By a Staff reporter
Right-wing traditionalists from major Christian churches, often opposed to ecumenism in the past, came together last week to fight Left-wing influences in the churches.
The Christian Affirmation Campaign, with representatives from the Catholic, Anglican and Methodist churches, summed up their programme in the following resolution:
"We, at the inaugural fleeting of the Christian Affirmation Campaign, recognising the humanistic and Marxist infiltration of all denominations of Christianity, as well as of the World Council of Churches, unanimously resolve to promote and work for the recognition of the Divine Christ in Christianity and our obligation to proclaim His gospel." Mr Bernard Smith of Gidea Park, Essex, a Catholic and secretary of the group, said the campaign had the support of
the Catholic Priests Association, whosc right to use the title "Catholic" has been questioned by the hierarchy. He thought the members would agree that modernism and Marxism were the greatest threat to the churches, especially the Catholic Church. He said the campaign had no formal constitution and was not quoting membership figures.
Mr Smith said the campaign had the support of Fr James Tolhurst of "Faith" magazine and he assumed members of Pro Fide would also back the group. He could not say what the Campaign's next move would be. "We will be planning strategy and policy," he said. "We have had no opposition at all, but many letters congratulating us on our stand,"
John Braine, the novelist, who has joined the Campaign, said it was the first duty of a Christian to save his own soul, not to engage in political activity, such as protests against injustice in South Africa. He
said he thought the Church was being taken over by the Left Wing and one should note how those who so often protested about South Africa failed to protest about Communist injustices.
The Catholic Institute for International Relations had shown itself highly selective in its protest ;, he said, and he dismissed !heir volunteer programme helping poor countries as "completely useless". What was really needed were "reasonably uncorrupt" Third World governments.
Asked if he was not seeing "Reds under the bed," he replied: "They're in the bed", and described the WCC's support of guerilla movements.
He denied that dialogue could take place between Marxists and Christians because their motives were so different. "You cannot have dialogue, meaning discussion, unless you share certain beliefs," he said.
He said Pope John was "essentially wrong and in error" when in his encyclical "Pacem in Terris" he said Catholics could co-operate with others, in certain positive measures "even when these measures have taken rise and inspiration from the false theories."
Neither Mr Smith nor Mr Braine saw the lack of support from bishops of any Church for the Campaign as a disadvantage. Neither of them sees the Campaign as likely to cause further divisions in the churches and Mr Smith said that if it helped polarise people's stand on certain issues "so much the better".
The Catholic members of the campaign are opposed to the WCC, the CIIR, the ideas of Fr Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, modern catechetics, Mrs Rosemary Haughton and Mgr Bruce Kent, Catholic Herald columnist.