In addition to the letters published in this week’s issue of the The Tablet you can find more correspondence here, available free.
May I warmly welcome your articles of 19 May on human trafficking, which happens worldwide and trades girls and young women for sexual purposes, men for labour exploitation and children for begging, domestic slavery and benefit fraud. Police and prosecutors should be alerted whenever something suspicious is spotted. The Church's worldwide network should be mobilised to resist this evil, which exploits the poor and ignorant by deception and coercion. I trust that the recent conference in Rome will be followed up in all countries, both those of origin and those of destination.
Already in Britain the women's religious orders have responded by opening safe-houses for women. The Salvation Army also cares for victims of trafficking, affording protection and time for those rescued to reflect whether to return home, or to claim asylum in Britain. There is a Parliamentary All Party Group on this issue. Please encourage your local MP to join it. (You can also write to Peter Bone MP, Chairman of the APPG on Human Trafficking, House of Commons SW1A OAA - Email: email@example.com)
Trafficking generates large profits for criminal gangs, as big or greater than those from illegal drugs. By combating it and caring for victims of trafficking the Catholic Church can, and should, make reparation for the harm and scandal caused by the worldwide sexual exploitation of children and young people by priests and religious. Resistance to trafficking and care for those it has abused will show that Catholics are genuinely repentant for what has been done by a minority, whom they once trusted.Lord Hylton, House of Lords
While I have not always found myself in agreement with the Latin Mass Society and its representatives, I am delighted to endorse Dr Shaw's insistence that liturgical plurality need not necessarily be divisive (The Tablet, Letters, 19 May).
Yet his reply to Robert Mickens' comments on this, with reference to the newly published Ordo for the Extraordinary Form (I admit I have not seen this publication) leaves unanswered an important point. Mickens alluded to this. In my view, the real problem with the 1962 calendar is not that it is different but that it is frozen in time. A liturgical calendar should not be allowed to become a museum piece; and it is worth remembering that the 1962 Calendar itself represented a significant revision.
Surely, half a century later, it deserves re-visiting, particularly the Sanctoral? It is good to have more extensive availability of the Extraordinary Form, but why should its celebration be locked into an antiquarian calendar, where more recently canonised saints are unrepresented, while saints with less relevance to today's Church are still prominent? It is to be hoped that the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei will pay rapid and due diligence to the clear wishes of Pope Benedict in Summorum Pontificum in this matter. The Latin Mass Society would perform a useful service by insistently requesting this, if they are not already doing so.Fr Martin J Clayton, High Green, Sheffield
Daphne Bagshawe (Letters Extra 18 May), takes Cardinal O'Brien to task over his comments about wealth (The Tablet, 5 May). I would accept that in principle there is nothing wrong with wealth, especially when it comes from genuine creativity and entrepreneurial expertise, but that is not the case when one is simply taking a cut on moving money between centres. But what I guess the Cardinal had in mind is that for the wealthy, there are well used routes by which assets can be moved "off shore" into secretive tax havens where little or no tax is paid. Clearly one rule for the rich and another for the rest of us, as was recognised recently by Warren Buffet when he accepted that it was not fair that he paid net tax of 17 per cent compared with his secretary paying 34 per cent. I might agree with Daphne Bagshawe if the "playing fields" were level.
Also we should remember that Christ himself recognised that being wealthy made it difficult to reach the Kingdom.Patrick Davey, Rivendell, Co Dublin
Barney White-Spunner and Thomas Tugendhat put forward an excellent suggestion about the sharing of churches (The Tablet, 19 May).
However, this is not new and in Essex has been happening for 45 years. The Anglican Diocese of Chelmsford and the Catholic Diocese of Brentwood have almost exactly the same boundaries and there are many instances of the Roman Catholic congregation using the local Anglican church.
The first instance was when the local vicar in Ardleigh offered hospitality to the local Roman Catholics when they found themselves without a Mass centre. The then bishop of Brentwood refused the offer but when the current Bishop took over in 1967 he accepted.
The two congregations get on well together and shared the cost of a new statue of Our Lady of Walsingham a few years ago. The Catholics pay towards the expenses of the church. When the Anglicans wanted to change their service time on a Sunday morning, they took into account the established time for the Roman Catholic Mass and chose a time to fit in, although it was not ideally what they would like. The Rosary is said together by members of both congregations on a Saturday morning, and Evening Prayer has been said together at times.
It would be good to see this model repeated all over the country.Claire Scargill, Mistley, Essex
The article "Shared Space - a gem of an idea" (The Tablet, 19 May) barely notices that most architectural gems are in rural areas where often denominations already work together, informally at least. But joint activity does not remove an enervating programme of fund-raising, as in a village, population 76, which has to raise six figures for even the most basic repairs to its ancient church. Supposing all 76, religious or not, join in, the task is crippling and is the tail which wags the dog. Rural life requires more than a jubilee idea to club together. An article in the current Pastoral Review (May/June 2012, Tony Castle, "Little Green Shoots") describes very well some of the problems involved in getting groups of Christians, in this case including Essex's Peculiar People, to talk together, never mind share buildings.
More troubling is the thought of rural areas becoming ministerial deserts for lack of senior managers talking. A wise and senior member of the Rural Theology Association has pointed out the need for church leaders, at Diocesan, Circuit and District level, to talk to each other, about deployment in their rural areas. Scattered Christian voices have little influence. Anglican groups of rural parishes and Methodist circuits get ever larger. Rural Baptist and URC churches are becoming fewer. Catholic churches are far between and rural Mass centres often under threat. Without managerial conversations, it is possible to envisage large rural areas with no ministerial presence of any denomination, making formal church attendance an activity for those who drive; nothing new there: Simon of Cyrene "came in from the country". Collaborative ministry sounds good but needs priming.
It happens that the 2013 national conference for rural Catholics will consider, among other things, "The parish without a resident priest" and "The position of the only Catholic in the village". More details can be found by visiting www.catholicandrural.org.uk.Fr Robert Miller, Tisbury, Wiltshire
The situation which is currently affecting Caritas Internationalis as described by Duncan McLaren (The Tablet, 5 May) has echoes of the way the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL) was reined in by the Congregation for Divine Worship.
In that case, as Bishop Maurice Taylor recalls in his book It's the Eucharist, thank God, there was a similar tension between the body set up by the English-speaking bishops' conferences and the Roman dicastery. Again, it was an example of a body (ICEL) working in an open manner, reporting to the Congregation as well as to the bishops' conferences, seeking dialogue with officials of the Congregation but being constantly rebuffed.
The end result was the dismantling of ICEL's working body and its replacement with a new committee, working to new guidelines and directly supervised by a body brought together by the Congregation. The result has been a tightening of Rome's grip on the body set up to work to the agenda of the English-speaking bishops' conferences and not to that of the Roman Congregation.
In the development of the issues around Caritas Internationalis (CI), we discern again the discomfort of curial officials with the thinking and actions of a body which is not cast in the mould of a Curia-inspired organisation. As with ICEL, Duncan McLaren describes the arms-length treatment of CI, and the inability of the curial machine to enter into dialogue with CI officials. All of which has led to the current impasse, where the leash is tightened so that only action supervised by Cor Unum is deemed acceptable. It does not bode well for the worldwide mission of CI to serve the poor.Michael Martin, Clarkston, Glasgow
If we change the words of Jesus that he will shed his blood "for all" which we have been used to saying to "for many", the natural reading would be that we no longer believe it is "for all". Complicated explanations of why this change is necessary are most unconvincing, not to say disingenuous. They almost suggest that when worshipping God we need to practise Orwellian doublethink, understanding that when we say "many" we really mean "all". If we believe it is "for all", why can we not say so?
In his letter to the German archbishop on this subject, the Pope claims that the consensus of opinion that the Semitic formula lying behind hyper pollōn in the Gospels means "for all" no longer exists, but his letter gives no references for this assertion. Have biblical scholars come forward to endorse his view?
According to the Code of Canon Law, Canon 838 §3, "It pertains to the conferences of bishops to prepare and publish, after the prior review of the Holy See, translations of liturgical books in vernacular languages, adapted appropriately within the limits defined in the liturgical books themselves." One could no doubt argue what "review" (recognitio) precisely means, but it surely does not give the Vatican, not even the Pope, the right to impose translations on bishops that they do not want. I believe the German bishops rejected a Latinate translation of the mass that the Congregation for Divine Worship wanted them to accept - as they had every right in law to do. What a pity the English-speaking bishops did not show similar resolution in resisting the CDW's rejection of the very fine 1998 English version of the mass that they had approved! We might then have been spared the pseudo-English Latinate travesty that we are now made to endure.
The Pope's letter recognises that translation cannot avoid interpretation, but still thinks that literal word-for-word paraphrase is desirable in translating liturgical texts. There too, however, interpretation is at work. To translate the Latin cum spiritu tuo as "and with your spirit'' is an interpretation - and a misleading one at that, seeing that it ignores the incongruence between the words: English "spirit" is not simply equivalent to Latin spiritus.
Given their varied origins it would be surprising if liturgical texts have always consistently reproduced exactly their scriptural bases. Why do we need to start doing that now? Should not liturgical texts express what we actually believe, whatever their verbal origins may be?
I have now replaced my obsolete Missal with the People's Edition of the CTS New Daily Missal. It weighs 1,273g and its dimensions require, for me at least, the use of two hands to pick it up. I walk two miles to and two miles back from Mass on weekdays and would have to use a rucksack in order to transport it. The pages are filled with Latin which I will never read, the translations of the prayers so obscure I cannot pray them. In my prayer time at home I look at my icon and say to the Lord, "What on earth are we doing, Lord? What is happening?"Jane Tallents, Redhill, Nottingham
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