From Dr Peter Hodgson Sir, While it is certainly appropriate that the Catholic Herald should give prominent coverage to Papal Apostolic Letters and Encyclicals, it is regrettable that the last word in your front page report last week should be given to the predictable complaint of a
notorious disident theologian, instead of to some explanatory comments on the timeliness of the Apostolic Letter.
Over the years the popes have provided a series of authoratitive addresses on a wide range of subjects that deserve wide publicity and faithful commentary. Thus in recent years the present pope has supported the activities of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and has commended scientific research in a wide range of addresses to scientific meetings organised by the Academy. These subjects of papal addresses have included energy and humanity, the nuclei of galaxies, biologoical experimentation, the protection of the environment, the responsibilites of scientists, the impact of space experimentation on mankind, cosmic rays in interplanetary space, science for peace, chemical reactions and the environment, tropical forests and the conservation of species, science for development, and resources and populations. It will be noticed that these subjects range from pure research projects to matters of urgent concern to us all. They provide incisive and critical comments on present policies, and deserve careful study and effective action.
The conclusions of these meetings are highly authoratitive and are often used by the Holy See in its contributions to international conferences. Thus some years ago the Holy See based its contribtion to a conference organised by the international atomic energy agency on the conclusions of a study week on energy problems that urged that the peaceful application of atomic energy be extended without delay to all developing countries.
More recently. the Holy See has made influential contributions to international conferences on a wide range of pressing medical problems. The problems of the environment have received sustained attention in recent years. This shows that the papacy is not only concerned withth internal ecclesiastical matters but is costantly addressing worldwide problems of central importance to the lives of people everywhere.
Yours faithfully, P E HODGSON Corpus Christi College, Oxford