NORMAN ST. JOHN-STEVAS, in his article of January 5—"Rules are needed: but love is greater than law"— gives your readers an unwholesome, undigested mental "plum pudding" in which most of the ingredients have not been sufficiently prepared and cooked to serve up to your readers, who deserve better fare. May I be permitted to comment:
1' favours a mercy-killing -IL of all lawyers, including canon lawyers. But lawyers are merely the experts on the laws made by others — the legislators. Mr. St. JohnStevas is an elected member of the highest law-giving body of this country—Parliament. Should he not be logical and resign his seat?
If he favours the abolition of law and what he calls "legalism", I feel that your readers will understand him as being a "Nihilist" or tin "Anarchist".
1—He confuses the more sub
" lime way of observing a law—through the motive of "Love"—with the only way that is possible. He is taking the "ideal" as the general thing, and he is thus living in an illusion. He should advocate in Parliament that the police force should be abolished as citizens will observe the laws of the land from "love".
The words of the "pop" song, "Love is all you need", must have a great appeal to him. One would think that the Creator would know the best way to entice His creatures endowed with free will, to conform their wills to His designs, and that He would not have made harsh and severe laws for them that involve a "must".
But the physical laws of nature and the moral laws as contained in the Ten Commandments do not leave their observance to any sentimentality so often known as "love" in the world of today.
3—it is when he comes to deal with the Eucharist that Norman St. John-Stevas gives the greatest offence to the readers of the CATHOLIC HERALD. He favours the remarried divorced person receiving Holy Communion, as this Sacrament "is the food of our souls; it is a means by which sin is overcome and we are led to virtue" This teaching is of course directly contrary to the teaching of the Council of Trent on the nature of the Sacrament. It is the Sacrament of the living, presupposing the soul of the recipient is already living the supernatural life of sanctifying Grace. Must this 'de fide' doctrine now be changed, or has the Church been teaching an error?
How does Mr. St. JohnStevas imagine that this doctrine, which springs from the very nature of the Sacrament, can be changed at the decision of a bishop, as in the Anglican Church? Is material food given to a corpse? Can the Body and Blood of Christ be given to a spiritual cadaver? The Church (Council of Trent, Session XIII, cap.8, c.11) says emphatically "No." Mr. St. JohnStevas says "Yes." Who is right?
Mr. St. John-Stevas's article is so riddled with errors—e.g. "Holy Communion is a reward for virtue, but is it"? "One cannot dismiss a second marriage (during lifetime of legitimate partner) as mere adultery", etc. etc. that it would take more than a letter to refute them.
It is a pity that readers of the CATHOLIC HERALD today have to be given such heretical and dangerous ideas as those contained in this article.
The letter from a Miss Pauline Molloy on your issue of January 5, which is published alongside Mr. St. JohnStevas's article could be profitably read by all. Could I respectfully suggest that Mr. Norman St. John-Stevas writes on political matters and leaves essential Church matters to those whose profession it is to study them?
Please, Sir save the Church from further confusion and give a thought to bewildered souls who must suffer still more from this type of article.
John Flanagan (Fr.) Polegate, Sussex.
TT is my firm belief that Pope Paul could end the war in Vietnam instantly if he said that all those Catholics taking any further part in it would be excommunicated — along with priests giving the soldiers the sacraments.
Catholics who refuse to fight for this reason, even at the risk of being shot, would have the consolation of knowing that they would be martyrs and die in good faith.
W. Grogan Leeds, 14.