Page 5, 6th November 1964

6th November 1964
Page 5
Page 5, 6th November 1964 — 'OBJECTIONS TO ROMAN CATHOLICISM'

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Sir,-1 am not surprised to learn that Fr, Charles Davis finds hay contribution to "Objections to Roman Catholicism" a "morass of unintelligibility". Emerson pronounced an eternal truth when he declared that the mind of man remains for ever closed to premature ideas". Disclose a new and creative formula to a non-scientist. he said, and it still remains a secret. It is both published and not published.

The divine Master likewise declared to his listeners: He who has ears to hear, let him hear". But no doubt this statement would qualify Our Lord himself as a gnostic in Fr. Davis' eyes!

If your reviewer's mind remains closed on this matter, then it is of no possible use to argue the case with him. Others have read my essay and found it relatively easy to follow. They have "ears to hear", and it is to them, that my essay is addressed. Fr. Davis'. somewhat facile assertion that I "despise the laws of reason" was thoroughly answered by me during the course of a long controversy on Scholasticism published in your columns some three years ago; and I have

no intention of replying again to this resurrected old parrot-cry.

As regards St. Thomas' intellectualism, 1 am willing to concede that he is the best among the authors—the best, that is to say, as to a bad lot! Had Aristotle enjoyed the benefit of the Christian revelation he would have done much better. This is not to say that I do not reverence Aquinas as a saint Moreover his work is useful providing we bear in mind his peculiarly "essentialist" +hewpoint. I would like to add that I regard the charge of "irresponsibility" which Fr. Davis levels at Archbishop Roberts as distinctly "temerarious", particularly in view of the fact that the Archbishop is widely regarded as ranking with Pope John himself and Cardinal Bea as "one of the recognisably saintly figures in the modern Church" (cf. Geoffrey Moorhouse writing in The Guardian, October 29). And how can your reviewer accuse Margaret Coffin of "judging revelation by reason"? Revelation is only a superlative insight into what we already know naturally; and I believe Mra. Goflin possesses this insight to a

high degree, despite the fact that she was not trained as a theologian.

Why this scholastic dichotomy between reason and revelation? it is absolutely fatal to the ecumenical goal set before us by Pope John; and constitutes an insuperable barrier to any genuine dialogue between the theologians and the scientist. Finally may I say that nothing could be more beside the mark than Fr. Davis` concluding statement that the contributors to "Objecions" do not "worry about the problems which confront contemporary man regarding Christianity itself". I should have thought it only too obvious that this is the prime worry of the contributors, and indeed Michael de la Bedoyere states as much in the Introduction:— The "whole point of this book is to break new ground in the spirit of Pope John", and thus find a means of "rejuvenating the ancient Church and bringing it into line with the values, spiritual and temporal, of the 20th century". Could professional prejudice go further in overlooking this obvious aim?

• G. F. Pollard.

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