Example and help to unity, says Pope
BY A STAFF REPORTER
POPE PAUL confirmed to a Consistory of Cardinals in Rome on Monday that the 40 English and Welsh martyrs—"heroes of the Christian faith"—would be canonised on October 25.
Rejecting the view that the canonisations would place a new strain on relations with Anglicans, the Pope said: "In the long. arduous journey which leads to the unity of all Christians, these blessed martyrs will be able to give manifold and great help.
"The martyrs offered an example of true Christian charity. One cannot regard without emotion how, in a time when religious controversies amused so much hate, these heroes of the Christian faith showed a complete lack of hatred. "It is not our intention that by this canonisation sorrows be renewed or cause be given for mutual' disrespect and accusation. On the contrary, it seems that this event gives to all the outstanding opportunity of admitting humbly their errors and expressing their sorrow and likewise of thanking God that we see in our day great progress in the restoration of Christian unity.
"In a special way they gave outstanding evidence of a sincere faith which is entirely foreign to false contortions in very holy matters. By this sincere faith one manifests personal persuasion without fear. It is this which is the necessary condition of every true and fruitful ecumenical dialogue."
The martyrs were men and women of different states of life, who did not hesitate to sacrifice their lives in obedience to thessvill of God and the dictates of their consciences, "thus giving an outstanding witness to human dignity.
"We trust that they may contribute to the promotion of true ecurnenism and the efficacious protection of true values on which rest the real peace and prosperity of human society?'
In a Pastoral Letter for. Trinity Sunday, Cardinal Heenan says: "People may ask you: What is the point of canonising the Blessed English Martyrs? Obviously it is not to help the martyrs. They are already enjoying 'the vision of God in heaven.
"The object of the canonisation is to help not the martyrs but ourselves. Their example is just what we need at the present time. These men and women gave their lives to defend the truths of the Catholic faith and the authority of the Vicar of Christ. It is because the Pope's authority IS now so often attacked that a reminder of the loyalty of our Catholic forefathers is so opportune.
"I hope that parishes, schools, clubs and! societies will pool funds to send. some of their members to Rome in October. No doubt there will be week-end pilgrimages so that, if necessary, people can be back at work on the Monday.
"The canonisation will not revive religious bitterness. The new-found friendship between Christians will prevent any renewal of old controversies. While we thank God for the glorious memory of our martyrs we do not forget that some Protestants also suffered death for the sake of conscience in the 16th century."
Mr. Michael de la Noy, Press Officer to the Archbishop of Canterbury. said that Dr. Ramsey was not expecting an official invitation to attend the canonisation ceremony.
He paid tribute, however, to the courtesy and understanding which Catholic authorities in England and Rome had shown towards the Anglicans over the canonisation proposals. They had realised that Dr. Ramsey's presence at the ceremony would offend a number of Anglicans and on balance would do more harm than good..
He was speaking at a news conference at Jesuit headquarters after the announcement from Rome. He had been invited to give the Anglican point of view. It was announced that a number of non-Catholic churchmen would be invited to the ceremony but names would not be announced until acceptances had been received.
A statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury, York and Wales said: "In these days of ecumenical progress we Christians should not look back too much to the conflicts of the Ibth century. When we do look back we should have penitence for much that was done and should reverence an on either side who died for the sake of conscience.
"We can also link them in our thoughts and prayers with those who in this day and in many parts of Christendom are still resisting tyranny or oppression, or who are still being persecuted because of their Christian faith." On November 29, 1969, the Archbishop of Canterbury said that he felt the canonisations would be harmful to the ecumenical cause and "would encourage those emotions which militate against the ecumenical cause."