JV THORNTON will be disappointed, I expect, at having had no response as yet to his request for readers' views on how necessary it is for 'lull membership" of the Church to accept belief in de fide doctrines (Catholic Herald, August 28), a question prompted by reading Hans Kung and one well worth pursuing, I think.
For it brings us right up against the present mood of dissent, often virulent, that has followed Humanae Vitae and Vatican II. Indeed has not this mood been likened before now to be the slump in faith in the wake of Nicea (AD 325) when, to recall St Jerome's caustic summing-up, "The whole world groaned to find itself Arian"?
So the answer required, I venture, is a return to basics — a return, say to the council's Lumen gentium, with its assertion that "The universal body made up of the faithful ... Is incapable of being at fault In belie?'.
I trust some pointers may be allowed to the Council fathers' teaching on the role of the Holy Spirit, as when "from bishops to the last layman" (St Augustine) the people "show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals, a discernment of faith roused and maintained by the Spirit of truth", a process that takes place "when the People of God ... accept not the word of men but what really is the word of God".
I conclude that to choose not to be so guided is to produce chaos: a contradiction of beliefs and loyalties that can harm not help.
Stuart Mackenzie Cheltenham