I would like to assure NIrs Noreen White. (April 30) and others who read your excellent S1 LI Al\ that it is no! only Catholics of the Roman allegiance who have orthodox conceptions of the sacrificial nature of Holy Orders: there are many in the Church of England whose understanding is absolutely the same as hers and who believe that St Joan's Alliance of Catholic people is as patently misguided as the Group for the Ordination of Women which is supported by Bishop Montefiore.
I hope ;locipray that the Joint Commission of RC and C of E representatives may soon come up with in agreed statement on the specific question of Holy Orders (further to that excellentone on the nature of ministry generally) which would make plain that the ordination of a woman to the priesthood is not merely andesirahle it is an imposriMlitrl
Joseph T. Cartwright (Anglican Synodsman and Server) I dintiruiscote.
45A High Street, Broom. 13 idford On Avon. Warwickshire.
While I whole-heartedly agree with Mrs N. White (April 30) that only a Catholic can know that a priest is ordained primarily to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (and I have read and studied "Sexual Order and Holy Order" as she suggests), I would ask her to try and understand the difficult position of St Joan's Alliance of which I am not a member.
The lloly Father's summary rejection of the proposal to ordain women to the priesthood" (I quote !sirs White) leaves an absolute need for open discussion of the subject, which Fr M4 Hollings courageously faced and accepted, and St Joan's Alliance realised. If no Catholic platform is provided or allowed, where do we, sincere believers in the priestly vocation for women, turn for eulightening debate? While 1 too have serious reservations on the viability of our ecumenical discussion on the subject, i am yet grateful to St Joan's Alliance for providing a muchneeded and rare opportunity to continue open discussion of "this questionable (I quote yet again) cause."
Could Mrs White suggest alternative possibilities? 1 beg her and all sincere open-minded Catholics to prevent any obstruction to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit and to pray that further debate may produce guiding light. Margaret Clements 1 Queens Road, Caversham, Reading.
AsIMrs Noreen White (April 30), in her outburst against St Joan's Alliance, quoted my report on the ecumenical meeting held at Sion Convent, I am replying off my own bat, and riot officially in the name of the alliance.
There is nothing scandalous in the promotion of an ecumenical exchange of ideas. St Joan's is following in the footsteps of Cardinal Ilume, Archbishop of Westminster, who has set us the example by going to Westminster Abbey to pray with Anglicans on the very day of his installation as Bishop. Admittedly, the unity must be sought in the first place by prayer. Had Mrs White come to the meeting — which she did not do — she would have seen how Fr Michael Hollings started his speech by asking all to pray for a minute in silence.
As to the speech of Bishop Montefiore, he paraphrased the
idea of the priesthood expressed in the Doctrine of the Ministry agreed upon by Anglicans and Roman Catholics at the Commission in 1973. He did not bring up any of the unorthodox ideas alluded to by Mrs White. In discussing the question of a development of a women's ministry in the Church, St Joan's Alliance is doing so in the light of Vatican It. If the members of St Joan's did not believe in Church authority, they would not bother to petition the Holy Sec but would just go out and get ordained anywhere they liked. St Joan's Alliance is fully orthodox in its approach. All over the world now, the intercession of St Theresa of the Child Jesus is sought because she expressed in her autobiography the ardent desire to have been a priest. Joan Morris London WC I . •
Liturgy and dangers of schism
Recent comments on Traditionalism culminated in your important letter page headline (April 23): "Liturgy and the dangers of schism."
Laymen must humbly refrain from becoming petty theologians, but the concern over fundamental points — changes of meaning and possibly doctrine — is valid. Comparing Traditionalists with the Pharisees, as did your correspondent, is a grave error.
The Pharisees' authority rested on the interpretation of the letter, rather than the spirit, of the Law contrary to God s instructions in former times. The Son of God became Man to rectify the situation.
Our Lord's teaching threatened the immense power of the Pharisees and the remnants of that priesthood codified the Law even more intricately as the Talmud (3rd-5th centuries).
The Son of God did not instigate today's changes. The Pope basically sanctions "reforms" engineered by learned Doctors of the Church. Some, however, possess an ingenious ability to construct arguments to support pre-determined conclusions. An example is the creation of that new being, "modern man".
Among fundamental points causing concern are the Confileor, which for centuries has been addressed to God, various celestial persons and to the priest. not to "my brothers and sisters". Suspect situations exist with the new Credo, with the insufficient time for private prayer (especially before and after receiving the Blessed Eucharist) and with the Church's overemphasis on Our Lord's second commandment at the expense of the first and fundamental one "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God ..."
',yen the most sacred words in the Liturgy, those of Consecration, have been tampered with. "All men" in lieu of "many" is doctrinally suspect.
As a humble layman may 1 suggest that we emulate our Jewish brethren who. through centuries of upheaval, have several sects including the (relatively few) followers of Mosaic tradition and the majority who adhere to the Talmud. As sects within one religion they are so united that their strength in society is greater than one would have imagined possible from their total numbers.
Our Traditionalism should be allowed parity with the new rites. The wide attraction of the Tridentine Mass may effect a pause in reform and allow the Holy Spirit to inspire those in the Church who could prevent a schism.
A. S. Battams 16 Lexham Mews, London, W8.