TONY SCOTLAND LOVES plainchant ("Bring Back the Roman Rite today", Catholic Herald, 24 February) but he damages his case by using arguments which are gravely flawed, unnecessarily offensive and even irreverent. For example:
1. Pope John Paul's considered opinion that "the reform of the Liturgy is strictly traditional and in accordance with the 'ancient usage of the holy Fathers". Mr Scotland violently disagrees with the Pope. His opinion of the present rite of Mass is that "One thousand years of living tradition not just the appurtenances of the Church, but its very substance have been willful, wantonly , shamefully cast aside".
2. Mr Scotland is also gravely irreverent and offensive about Holy Eucharist when he dismisses our rite of Holy Mass, during which "by the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about", and which the Holy Father himself celebrates, as "pumping your neighbour's hand, a constant babble of Brookside English and the whole claphappy pantomine of con-celebration".
How different to the Pope who has asked us "to give thanks to God. ..for the instance participation of the faithful by prayer and song, gesture and silence, in the Eucharist".
3. Mr Scotland's view of the church is gravely flawed. He seems to envisage a dictator Pope imposing his personal preferences on all other believers by edict handed down the ranks.
The Pope and Bishops serve God and His people. We work with each other in the college of Bishops which, always in union with the Pope, succeeds Peter and the Twelve. Similarly, from the beginning, priests and lay people have worked with their diocesan Bishop. To deride that obedience and respect as submissive is offensive and foreign to our traditional Catholicism.
4. He claims that the Pope wants the old Roman Rite back and says it's time he did it. Yet the Pope has written about the revised Roman rite that "the seed was sown...it is a matter of the organic growth of a tree becoming ever stronger the deeper it sinks its roots into the soil of tradition".
+ Hugh Lindsay Retired Bishop Hexham and Newcastle
COMMUNICATION AT Mass can be enhanced by good music and inspiring ritual, but not by a return to the use of Latin. Tony Scotland's efforts should be applied to seeking improvement to the English Liturgy rather than urging a return to the obscurity of Mass celebrated in Latin. David Andrews