letters to the editor
From Fr Rodney Marshall
I am grateful to my Colleague, Fr Paul Cartwright, for his article about the Romero Centre at St Helen’s, Athersley [ND June 2011]. As he rightly points out, this Project, serving one of the most deprived areas in our country, has suffered, like so many other Projects through government cut-backs. The Project is struggling financially to survive. It is good, therefore, to be able to report that following the article in ND, we have received an anonymous donation of £1000. This may not seem much but will keep the Project going for one more week and that could mean an awful lot to a desperate person. We offer many thanks to our donor and are praying that there may be many more out there in ND land who might be able to help us survive.
Fr Rodney Marshallfathermarshall.firstname.lastname@example.org
Too much Romanizing
From The Revd Jonathan Redvers Harris
I understand the difficulty in terminology for a magazine which caters largely for a readership which sees the Church of England as still part of the Catholic Church, and yet also has readers who have recently left the Church of England to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. But I am not sure the difficulty is overcome by, in the case of the latter, adding the word ‘Roman’ – a term often used negatively, although required in some cases by the law of our land.
Andy Hawes’ article last month on the Anglican Association’s booklet Is the Ordinariate for you? illustrates this nicely, when it speaks of ‘the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church’ which is not, of course, its title. The Catechism is not only for the Roman Church (the western Latin Church) but serves as a point of reference for the Eastern Catholic churches too. It is with this entire Catholic Church which those of us, through the Ordinariate provision,
have entered into full communion. Yes, ritually, we are part of the Latin Church – the Apostolic Constitution makes that clear – but to describe us as having ‘become Roman Catholics’ is not quite an adequate account, and one that perhaps fuels old suspicions and maybe even the occasional prejudice.
Jonathan Redvers Harris
14 Argyll Street
Ryde PO33 3BZ
Keep your friends close
From Mr Gregory Fordham
I was very pleased to read Major Wilson’s second letter published in your May edition. I much appreciated the apology for unintended hurt which might have been caused. I am now a Roman Catholic having crossed the Tiber three years ago at Easter. I think that the main point that Major Wilson was making was that of loyalty and to many of us members of the older generation this is important. I would want it to be known that I do not consider that leaving for the Roman Catholic Church was an act of disloyalty. Many of us who have left have demonstrated their loyalty to the Church of England and had it severely tried even before 1994. I was intending to leave in 1994 and had started instruction with 25% of the congregation that were of a like mind. I was church warden of my parish and my parish priest who also was leaving asked me to stay on as warden to try and ensure pastoral provision for the remaining 75%. When I agreed to this I had no idea what I was to experience or how long it would take. I shared my Vicar’s concern for those that remained. We were in a liberal diocese and the future looked uncertain for them. I can only say that I had both a simply dreadful time and an incredibly wonderful time. The interregnum went on for far longer than was good for a parish. When eventually the living was restored more than ten years later I had to take stock of my position with regard to Rome. During the time of the interregnum, I had had
almost no social life that was not to do with the parish, I spent more time on parish matters than was good for my business, which suffered. I had lost a lot of money in providing my services free for the Judicial Review Action taken in the name of myself and my fellow warden and I had been exposed to a serious risk of losing in costs to our opponents which I would not have been able to pay and thus risked my livelihood and my home. On the other I had the privilege of preparing many adults for confirmation, many still in the Church of England and members of FiF: working with the leaders of our youth organisations and the real sense of belonging to each other as we worked for the building up of the parish. Not surprisingly, after all that I found it very difficult to make the decision to leave even though in conscience I believed that it was right thing to do. It took me a couple of years. I was reluctant to leave friends of many years standing and above all I felt deeply as I had in 1994 that the Church of England was my birthright, the Church in which I first realised my calling to be a Christian and learned about the Catholic Faith and the Church to which I had given so much of my time and not just in the recent past. It was and is painful. I have thought about all of this a great deal. One thing I learnt, and it would help if all people learnt, regardless of which side taken on the issue of women in the priesthood and episcopate, is that the Church is not a personal possession or a members’ club but belongs to God. For those that stay and fight I would advise that it is your friends that can hurt you more than those you oppose.
26 York Road
Kingston upon Thames
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