ECENT events in the JIAL Church have served to highlight the deep-rooted problems inherent in the attempt, initiated by Pope John XXIII, to bring about an aggiornamento in the Church. One thing that is above all essential to such a renewal is the sort of freedom for open and sincere discussion that seemed to be becoming possible at the time of the Second Vatican Council.
We do not here wish to assert any particular opinion about Hurnanae Vitae. but we. do view with concern the apparent fear of openness that has been revealed by the reactions of some authorities towards those priests who have felt bound in conscience to express dissatisfaction with that encyclical. We are also concerned to note that there is no clear indication of the volume of support there is among priests and religious for what has been called an "open Church."
While we are very much opposed to solving the Church's problems by the creation of parties or factions, we believe that the number of such priests and religious is very large, and so that some idea of these numbers may be made known, for the good of the Church in this country, we ask them all to communicate with The Reverend Secretary, "Open Church," The Catholic Chaplaincy, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, 3.
We do not ask anyone to commit himself or herself to any specific views about current problems; only to a belief that the health and future of the Church depend on our ability to dispel the fear of change, of frankness, of freedom.
Anselm Hurt, OS.B., Monk of Downside and parish curate Guy Braithwaite, O.P. Prior of Blackfriars M. Couve de Murvilie Sussex University Chaplain J. D. Crichton parish priest Cornelius Ernst 0.P. Regent of Studies, Blackfriars John Fitzsimons parish priest T. A. McGoldrick Liverpool University Chaplain Sebastian Moore parish priest and Monk of Downside Conrad Pepler, OP. Warden of Spode House Peter Ryan parish curate J. R. Wiekstead Abbot of Caldey.
A good priest
F R. F. P. SMITH has ex , pressed righteous indignation in unequivocal terms on behalf of very many whose patience under the self-assured attitude of Norman St, JohnStevas on matters which to the majority are settled and unarguable, is now exhausted.
Inevitably he comes under attack himself by those who hold up their hands in horror when anyone calls a spade a shovel.
A good priest, which I well know Father Smith to be, will always defend his faith and his flock. If he dies for them he is venerated hut if he speaks up for them he is castigated.
There is no doubt that oneside-effect of the virus qf protest now endemic throughout the world is narrowed in a clamour of disloyalty and disobedience to the teaching and the person of the Vicar of Christ.
For us to behave as big boys now who draw caricatures of teacher on his own blackboard is a mark of adolescence and a sign of decay.
That is what Father Smith in his own words has been saying. Jerome Burrough Oxford.
A bad Press
MGR. GIBNEY has had a bad press. When I saw him on a BBC Television news film, and heard him say that Fr. Weir "would not matter," the interpretation I put on it— which still seems reasonable— Was that without a pulpit and congregation Fr. Weir's teaching effort would be hampered.
I took to mean that outside the official ranks of the clergy his efforts to reform and persuade the ecclesiastical policy to change would have little value and effect. Both observations seem true and sensible rather than malicious or condemnatory.
T. M. Hinds Abingdon, Berks.