Sm,-Henry Edwards has, I think, put his finger on the greatest
obstacle to the conversion of England. It is an axiom deeply
rooted in the English tradition, that life is larger than logic, and although one can with difficulty convince an Englishman by a process of reasoning, it is almost impossible to persuade him that he should translate that conviction into action.
It is hard enough to convert an agnostic to Catholicism but it is far more difficult to convert a Protestant. When I told my college chaplain (a High Anglican) that I was about to be received into the Church he said that he was very glad to hear it; that he was sure I was doing the right thing and he often wished he could " change over '' himself, but-he loved the Church of England. I knew exactly how he felt. If more Catholics would appreciate the emotional wrench which converts from Anglicanism have to make they would understand why conversions are so few. The English are a sentimental people who, instead of thinking, " feel," who regard the National Church as the supreme example of common sense and compromise (even if they are not members of it) and who are by temperament disinclined to indulge in logical thought. Therein lies their political strength, but it is a real hindrance to their conve-sion to a Faith which is based on Reason as well as Revelation. At present Our efforts at conversion are based largely on logical argument which few Englishmen will use in this connection; am sure that we shall never succeed unless we appeal to the emotion, the poetry and the love of this romantically obtuse race.
j. A. C.
SIR-I wish to record, if I may, how salutary and useful I consider your leading article, " Why is Unity Delayed?" (January 16). You mention some of the reasons why our fellow-countrymen remain outside the Church (that she is too foreign, too centralised, too clei icalised, etc.) and as a result of many discussions with separated brethren," 1 quite agree with you that these reasons constitute great stumbling-blocks. Is it, I wonder, too much to expect that something could be done, on a high level, to diminish these obstacles ? There is, I think, another impeding mason that you do not mention in your leader, i.e., the Catholic record of intolerance, harshness and persecution. Memories of the Inquisition. Bloody Mary, etc., die ex
ceedingly hard and the intolerant rule of various Catholic sovereigns
and governments (such as those of some of the Bourbons and tiabsburgs) are not forgotten. Moreover, in our own time Fascists and Phalangists have grown up and flourished in Catholic soils. In short, many outside the Church doubt our sincerity when we stand foal' as champions of liberty anti when Catholics are persecuted the nonCatholic attitude is only too often one of: " It serves them (the Catholics) right; they are just as bad as their rivals when and where they get the chance." In your admirable leader you also pointed out that non-Christians are somewhat cynical regarding the difference between Christian theory and practice. I only too often find that non-Catholic Christians are appalled by what they see abroad (especially in the "Latin " countries) of Catholicism in practice. It would take up too much of your valuable space were I to enlarge on this subject. but I must own that when in certain Catholic countries I have myself been filled with disgust at what 1 have seen and not seen. Presumably there is a conviocing answer to the question: " Why are not Catholics more frequently and more obviously better, as they should be, than non-Catholics ' I wish 1 knew it.
G. F. C.