THE Catholic Church's position today is "utterly unprecedented in living memory", said Cardinal Heenan last weekend. "The great power of the laity has been released," he said, "and I thank God for it"
But the Cardinal also said that the Church was going through a crisis of authority, as people were no longer prepared to be told what to do.
Addressing the annual dinner of the Fisher Society in Cambridge, the Cardinal warned that during the period of the Council there was a possibility of a cleavage growing between clergy and lairty, and between the hierarchy and educated Catholic laity.
Some people, he said, imagined the Bishops were out of touch. This was facile: they were very much in touch. They had the responsibility to guide God's church.
On the liturgy, Cardinal Heenan said there were people who said why not go the whole hog and have everything in English, and others who said why lake away their beloved Latin.
The Bishops were doing what they believed to be right and they looked to the laity, and increasingly to educated Catholic laity, to support them, REBUILT
The Cardinal then said that Fisher House, the Catholic chaplaincy to the university, must be rebuilt. The centre has finally been reprieved by the Ministry of Housing after a 15-year fight against being demolished.
Since a development scheme for the I.ion Yard area in the city centre was first debated the future of Fisher House has been in danger. Now plans approved by the Minister of Housing, Mr. Richard Crossman, exclude the chaplaincy from the Lion Yard scheme.
"Thank God wisdom has prevailed and Fisher House is not to be destroyed," said Cardinal Heenan. "But when I saw that chapel at the twelve o'clock Mass today I thought how unworthy of this university and of this society is this nsiserable little chapel.
'Therefore, without delay, we must build a new chapel and a new chaplaincy worthy of the Catholic undergraduates of this university. I want to assure you that the hierarchy will give every possible support to your plans for the future."
Later he added: "One of the reasons why I can pledge the support of the hierarchy is that I believe that together, and only together, we can do great things for the Church of God."
The society's president, Mr. John Oliver, of Churchill College, said an amalgamation of the men and women's Catholic undergraduate societies might not be far off. If the Margaret Beaufort Society and the Fisher Society came together it would be another reflection of the trend towards greater unity in the Catholic community.
Authority and Freedom — Page 4 Fr. Haring and Authority — Page 10