I.ris more likely that the Abbot of Downside has been badly reported than that the author of "The idea of the Church" has been converted to the discredited Branch Theory.
Like your correspondent Martin Ward, I came to the Church by way of Methodism and Anglicanism, in that order, and have every reason to be grateful for what 1 learned from both of the positive Catholic teaching which still remained in their syetems.
But I should have thought that neither Mr. Ward nor I could have become a Catholic if we had not been convinced that the Catholic Church, presided over by the successor of St. Peter, is indeed the single, visible association created by Our Lord.
The possibility of the reconciliation of other, human associations with the Church of Christ. as contrasted with individual conversions, must surely depend on the structure and unity of the organisation concerned.
The Caldey community became a Catholic community. and there is no intrinsic reason why larger groups should not similarly be reconciled. But there must obviously be a readiness for the full Catholic Faith, worship, practice and authority. What possible alternative is there: reconciliation would be meaningless without such unity. We. on our part, could willingly assimilate customs and traditions of great value to the whole community and at the same time be ready to abandon come of our own less attractive habits. I confess that my reading of the non-Catholic Press provides no ground for optimism.
am sorry your correspondent has a contempt for C.T.S. pamphlets and the C.E.G. There are many who owe their faith, under God, to those sources. Of course, neither is intended for the professorial intellect. but St. Paul somewhere has something to say about the use of "foolish" things, Ronald Flaxman I wonder if you would publish a letter from an Orthodox layman in your excellent newspaper?
It may be of some interest to those Catholics who have been defending the traditional and firm attitude of their Church towards heretical bodies, that they are not alone and that many Orthodox christians also feel uneasy about the so-called "charity" of compromising the unique position of the One Church (whetherone believes it to be the Catholic or Orthodox one).
We also suffer from the division between "conservatives" and "progressives". and we too can associate the former with implacable opposition to communism and the enemies of Christ's Church and the latter with a willingness to compromise with evil on the ground of Christian Arc we to end by condemning the I .1thers of Last and West who were so outspoken on all forms of heresy, religious and social? Are we to accuse them of lack of charity?
Many Orthodox also view with alarm the fact that scorn is poured upon Cardinal Ottaviani in the press and that no notice is taken of the Uniatc Ruthenian Bishops who have experienced life in the Soviet Union, and it is no coincidence that both are outspokenly anti-Bolshevik.
Charity and Unity on both Catholic and Orthodox sides arc not served by compromising truth or ignoring shameful persecutions but by honesty and sincerely held convictions.
J. M. Harwood Mrs. White asks me (along with the Abbot of Downside—and may I say how delighted I am to be pilloried along with him?):
"Is it necessary that. in order to demonstrate fraternal charity towards our separated brethren, we have to water down our beliefs?... Of course not. I challenge her to quote anything I has c said which can bear such an interpretation.
When I express the hope that we may be permitted to join our separated brethren in non-Eucharistic services. I base this suggestion on the truth that all baptised Christians—whether Catholic or not are baptised into Christ. have a share in the Christ-Life. This is a fact which we must insist on and express as clearly and emphatically as possible.
That being so, there seems absolutely no reason in principle why some common fonts of worship, incorporating this idea. should not be accepted. There arc. alas, differences of doctrine in detail. which is why, for example. we cannot share in Communion services.
But I believe that some worship together. limited to forms which will not imply any "nate ri lig down" of our beliefs. should help us to see where and why we differ and will thus enable us to clarify our minds and help towards that greater understanding of our problems which is a pre-requisite for further progress.
it is at once illogical and unChristian to treat our fellowChristians as we treat unbelievers.
T. Corbishley, S.J. Farm Street Church.
I hope that those needing help in the determination of the fertile and infertile times will not be discouraged by the letter from "Catholic Doctor" in your issue of 1st November.
Against his personal experience and, one fears, that of patients he may have advised, must be set the experience of thousands of couples who have been successfully helped by the Medical Advisors of the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council.
May I offer to him, and to other doctors both Catholic and nonCatholic, the invitation to visit us, and the opportunity of studying our techniques. and of helping to find a solution to this most difficult human problem.
Dr. P. F. E. Brown Medical Advisor Chairman, Medical Committee, London Centre.