From Fr Julian G Shurgold SIR – I am very surprised that James MacMillan, in his caustic article (Christmastide Supplement, December 19) on certain types of church music, approves of “O come, O come, Emmanuel” being sung as early as the First Sunday of Advent.
I’m sure he knows that this wonderful hymn is based on the Great O’s, the seven Magnificat antiphons for the last week of Advent. The first part of Advent (up to December 16) stresses the future Second Coming of Christ, the last part (December 17-24) stresses the background to the First Coming 2,000 years ago. In this parish of Holy Family, the hymn is restricted to those days, which may or may not include Gaudete (the Third) Sunday, but always includes the Fourth.
On a separate note, I look forward eagerly to the splutterings and fulminations of the Catholic Right on your letters page in response to Bishop Conry’s interview with Andrew Brown (Christmastide Supplement, December 19). I don’t agree with everything the bishop said in response to the leading questions but I agree with most of it, and it’s a refreshing and most welcome change from the “right box-ticking” that normally characterises interviews with the hierarchy.
Yours faithfully, JULIAN SHURGOLD Holy Family, Sutton Green, Surrey