letters to the editor

 

No more dunking

From Mr J. Stephenson

I cannot say I've liked this swine-flu-precaution communion-in-one-kind response from the CofE. It all seems a bit silly and unnecessary, especially when we all shake hands after the service anyway. But I hope that obedience and loyalty bring their reward, even as we are ridiculed for being cowed by the Elf and Safety Brigade.

But there is one silver lining. It may, please God, finally rid us of that awful habit of 'intinction,' the Dunkin' Donuts approach to Communion, which has been a liturgical abomination. Ginger Nuts in a cup of tea is one thing (and can be the subject of mock-earnest dissertations on morbidity and cohesion) but the same exercise with the Lords Body and Blood? Surely not.

This form of intinction may have seemed A Good Idea when introduced in the Eighties; two decades later it seems frankly revolting. May it die a death.

James Stephenson

<jamesstephenson@live.fr>

 

Searching long lost hymns

From Mr Malcolm Kemp

As a musician in the Brighton area I have a particular interest in traditional Anglo-Catholic hymns and, though your kind offices, I wonder whether any readers can throw any light on - or, better still, provide me with copies or photocopies of- any of the following. Some are in the British Library but previous experience of that institution is that getting copies of anything takes for ever and costs the earth. Alban H. Baverstock, A Mary Hymn Book [published by Talbot, c.1932, 40 pages approx.]

Graham Street Supplementary Hymns [published by Magdalen Press, London, 1930] James Walenn, Melodies to Certain Hymns (St Alban's Holborn) [published by W. Knott, 1898] The Parish Supplementary Hymnal - I can find no mention of this anywhere except that it was the source of many office hymns in "The English Office' which CLA issued for the Society of SS Peter and Paul. Like the English Catholic Hymn Book, it begins with No. 801 but has a different numbering system.

The Catholic Supplementary Hymn Book (words) [published by Moring Ltd.] -1 have the music edition but not the words. Again, it starts from 801 but the words numbering is obviously different from the ECHB and the Parish Supplementary Hymnal. I  gather  that  someone  re-issued the ECHB a few years back but I can find no mention on the internet of its being available for purchase. Given the paucity of the words and music of much present-day Catholic hymnody, I should have thought churches would relish the opportunity to introduce this book or replace worn-out copies. If anyone can give any help please contact me by email. If eventually I am able to produce anything worthwhile I may aim to produce a short booklet on the subject.

Malcolm Kemp <malcolmkemp@bearroad.fsnet.co.uk>

 

Is you is or is you aint?

From Mr Steve Vince

I have been reflecting, perhaps too long, on the important point made by Fr Alan Cooke in his letter in the August issue. He writes, 'We must surely be careful lest we give the impression that our chief priority is to be in union with the Holy See as soon as possible; because then our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters, to say nothing of our Anglican ones, cannot be blamed for asking why we do not just go ahead and do it.'

He is quite correct. The Anglican ones' are already asking just that, and by no means only from the point of view of the women priests/ bishops question. We simply cannot understand how a coherent and vocal group of our fellow-Christians who are teaching Roman Catholic doctrine, and using the Roman Catholic liturgy and calendar, can manage the very considerable mental and theological gymnastics to persuade themselves that they have a future (or even a present) in the Church of England.

They surely have no chance of convincing the rest of the Church that they represent the true Anglican position when the evidence is that their position is not Anglican at all.

Steve Vince 13 Selwyn Close, Wolverhampton

 

They still read it

From two former contributors

In recent issues of New DIRECTIONS, Thomas Seville CR and Canon Hervé have been suggesting that the present is paradoxically' a very good time for Forward in Faith members to be in the Church of England.

May two former New Directions contributors simply add that, non-paradoxically, they find it rather a good time to be in the Roman Catholic Church also.

John Scott, Stuart Seaton

<jdsl952@hotmail.com>

 

Let's get on with it

From Fr Ernest Skublics

I am running out of understanding for endless years of Catholic rhetoric, co-existing with expressions of loyal determination to remain, if they'll only have us, till death do us part, in the Church of England, which obviously has no intention of reversing its consistent progress away from the Catholic Church.

Since my second retirement I spend part of each year backhome in Canada, where of course I can have nothing to do with the Anglican Church. But there is the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, part of the world-wide Traditional Anglican Communion, which has already submitted to Rome and is only awaiting the working out of arrangements, whereby what is worth salvaging from the Anglican tradition will be kept, in communion with the Holy See.

Why can we not simplyj oin the move to restored communion in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and get all this schismatic and dissolute mess of Henry VIII behind us?

 

Ernest Skublics < ernestskublics@hotmail.co.uk>

 

 

Geographical anomalies

From George MacArthur

Soundings in both Scotland and Wales indicate that in both those Anglican provinces there is a mood to reject the proposed Anglican Covenant. If such a rejection came about then surely the intellectual bankruptcy of the so-called doctrine of provincial autonomy will be apparent to all.

There is an understandable national outcry when it is claimed that the provisions of the NHS are subject to a postcode lottery.' It is rightly seen as absurd that mere geography should determine the availability of treatment. How much more absurd that geography should determine orders and doctrine!

Orders exist to express and effect true Communion, and the episcopate in particular is charged with the responsibility of safeguarding in each diocese the doctrine and morals of the world-wide church. Only by such means   can  faithful laypeople  have confidence in what is taught and proclaimed. Off as Dyke and Hadrians Wall are symbols of the divisions of a darker age. They are not - and cannot be allowed to be - barriers to true fellowship and sound doctrine.

Robert Runcie memorably said of the divisions created by the unilateral ordination of women in the United States that what was tolerable when the Atlantic intervened would be intolerable within the Church ofEngland. A similar principle surely applies to doctrinal divergences within the British Isles. We need to ask what is special about provinces (based, as they are, on devolved political units) which does not, for instance, apply to individual dioceses or self-selected diocesan groupings. Why should not Chichester and Blackburn embrace the Covenant, and Chelmsford and Liverpool reject it?

It must appear to all but the most sanguine observers that, far from cementing unity and fellowship among Anglicans, the proposed Covenant will merely accentuate and deepen existing divisions.

George MacArthur

24 Holly Road, Broughty Ferry

 

An optional necessity

From David Fenton

I do not share the anxiety of some about the recommendation of the Archbishops that the common cup be discontinued for the duration of the swine flu epidemic, but I am concerned at the lack of uniformity of practice. The final decision on the matter seems to have been left to parish clergy. As a catholic Christian I understand that this is not an issue of eucharistic doctrine, but merely of local discipline; but discipline there mustbe. Variations from parish to parish are confusing and inevitably distressing to some. And if the guidance arises from medical necessity, there can be no justification for matter being left in the hands of individuals who are in most instances not medically qualified.

My own viewis that the Archbishops' directive was a gross overreacfion. But I am not an expert either!

David Fenton

fentszell@googlemail.com

 

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