If the expression "Pilgrim Church" sounded strange to some Catholic ears, as Margaret Clarke (December 21) wants us • o believe. this can only have been because of our unfamiliarity with the Scriptures.
The Church reverences Augustine, and it was in character for the Bishops to end their chapter on the Mystery of the Church with a short quote from him: Inter persecutiones et consolationes Der peregrinando procurrit — i.e.. the Church hurries forward through the sufferings of this world and the consolations of God in the manner of a traveller. But surely it is to the Church of Scripture, not to the ephemeral conditions of Augustine's time, that the Conciliar document is drawing our attention.
For any fair-minded person the truth which stands out from reading the decree on the nature of the Church is that there is a Continuity, albeit with differences. between the Old and New Testaments. For this reason a whole number of analogies, all of which originate in the Old Testament. are used 10 elucidate the richness of what we understand by the Kingdom of God.
Now as regards the visible Church, pride of place goes to the people of Mosaic Israel, who wandered (peregrinabatur) through the desert for 40 years as they waited before being allowed to enter the land of promise. This, their sojourn, is a type of the Church in the modern world waiting to enter Heaven.
Those Israelities used to murmur against God on account of the "persecutions" of the world from hunger and from their enemies — and God responded by giving them his "'consolations." e.g., manna and
GEMS OF WISDOM
My sincere thanks to you for publishing Gerard Noel's article, "In search of Bridget Brophy" (December 7), also Paul Johnson's article on Mr. Heath (December 21) and Mgr. Bruce Kent's "This Week," which I find are gems of wisdom.
As a regular — and often irate — reader of the Catholic Herald, for over ten years, I have not known you display such courage, or include articles of such high standard, as you have done recently. In my opinion you have grown in stature. Congratulations!
Please continue to resist requests for "advance pruning" as made by L. Robt. Shepherd of Chew Stoke (Deceinber.21). We older Catholics have suffered from too much advance pruning. It has taken writers like Bridget Brophy to help us grow whole.
Marguerite B. Gilligan 29 Windermere Road, Coulsdon, Surrey.
Paul Johnson (December 21) perfectly illustrates the reason why so many people today are dangerously cynical about politicians and politics. His uncompromising, dogmatic and unqualified condemnation of everything Mr. Heath has done or said simply cannot masquerade as legitimate political comment.
1 have little patience with the present government, but I have none at all with those who protest that it is entirely to blame for the present difficult situation, and little less for any who pretend that it is due entirely to the obstinacy of one man.
Please, Mr. Johnson, let us have some constructive (? charitable) criticism of your political opponents.
(Major) J. R. P. Chapple 120 Charlton Road, London, S.E.7.
water. But their greatest consolation was the abiding presence of God which they called the Shekina. It took the form of smoke by day and fire by night. The relevant point here is that it was the Shekina which led them through the desert. Sometimes they stayed in one place for a long time, sometimes there were a number of moves and changes. But where the Shekina went they had to follow.
Thinking(hoot this. the Christian insight is that the notion of the Shekina has received its fulfilment in the New Testament and in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit who is to lead the Church, the People of God, through the desert of this world until we reach our eternal home.
If we go along with these Biblical ideas suggested to us by the Vatican Council then we shall not he quite so frightened of change. but realise that it is a constituent of our Catholic life. The rock-like element in the Church is derived not so much from her structures or even her formulations of Faith, but rather from the faithfulness of God Himself. He is our Rock, our Great Amen.
(Rev.) F. Hastings Basildon.
Parishes and Fr. Winter
My name was mentioned in the Catholic Herald of December. 21. but the report was not altogether accurate. Allow me to set the record straight.
It is true that 1 resigned from the Working Party which produced The Church 2000, but I had not been commissioned to write the section on the parish. Why it received so short a treatment in that report I do not know, but in my book "Mission or Maintenance" I have devoted a whole chapter to the subject of the parish.
The reason for my leaving that Working Party was the conviction, which became inescapable after about a year's work, that the most important problems in our pastoral work were not being examined deeply.
What is lacking in The Church 2000 is the willingness to measure impartially the success or failure of our present methods of apostolate.
(Fr.) Michael M. Winter Priest's louse.
65 Ash Church Road, Ash. Aldershot.
I agree wholeheartedly with Audrey Kelly (December 21). My plea is for shorter sermons, and for their content to he relevant to life in the '70s.
The Japanese have a saying that it is not possible to concentrate the mind on a -subject for more than two minutes at a time; after that renewed acts of the will are required to maintain concentration.
Our clergy drone on and on until. in self-defence, the congregation — at least that part of it in my vicinity — nods off.
We need a few words of wisdom which we can try to live by in the coming week. Let these words he few but pertinent.
(Mrs.) Marie B. McGaughey Flat 1, Charles Court, s9 Selsdon Road.
Correspondents are asked to keep their letters as short as possible. Pressure on the columns is increasing and many letters have to he discarded every week. Shorter letters would give more of Our readers a chance of airing their views.--Editor.