WITH THE appearance of nuclear weapons in national defence programmes and the disastrous economic effect of the military build-up, a big question mark must be placed alongside the assumption that God supports the wars of men in a seeming just cause.
This assumption may appear harmless since it cannot change the true nature and operations of God, but it is giving some Christians a false sense of security and preventing them from seeking spiritual alternatives in line with their Christian profession.
Armed combat has certainly halted aggressors but destruction breeds destruction and every war can sow the seeds of the next. Also, in the aftermath of modern war there is little to choose between the comfort of the victor and thedefeated.
We are still paying a price for the first world war, and if we ignore our present opportunities to save ourselves and future generations from the scourge of war we will continue to languish in the Waterloo we have already created. We have no hope of economic recovery unless and until humanity has been extricated from the military trap into which it has fallen.
In today's circumstances, God is more likely to be found on the road leading to the United Nations goal of general and complete disartrnament which represents the only real security and economic well-being for every nation.
An obvious first step is to improve international relationships so that the necessary political will for implementing disarmament will be forthcoming.
Here in Europe wetieed to replace the enemy relationship between the socialist and the capitalist countries with friendly intercourse on the mutual advantages of disarmament, in spite of current differing viewpoints on extraneous matters and the existence of diametrically opposed political systems. According to its priority disarmament measures must begin now.
In a Europe united for this purpose every .'country could immediately scale down its defence budget, releasing large sums of money for urgent human needs in its own country and in outside poorer lands. It could also influence other areas of the world to enter the disarmament field.
This policy may be unthinkable to those who know far more about the things of this world than about the things of the spirit. But it represents the true nature and operations of God in a world which has a spiritual as well as a physical foundation. The spiritual forces will thus surely find their way 'through appropriate channels at the appropriate time.
Loyal citizens in Britain who are swimming in the spiritual stream will be hoping that their country which in the past has produced spiritual initiatives in human crises will recognise and rise to to-day's spiritual occasion in international affairs.
Edith Hedger London SW10.
Calling the 'pot cracked
T FIND it somewhat disturbing that the Auxiliary Bishop of Lancaster should classify as "crackpot" the aims of a group of Catholics whose objectives are to uphold the truth as taught by the Catholic Church and
the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff to teach it.
Interestingly enough on September 25 the day of the "crackpot" meeting in Preston. The Daily Telegraph reported "a new initiative from the bishops of England and Wales" in the shape of a "multicultural, multiracial and multifaith curriculum in religious education" promised for "the next generation of Roman Catholic primary school children".
Incidentally, I did not chair the Pro Ecclesia et, Pontifice Meeting at Preston. That honour fell to my namesake, Mr David Crane, Lecturer at the University of Durham.
Paul Crane, S J London SW!.
AS A MEMBER of Pro Ecclesia Steering Committee I must protest most strongly at Bishop Pearson's description of us as "crackpots" with "outrageous views" and at his astonishing statement that it is "utter rubbish" to say that we seek no more than the teaching of authentic Catholic doctrine. I for one will resign forthwith if he can substantiate any of these statements.
K P Platt Sanderstead SO THE Bishops of England and Wales are in total disagreement with the 'crackpot' aims of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice organisation and have no time for their outrageous views.
What are those views and aims?
Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice may be unrealistic and somewhat unwise in some of its aims and views. I am, however, certainly not aware of any of its stated views which would in any way contradict the teaching of either Vatican II or Papal pronouncements since.
(Fr) L. Kovacs Stapleford Notts
BISHOP PEARSON'S remarks re "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice" should be considered in conjunction with the other report which appears on the same page in your edition of October 1 — namely the one on the Tablet article claiming that a gallup poll revealed that most Catholics in this country "ignore Rome's binding authority".
Mabel Jones Liverpool IT WAS interesting to read that Auxiliary Bishop Pearson considers the views of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice to be outragous. I was present at the meeting in Preston. I heard the meeting express its revulsion at the evils of abortion, state its firm allegiance to the Holy Father and call for a return to Catholic orthodoxy in catechetics. Are these sentiments to be held outrageous?
SJ Beaumont Leeds.
Who are the Irish?
IN REPLY to Mr Gorant, Sept 24, the 1921 Anglo-Irish "Articles of Agreement for a Treaty" were freely accepted by a majority vote (64-57) of a democratically-elected Irish Parliament.
Similarly, Northern Ireland has remained separate from the Republic, not at the point of a gun, but because it was, and is, the wish of its people to be part of the United Kingdom.
If and when they vote to join -the South", HMG will not stand in their way.
It may be claimed that the people of the North are British immigrants who have no right to be in Ireland. Many of them, however, are descendants of people who have lived there since the twelfth century. It is worth reminding ourselves, also, that immigrants from the commonwealth living in this country have full citizenship rights, any attempted denial of which is (rightly) denounced as racism.
Further, one is entitled to enquire: Who are the 'Irish'? They are, in fact, descendants of immigrants from Britain, Gaul, and other parts of Europe who settled in the island between the 1st century BC and the 5th century AD, after conquering and subjugating the indigenous population. Dublin, Cork and other Irish cities were later foundations of the Vikings.
In addition, St. Patrick himself was British, having been carried off to Ireland from the Severn by slave raiders. Indeed the Roman Catholic religion — even more so than the English language — is the most enduring British cultural export to Ireland.
The Falklands war was a necessary defence of the right of a small, defenceless community to live in freedom and security, safe from the bullying of opportunist, adventurist Spanish colonialists (who should have remembered 1588).
A Horton London W7
Relations with the Holy See
IT IS always a delight to read Dom Albetic Stacpoole's pieces. If only we could hope to give him equal pleasure when current (*dal files are thrown open to public Inspection in due course!
Reciprocity is always an important factor in diplomatic relations. In sending a special mission to congratulate Pope Benedict XV on his election in 1914, Britain was reciprocating the special mission sent by Pope Pius X four years earlier to attend the Coronation of King George V.
One young diplomat sent on that mission never forgot it. At the reception given by H M Minister to the Holy See in 1935 to celebrate the Silver Jubilee, the toast to the King was proposed by the Cardinal Secretary of State, who mentioned with pleasure his participation in the 1910 mission to the Coronation.
Four years later, that Cardinal himself was to be crowned with the tiara as Pope Pius XI.
A G L Turner London N10
FRANCES MacGuire has difficulty in reconciling the wealth of the Church with the poverty of many of its members, (September 24).
Much more difficult to reconcile, however, is the dissemination of materialist doctrines with Catholic schooling. As well as promoting eternal values, Catholic teachers are obliged by a secular educational establishment to inculcate into their charges the transient values of worldly success.
Children, slow on the uptake to absorb these latter, are manipulated, coaxed and admonished that if they do not pass their examinations, they will suffer the stigma of failure. No hell-fire preacher condemning the unrighteous to everlasting torment ever proselytised his congregation with as much fervour.
Toleration of the display of material in churches is bad enough, but how do yop defend the forcefeeding of the innocent with ruthless competitive materialism?
No wonder many impressionable youngsters, once they leave school where worship of the God of Love and surrender to the cult of Mammon are part of the same package, reject as an irrelevance a Church so apparently unsure of the true nature of its mission Cyril Myerscough Twickenham THANKS for publishing the article "Wealthy Church and the eye of the needle," (September 24) by Frances MacGuire. It was grace for me.
(Fr) Denis Herlihy Altrincham Cheshire THERE IS a serious question asked of every Christian living in the affluent West, (or North, if you prefer). How can we followers of Christ continue to live so comfortably and wastefully when so many fellow human beings live in hunger and poverty?
Many priests and laity are wrestling with this problem, and with their own consciences, and need encouragement, guidance, and, above all, quiet discussion with others. Frances MacGuire's article, September 24, is no help. It just muddies the waters.
Although she is aware of the problem, as so many are, she sees it posed only to the pastoral clergy. The teachings of Christ apply to all his followers, priests and people, and all of us should take his words to heart, and do our best to live by them.
Though I have lived and worked in a number of parishes over the years, in city, town and village, there has always been a financial struggle, both parish and personal.
But there is always the question with which I began this letter. Is it enough merely to live simply, with only what seems necessary for the work, and health; to give what one can (and more), to the deprived of the world, or should we, clergy and laity, in this country, give a much more striking example of what it means to be some of the Lord's "little ones"?
Kenneth Snaith St Dunstans Presbytery Canterbury Kent
The Pope and Arafat
THE POPE'S visit to England inspired and strengthened many thousands of Catholics, including my own family.
We saw him as a great man of peace and compassion, a man above politics, a true disciple of our Lord and the Blessed Virgin. But my heart filled with awful foreboding when I saw him receive that hated terrorist, Arafat, whose hands are tainted with the bloqd of innocents.
Arafat is supplied with Russian, Libyan and European armaments which are aimed at the destruction of Israel. He calls for a just solution for the Palestinians, a people weaned on terror, violence, revenge and fanatical hatred of Israel. A people nurtured by the internecine rivalries of the other Arab nations. The PLO National Covenant states: (Article 19) The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of the State of Israel are entirely illegal and (Article 21) The Arab Palestinian people reject all solutions which are substitutes for the total liberation of Palestine. In other words, the non-recognition of Israel and its ul tim ate destruction.
Our Mother Church. has over the centuries, a terrible record of persecution of the Jewish people. They have, without reason, suffered greatly. Yet they still must fight for the right to exist even in their own land.
M Cooper Wembley, Middlesex.
Anniversary of CCJ
From Canon Douglas Webster THE COUNCIL of Christians and Jews is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year. Our Founding Fathers were Archbishop William Temple and Chief Rabbi Hertz, shortly afterwards to be joined by Cardinal Hinsley. The holocaust was taking place in the Nazi concentration camps.
From the beginning the aim of the 'Council has been to bring together
the Christian and Jewish communities "in a common effort to fight the evils of prejudice, intolerance ands discrimination between people of different religions, races and colours, and to work for the betterment of human relations,
based on mutual respect, understanding and goodwill."
The events of this year underline the urgency of this work still far from finished. We are now making an appeal to the general public for the first time. We are fortunate and encouraged that Gerald Priestland, the noted broadcaster and commentator on religious matters, has agreed to make the appeal for us.
We especially urge as many of your readers as possible to listen to The Week's Good Cause on Radio 4 (long or medium wave) on Sunday October 17 at 8.50am.
Douglas Webster Chairman of the CU Executive Committee Canon and Chancellor of St. Paul's Cathedral
Seriousness of sexism
IT IS unfortunate that "No Move on Sexist Liturgy" gives the impression that the Catholic Information Office and church leaders are unaware of the growing discontent among some Roman Catholics concerning the sexist language in our liturgy.
Serious discussion and debate on this issue has in fact been going on in thinking Roman Catholics circles for some years now.
There are increasing numbers of women and men who are deeply offended by the use of exclusive language in our public worship.
Such language witnesses to the painful fact that women are an oppressed group in a Christian community which from its earliest conception was intended to be free from all inequalities.
Much of the problem resolves around the fact that our church is a male dominated institution. It is difficult for many of our male leaders to enter into the oppression which can only be deeply experienced if one is on the receiving end — i.e. a female.
But we recognise that we are a pilgrim church. However inadequate and blind we may be, our hope is in the spirit of God who calls and leads us to ever greater freedom and justice.
Maria Gabriel General Director, Volunteer Missionary Movement, London. Colney, Herts.
WITH reference to Mrs. Hazel Naughton, October 1, the Church has survived through the centuries because of its teaching authority, and likewise the Church's authority is essential for the survival of charismatic renewel.
Too many people in the Renewel are doing 'their own thing' and unless guidelines are given mistakes will be made.
The Holy Spirit has to deal with the frailty of human nature and people fail to realise that development in the spiritual life is a slow step by step procedure.
There is no such thing as instant holiness and until many in Renewal realise this mistakes will be made such as in so-called 'counselling' which should be done only by those who are expert in this field.
Laurence Kennedy Beckenham.
Condemnation of Nazis
WITH REGARD to the Jews during the second world war I wish to point out that my brother and myself both owe our life to a Catholic Organisation in Holland which saved countless young people (Katholiek Huisvesting Committee) and in the same way the Catholic Caritas movement in Germany tried to save my mother, unfortunately in vain.
I have a distinct memory that, during the Nazi period in Gemany a letter or encyclical was read in the German churches. I remember it was much talked about because it was the first time something like this had been issued in German. Can you enlighten me?
Mrs Lone Bolwell The encylical referred to was Pius XI's Mit brennender Sorge Issued in 1937 — Editor.