NORMAN ST. JOHN-STEVAS (Nov. 20) states that the reason that Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer were not canonised along with the 40 Martyrs was that "ecumenism has not advanced sufficiently far at this moment to allow it."
I think Pope Norman could recap on the piety of Archbishop Cranmer's life. Here are a few of the highlights he could meditate on.
1. Cranmer gave Henry VIII a divorce from Catherine of Aragon.
2. He was excommunicated many excom many excom municated wonder how municated Saints there are).
3. He was a bigamist. Having taken a vow of celibacy, he secretly married in England, then went to Germany and married another.
4. He condemned to death Protestants for not believing in transubstantiation.
5. He condemned to death Catholics for .believing in transubstantiation.
6. He gave King Henry another divorce.
7. He condemned to death Protestants who did not believe in the same kind of Protestantism as he, 8. He committed perjury three times.
9. He plotted to put Lady Jane Gray on the throne and so prevent the rightful heir, Mary Tudor, from being Queen, to save his powerful position and neck. 10. When condemned to death, he wrote six recantations, to save his life, but when of no avail he recanted of his last recantation, made only nine hours before. I think that if Mr St JohnStevas studies his history, he will find that Ridley and Latimer, although quite virtuous compared to their Archbishop. were more attached to things of this world than the next.
And the Forty Marts? Their only ambition wasyr to save other souls, and for this they gave their lives.
A. L. Cookson London, S.W.10.
IN his zeal for ecumenism, -11feel that Mr. St. JohnStevas has overstepped the hounds of credibility somewhat. by suggesting that the Pope should canonise Thomas Cran mer. He was certainly martyred for his faith during Mary's reign, but I am under the impression that he finally committed himself only after two recantations. Earlier, his support for Henry's claim that the latter's marriage to Catherine of Aragon was invalid — a view opposed to the conclusions of the cream of current theology — led to immediate preferment at court and the start of an extremely successful career, which casts doubt on his motives at once. In these days when the Pope and all the hierarchy are constantly warning us that the morality of following one's conscience is entirely dependent upon that conscience being an informed one, Thomas Cranmer seems. to put it mildly, an extraordinary choice for elevation to the ranks of the Saints.
Helen Hecht (Mrs.) Henley-on-Thames.