Regarding Dr Coggan's plea from the pulpit in Westminster Cathedral (Catholic Herald, January 27), may I make a point that seems to have been lost in the current welter of talk. possibly because it has had a long way to travel,
1 he Sovereign Pontiff addressing God-fearing men and women throughout the world has said repeatedly that shared Eucharistic Communion is consequent upon unity and is its consummation; that it is not to precede unity nor be subjected to common manipulation in the hope that unity may one day come about. Unity therefore is the indispensable condition for shared sacramental Communion — not the other way about!
Faith is a free gift of God who may grant it or withhold it as He pleases. Any convert to Catholicism will know the difference between having it and not having it. Some receive it in early life, others only at the hour of death, others, for reasons known to God alone are denied it.
He will not he stampeded or brow-beaten. His gift is strictly 'not negotiable and He is completely unmoved by letters to 1 he Limes, However. as in the case of Cardinal Newman, Ronald Knox, G. K. Chesterton, Vernon Johnson and a host of others too numerous to numerate, He will always be at home to the prayers of the humble man whom He will never turn from His door.
My uncle Stephen Eyre-Jarvis of Saint Etheldredas, Ely Place, London, used to say of a Church of England clergyman friend of his: "We agree on everything except religion." Would it not be better therefore if Roman Catholics, differing as they do fundamentally from their fellows on points of theology, were to stop playing games and to 'come clean'.
To continue on their present course surely only raises false hopes that must end in disappointment,
resentment, and possibly enmity so
that the last stale will be worse than the first.
Catholics and non-Catholics should be true to themselves. Catholics should be one hundred per cent behind the Holy Father, but unhappily there are those among us who by their wrongheaded flirtations with the left, show quite clearly and unashamedly that they are not.
Douglas Brice C SS R Clapham. Catholic communities, made in Westminster Cathedral.
To stimulate the move towards unity. Catholics who are ecumenically minded should ask their bishops for special permission to receive Communion at Anglican altars and vice-versa on specific occasions, for instance unity retreats, pat ronal lcasts, etc.
Today. I believe, God is calling us to a new situation. Are we like the Jewish people. the Chosen People, who became so set in their ways that they were unable to recognise God's new initiative when it came? Today the Churches — all the Churches — are at the crossroads.
As Cardinal Newman said: "To be ever one and the same. to be ever changing, both together, one as much as the other, is its normal state. It is by change that it perpetuates its identity."
Joe Maguire Crosby, Liverpool.
I hope that this is one of many letters you will receive, in my case suffering from "delayed shock", at reading the report of Archbishop Coggan speaking in our Catholic Cathedral and, in doubtless wellintentioned, arrogance, asking that "Rome enter into full communion with the Anglican Church"!
Of course, we do not know what the immediate reply of Cardinal Hume was to this quite extraordinary proposal, and I do not know whether or not he has already
replied publicly or will he doing so; but I would beg him to point out to Archbishop Coggan, with charity but in strongest terms, that it is the Anglican and dissident Churches which must make the return to the main body of Christ, and repair the "torn garments". and that there can be no other way.
Ecumenism, like charity, can be false; and in recent years, alas, we have seen more of that than of the true variety. But there comes a time when to allow our separated brethren to continue in their erroneous impressions gained from modernist "dialogue" would be uncharitable and treacherous to Christ.
I am also astounded that in the whole of that, presumably, large gathering in the Cathedral, apparently not a single person felt moved to get up and "say something" before walking out.
Have we become so dulled by ecumenical double-talk (true ecumenism is quite another thing) that even Catholics can now hear a proposal such as this without a deep sense of Christian betrayal? It would seem so.
But it is never too late, and Cardinal Hume, as spokesman for the Church in England, has, I am sure. put right — at least in Archbishop Coggan's mind — any false impressions under which he is labouring.
Moyra Sheldon London, W8.
It was heartening to read the stirring appeal by Dr Coggan for full unity between the Anglican and