SIR,—Speaking for this part of the world as I know it (I am n a
British subjeot who has lived in California for many years). I believe the liturgical chaos deplored by Fr. Basset in your issue of January 29 to be every hit as shocking and painful here as that which he describes. The •dd thing is his apparent surprise. To those of us who, from afar, recognised the Tower of Babel that the vernacular would set up, the confusion is no worse than we expected.
After two months of the new liturgy, it is clear that many Catholics are deeply unhappy with it. A recent opinion poll taken by the San Francisco Chronicle bears this out. No doubt the objections raised vary little from place to place, at least in English-speaking lands. A dignified English translation would diminish the number of people who would welcome a return to the Latin. The lack of peace is stressed and variously attributed to the hymns, the restless "bobbing up and down", the switching hack and forth between English and Latin, the "regimentation". ("There's never a quiet moment", is a frequent comment.) And distaste is felt to the current fashion of speaking of the Apostles as simply "Mark" and "Luke" which may be, for all I know, just a fad of the local clergy. (Now and then, St. Paul is referred to as "Blessed" as though he were not yet canonised.) Many who suffer from the new Liturgy strive to accept it. Some of us cannot do so — this writer is one. While there are young people who share our views. we are mostly in our fifties or older, frequent or daily communicants for long years who look upon the Mass as the hub and centre of our lives cannot bear to see it stripped of so much of its beauty and dignity. We can still, with grateful hearts, attend a high Mass in Latin with Gregorian chant on Sundays and, now and then, find a Latin Mass on weekdays. But we know the situation is precari The new Mass with its vernacular may be "the wave of the future" but does it have to be a tidal wave? With still more liturgical changes ahead, we ask whether. even now, a more gradual approach could not be adopted and a choice left open to the faithful between the old and the new? We do not question the decisions of the Council Fathers. Rather. we beg for a change in the method of their implementation, for a period of transition to be allowed. In parishes where there are six or more low Masses on Sundays and Holy Days, could not at least two — one early, one late — be in the old liturgy? On weekdays, in churches which have two or more Masses, could not one be in Latin? And in parishes where there is only one daily Mass. could it not be in Latin on alternate days? If some such arrangement could he made and maintained for — say — the next 20 to 3() years (a negligible period in the life of the Church) it would take care of most of the older people. At this time, when charity and tolerance towards non-Catholics and even non-Christians are being so widely preached and stressed, surelythe Church's own children may expect, also, to receive a measure of kindness and understanding?
Our B'shops hold the authority to amend or adjust the pace of liturgical ,change. Will they not, in charity, allow us older Catholics the time to die in the peaceful following of the Liturgy we love? Or must we face the choice between attending services which afford us more pain than peace. more disturbance than devotion, or, as only and bitter alternative, (4 abandoning the practice of our faith?
(Lady) Claude M. Kinnoull, Carmel, California.
PILGRIMAGE Sir,--In view of the vastly improved relations between the Anglican and Roman Churches and the various joint services held during Unity Week, would it not now he possible for us to go one step further, to show that our intentions are really sincere and not mere lip-service to an ideal?
The step I have in mind is the fulfilment of the rather nebulous idea that was Suggested some time ago -joint Anglican / Roman pilgrimage to both shrines at Walsingham, to pray for Mutual charity and final unity. This would, I know, involve invitations from Anglican to Roman organisations and vice versa, and various permissions would have to be obtained, but this work in itself would be a rewarding ecumenical exercise.
Alward Fitzpatrick, Nottingham.
Sir,—Perhaps you will allow me to comment briefly on the reaction of "Four Priests" to my question concerning moral law, freedom and authority.
My understanding has always 'been that for a Catholic who wishes to remain within the Church the right to freedom of expression, in matters of faith and morals, is not absolute. In other words, it is limited by God's revelation and laws.
At the risk of sounding harsh, I incline to the view of St. Thomas Aquinas that a Catholic who disagrees fundamentally with the Church has, unhappily, the duty to leave her. In this way he could exercise his right of freedom of expression without harming or compromising the Church.
By all means let authority fight views it does not agree with by better arguments. But surely authority also has a duty to apply the laws concerning censorship, just as wc, both cleric and layman, have the duty to obey them.
I can assure "Four Priests" that, in my experience, few things are more destructive of a resolve to live within God's law than books and articles from influential Catholic sources, suggesting that such-andsuch authoritative teaching is reversible, that what is now taught as intrinsically wrong may be permissible after all.
L. G. Owens London, N.W.I.
Sir,—May I be permitted to express my sincere gratitude to all the good people who replied to my letter (asking for correspondence with a rationalist) in your issue of January. 29, 1 received 29 letters by Monday February 1.
I wish I could answer all at once, but unfortunately it will take time. Seventeen people, including three priests, accepted my challenge: twelve others. including one priest, who wrote me a most moving letter, took the trouble to offer me their hest wishes. To all many thanks Arthur M. Rump, Hove 4, Sussex.