AS A REGULAR reader of the Catholic Herald and an Anglican priest, may I begin by adding my voice to the more-silent but greater number of non-Romans who look with love and appreciation to the Roman Church and the Holy Father, and to disassociate myself from the more-publicised comments and actions of those who seem hellbent on maintaining the Protestant' label at its most literal, its most unloving, and its inost unbalanced!
We are going through times when great sensitivity and love is needed, and I venture to suggest one small area of potential unease which could be quite easily avoided.
1 refer to what I term 'theological shorthand'.
In recent issues of your newspaper I have read more than once that the Holy Father eh-6ms to "owe his life to the Blessed Virgin Mary."
This sort of statement arises because life is too short to dot every, 'I' and cross every 'T', and often yve must necessarily communicate in this way.
When we do so. however, we have to be extremely careful and scnsitive about how others 'outside our particular group will 'read' us.
While I personally feel familiar enough with the language and spirituality of the Roman Catholic Church to know both V, hat such a statement does mean. and what it does not, I have a real fear that others less familiar with these things will take it, and can only take it, at its face value.
When they do this it is easy to see that Protestant fears about the elevation of the Blessed Virgin Mary above Our Blessed Lord, cannot but be increased.
Christians of all denominations have prayed, and will continue to pray. for the Holy Father's protection. The good Lord, in his mercy, has at least twice, heard our prayers and our response is. in essence. "Praise the Lord."
The 'Lord' in both cases is not Our Blessed Lady, however great we might surmise her contribution-to have-been in these instances, and however much we may in addition wish to thank her.
Her son, bore the Name which is above every name, to which every knee will bow, and Our Blessed Lady's place of honour is due to the quality of her humble submission to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Rev. John Richards Weybridge. Surrey