THE REV Canon Branson regrets the inability of the Bishop of Southwark, The Right Reverend Charles Henderson-, to read The Liturgical Gospel at an Anglican Eucharist. This saddens me because of the apparent lack of understanding by Canon Branson himself.
It may be of some help if I quote from Charterhouse, December 15, 1978, who comments on the attitude of the then Archbishop of Canterbury over similar points of view. "The Archbishop of Canterbury goes on a good deal about intercommunion. but the giving seems to be expected by those who once consciou1y rejected their ancient allegiance to Rome and now expect Rome to give and give and give. We are expected to abdicate authority, dilute doctrines. recognise the validity of other Orders,. accept married clergy, stay out of the Royal Succession and admit equality with those who have made a religion almost out of rejecting us," While I believe that the Roman Catholic Hierarcy is fully aware of the dangers of giving away more in the cause of ecumenism without proper safeguards and reasonable reciprocation, I am of the firm opinion that the great majority of Catholics do not know of what goes on on the other side of the fence.
For instance how many are conversant with the 39 Articles which form the basis of the Anglican tenets which every Anglican parson has to promise to uphold at his ordination': The fact that many of these gentlemen push the more objectionable ones under the carpet has resulted in that Church being divided against itself. one half being antiCatholic in varying degrees and the other practicing Catholic doctrines without accepting the attendant responsibilities. Perusing some of these Anglican Articles of Faith we find that many of the Roman Doctrines. such as The Invocation of Saints are. I quote "Vain things and repugnant to the Word of God". The same applies to the Mass in Latin.
Continuing down the list it will be seen that they only recognise two of the Sacraments, those of Baptism and The Supper of Our Lord, which to many anglicans is very different to the Holy Eucharist as we understand it. The other five Sacraments of Matrimony, Holy Orders. Penance. Confirmation and Extreme Unction are not, in their light. Sacraments at all. The Sacrificial Masses are declared to be "Blasphemous and dangerous deceits". With all this in mind, how can there be any further ecumenical progress until the Anglican Church puts its house in order? Moreover what applies to the differences between us and the Anglicans applies even more to those between us and the nonconformists.
Is it reasonable therefore for Canon Branson to expect Catholic Clergy to participate in an Anglican Euchurist with things as they stand? I think not. As Canon Branson states — A tragic joke indeed, but for very different reasons.
J S Clark • Malta