WE are getting an overdose of narrow-minded, muddled-thinking critics of Norman St. John-Stevas. Elizabeth Rayneau (April 25), for example, is being quite unfair in her judgments. Taking her letter point by point: 1 Surely it is through the dissentient voice that we come to understand the truth. 2 It is a fallacy to believe that bishops and priests are "the only people who can bring the essence of our religion to us." 3 I imagine Mr. St. JohnStevas uses the weapon of prayer as much as most of us. At least we cannot prove that he doesn't. 4 Mr. St. John-Stevas has never patronised bishops or priests or anyone else with whom he disagrees. 5 Certainly the bishops need Mr. St. John-Stevasand precisely in the way in which he is expressing himself.
By his honesty, clear thinking and good writing, Mr. St. John-Stevas is doing valuable work by stimulating us into greater awareness of our responsibilities as Christians. And I have never yet found him uncharitable in his writing. K. M. Davy Penarth, Glam, IAM sure that Fr. Flanagan
would not willingly traduce even those he does not agree with. Your readers must read "The Laity Commission Speaks" as a whole before deciding whether the commission is "dangerous."
But the exact quotation he alludes to in his letter of April 25 reads: "There is always the danger that because of his sacramental functions the priest is seen only as a man set apart for the service of God." The implication of this is very different from Fr. Flanagan's misquote.
The Laity Commission is hardly "uncontrolled." It is a sub-committee of the Episcopal Conference; and has a bishop as president.
Philip Daniel London. S.E.I.
AS long as preparations are being made for indiscriminate war by nuclear or chemical and biological weapons, we must continue opposing them. To remain silent or inactive in the face of such evils means acceptance and
shared responsibility for them.
Neither is it sufficient to condemn them in the abstract or in the seclusion of our churches. Only concrete non-violent actions can help to break the fatal chain of ever-escalating violence.
Bernadette Devlin's example has demonstrated what can be achieved by a single individual who is prepared to come into the open and condemn evils that seem irreformable.
Christian CND is holding an
ecumenical march Aldermaston to Salisbury via Porton over the Whitsun weekend. Rise and walk before it is too fate! Contributions and further details : Hon. Secretary, C.C.N.D., 29 Great James Street, Lon d on, W.C.1.
Fr, Simon Blake O.P. Chairman, C.C.N.D. St. Dominic's Priory, Southampton Road,