep unease lying at the heart of western civilisation today. Pope John Paul also spoke of it. Alexander Solzhenitsyn called it a " 'spiritual exhaustion', — men have forgotten God".
The Cardinal, in his 12th June lecture surely brings it home to us. The description of a practice in orthodox monasteries at the end of night prayer when each monk says goodnight to the Abbot (Father) and receives a kiss of love and forgiveness, shows us what is missing.
I have long considered the synod of Whitby as mistaken in giving Rome supremacy over monasteries in their jurisdiction. Indeed, I feel sad when I think of St Basil, the great Doctor of the Church, becoming a Bishop after having laid down the rule for eastern Monasticism.
I felt much the same, too, after Basil Hume became a Bishop, after having been an Abbot, although of course, most Benedictines du own the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome.
Does nobody give any thought to God's promise on the mount to His chosen peculiar people? or to their daily need for protection from Satan's wiles, in their families, and as St John's great prophecy says? (Ex. 19,6; and Revelations) Yours faithfully, FREDA BROOKS Lowestoft, Suffolk
From Mr Adrian Dulston
Sir, With reference to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor's speech published on 22 June 2001. The speech was incisive and showed much reflection.
1 am still amazed that priests, bishops, and perhaps the Cardinal himself, do not attack one of the main sources of society's ills. Perhaps it is a too bitter "pill" for the current generation of bishops to swallow. 1 talk of course about the contraceptive mentality amply referred by the Pope (Familiaris Consortio etc.). When the 'pill' was offered to society in the 60's some well known clergy and religious welcomed it, some even going to Rome to protest at its rejection. Can they now not see how contraception is linked to abortion, euthanasia, and cloning? Why are we not demanding that contraception machines are removed from college toilets? Why is there silence in premarriage preparation courses over the Church's teachings on contraception? Yes, it will take more than fine words to change this generation, rather we should be like Cardinal Winning, and be prepared to speak out, although in the matter of contraception, even that holy man, did not have much to say; yet, exposing contraception for the barrier to love that it is, would greatly help society make a decision for God...or not.
Yours faithfully, ADRIAN DULSTON, Henbury, Bristol, BSIO 7HZ