letters to the
Taking the devil seriously
From the Vicar of St Barnabas, Beckenham
Fr Ed Tomlinson is absolutely
right to take the Church to task for its coyness about exorcism [ND August]. His
experience also chimes with mine. I well remember a post-ordination-training
session in the Chichester diocese with the then diocesan exorcist, Fr Dominic
Walker OGS, who told us about the cases he'd dealt with in his work. But as the
talk proceeded it gradually became apparent that he believed the distresses of
these unfortunate people had little to do with supernatural powers but were
essentially psychological in origin. He certainly did not mention any rite of
exorcism, and as Fr Tomlinson says, Common
Worship has not made good this omission.
Like him too, I am more than
willing to take seriously Bishop John Broadhursts proposal that the Devil is
active in Church House. But I have heard it said that the reference was just a
rhetorical flourish. I hope the Bishop will take the opportunity to write an
article for New Directions developing his analysis in order to correct that
impression. [See page 17] The psychological reductionism Fr Ed rightly deplores
in his article is not the only way of trivialising this important subject.
The Vicarage, Oakhill Road,
Bishop Dave did it first
From Mr John Dearing
The new liturgies
combiningbaptism and marriage proposed by the Church of England [ND Comment,
August] seem to fulfil at least in part a satirical sketch by the late, great
As I recall it, the scene is
the commencement of the Marriage service at which the Revd Dave is about to
marry an elderly gentleman and a heavily pregnant lady of more youthful vintage.
He launches into the marriage service, when suddenly the bride goes into labour
and, in apparent
defiance of the principles set
out in Genesis 3.16, promptly gives birth. The resourceful clergyman immediately
launches into the Baptism service, whereupon it is all too much for the elderly
groom who expires on the spot. It is hardly necessary to describe the priest's
Perhaps in tribute to its
progenitor the new combined service should conclude with the benediction: 'May
your God go with you?'
27 Sherman Rd, Reading RG1 2PJ
Be more robust
From Miss Juliet Hole
When I received the August ND,
I hoped to read some robust comment about the withdrawal of the Communion wine
from CofE congregations. But there was nothing, other than some flippant remarks
under the heading 'Rubrics!
It is a deeply shocking affair
which overturns clear Anglican teaching, damages individual worshippers and
displays a church permitting secular imperatives to interfere with her
sacramental life. Those hurt take Scripture and church teaching seriously, and
it is disappointing when ND can come up with no other response than flippancy.
Not for the squeamish
From Mr Anthony Kilmister OBE
I was intrigued by the book
review in August's ND which refers to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's
resignation in 1963 on grounds of ill-health. Macmillan had convinced himself
that he was suffering from cancer (which was not the case) and having suffered
acute urinary retention in October 1963 a retropubic prostatectomy was performed
by Mr Alec Badenoch, a leading urological surgeon of the day.
Macmillan was delighted to
have a chance to resign from the Premiership on medical grounds at a difficult
political time though there was, in
Music for the soul
From Mr Alan Edwards
In his perceptive devotional
article in August's ND, Gareth Jones commented that, in pursuing the ascetic
life, he passed up on the chance of a Country & Western CD for his birthday
and settled instead for socks.
Such stern asceticism deserves
reward this side of the Heavenly Country. Could I suggest that next year he
tactfully refuses socks -barefoot is an ascetic tradition - and asks his family
to buy him Alan Jackson's CD Precious
Memories (ACR Records USA).
Spiritual refreshment as well
as a birthday present. Among the classics on the CD are 'Blessed Assurance,' 'I
love to tell the story,' 'Standing on the promises' and 'I want to stroll over
heaven with you.'
Singing along as I type.
From the Chairman oftheJBCT
The John Bishop Charitable
Trust is currently preparing a short teaching course on the contemporary theme
of Bishops. In launching this venture we are pursuing one of the aims of the
trust, to foster right relationships with the Roman and Orthodox Churches in
these difficult times.
The course will be available
on our website (at present being rebuilt) where it can be downloaded and printed
or copied to disc as desired. Our target audience is mainly parish priests of
our own integrity, as we envisage the course being used in parish groups (though
not exclusively so).
The object is to strengthen
the faithful laity with a simple and clear
The text is being written by
Fr Charles Card-Reynolds and Fr Ian Forrester, who are trustees of the JBCT and
parish priests of experience and ability - as you probably know. The course
should be up on our new website before Christmas.
I will give more precise
details nearer the time, but I would be glad if you could share these initial
plans with your readers.
From Mr Antoine Le
Thank you for publishing the
whole of that fateful Resolution D025 from the recent General Convention of The
Episcopal Church [August p. 20]. From the way it had been commented upon in the
secular media, one had supposed that it was a straightforward,
Instead we find a seven-stage
procession, laden with touchy-feely, apple-pie support for the Anglican
Communion, and the final 'decision about those called to the episcopate left (of
course) in the hands of the Holy Spirit. It is so cleverly worded, it is not
immediately obvious where the objection lies. Whatever else these people are,
they're damned clever!
From Mr John Wetherell
Thank you for the wise and
balanced commentary on the inception of the Anglican Church of North America and
its future prospects by Fr Warren Tanghe [August]. Fr Tanghe is uniquely placed,
as a participant in almost all of the negotiations, to bring together the
constituent parts of the new province, to be the historian of those events.
One factor to which Fr Tanghe
did not allude, and which I venture
English Anglicans have not,
for the most part, been as concerned about liturgical niceties as their American
cousins. But the 1979 Prayer Book in the American Church contributed at least as
much as the ordination of women to the disaffection of traditionalists.
What a tragedy it wouldbe if
the new province, having negotiated the rapids of women's ordination, foundered
on a trans-Atlantic version of Prayer Book Fundamentalism. I fear it is a
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