IT WAS GOOD to read your wise and forthright leaders (Catholic Herald, February 27 and March 6). They brought to the notice of the Catholic Community the urgency of the present international nuclear debate.
The crucial issue, as you see it, is the lead given by the Bishops. This is too much a matter of "political pragmatism" and too little a matter of prophecy.
Is it not time that all Christians in this country proclaimed what the Bishops Conference of 1983 stated: "Deterrence ought to be regarded as a temporary measure and a stage towards multilateral disarmament."
If it is only as a "temporary measure" that deterrence is acceptable, then the least the British government should do is to respond positively to Russian disarmament proposals. Better still, we should reduce our own stock of weapons.
I, like many others, am grateful for the Christian witness of Mgr Bruce Kent, the modern prophet. Let us hope that the English Bishops have the courage to follow where he has bravely led.
Dom Philip Holdsworth OSB St Benet's Hall, Oxford.
• THANK GOD and your Editor for the two splendid Leaders (Catholic Herald, February 27 and March 6), on peace, armaments, morals and politics!
We Christians in CND are doubly grateful to Mgr Bruce Kent for his sacrifice — long may his voice be heard. He has of course been very busy speaking "from the ranks" for years but why should he not speak on occasions from the pulpit even though he has given up his pastoral work?
Mgr Bruce Kent is still a priest and not contravening any doctrine. He is therefore authorised to speak on matters relating to morals and thus on the nuclear question — clearly moral as well as political. Fr Owen Hardwicke makes this abundantly clear.
Mgr Bruce Kent would of course have to be invited to speak in a church since he no longer has a parish. My guess is that plenty of invitations will be forthcoming.
Clare Hourihane Bournemouth • WITH THE departure of Mgr Bruce Kent, is it not time that the Catholic Church faced its ambivalence on the whole concept of peace and war?
From the time of Constantine, involvement in war and violence have been quite acceptable to Christians in the name of 'justice', 'crusading' or 'righteous anger'. To our lasting shame, non believers have associated us throughout history with aggression and authoritarianism.
If we had continued to practise the apostolic church's gospel based attitudes to peace and violence, we would not now, after 2,000 years of Christian heritage, be calmly accepting the threat of a nuclear holocaust, with the manufacture by thousands of men and women, some of them Christians, of the most appalling weapons, including chemical, ever conceived.
We are such an immature church that we can applaud bishops criticising priests working for the poor and disadvantaged as being 'too involved in politics,' while an Archbishop is allowed to remain active on high level in the most squalid of modern politics, international banking.
Today we have the tragic spectacle of Christians throughout the world supporting war, making wars, ignoring or acclaiming huge weapon arsenals, and supporting the nuclear deterrent — all in the name of peace!
Far from praying for the Mgr Bruce Kents of this world, wagging heads over the naughty boy of politics, we should be asking him to pray for us that we might be released from our hypocrisy.
Miss Pearl C Penrose Southend-on-Sea Essex