IT WAS GOOD tO see the heading "Pius XII, a warm and charming Pope" in Letters to the Editor (Catholic Herald, 19 August).
Perhaps the time has now come to credit him with the pastoral reforms at least as significant as those that followed the Second Vatican Council: evening Mass, the abridgement of the Eucharistic fast and the restoration of the Easter Vigil.
Until thcse reforms (dating from 1955 and 1957), the only way a Catholic with a job was able to get to a weekday Mass was by going early in the morning before leaving for work (probably skipping breakfast), unless he worked near one of the city centre churches which put on a midday, lunch-hour Mass. Even so, unless he had fasted from the previous midnight, he would not have been able to receive Holy Communion (similarly a drink to welcome
in the New Year ruled out communicating on New Year's Day the Feast of the Circumcision and a Holiday of Obligation).
And I well remember as a teenager getting up for the Easter Vigil ceremonies on Easter •Saturday and savouring the ludicrousness of hearing the Exultet Haec nox est, de qua scriptum est: Et nox sicut dies illurninabitur at lam on a spring morning!
Compared with those that came later, Pius Xll's reforms, particularly the eucharistic ones, were welcomed by Catholics as practical. They could get more often to Mass. Later reorderings of ritual and architecture were largely seen as the enthusiasms of the clergy and the Church; fascinating for those interested in such things, but really of little importance to the Catholic living his life out in the world. gohn Farrell Bristol