In addition to the letters published in this week’s issue of the The Tablet you can find more correspondence here, available free.
I was appalled by the mean-spirited, sour letter of Fr Ashley Beck ("Not so fast with the bunting", Letters, 26 May), trying to make political or ideological points out of the Diamond Jubilee. The country is celebrating the Queen's 60 years of service, which she has carried out with integrity, fortitude and commitment.
She has not been afraid to proclaim her Christian faith, very much so in her Christmas message last year (which, incidentally, was never mentioned in the media's summaries of her broadcast). The nation is acknowledging her example and that of the Duke of Edinburgh, acclaiming what an extraordinarily dedicated and selfless couple they are. She is above politics - thank God - and the Catholics of this country should not only realise that but actively participate in the nation's tribute.
Does Fr Beck wish to return to the days of the 1940s and 50s, when I grew up, when Catholics lived in a ghetto, never mixing with non-Catholics, never participating in national celebrations, never even entering a non-Catholic church, having to get permission to attend a non-Catholic funeral or wedding, keeping apart from the wider community as if we would be contaminated by " heretics"(most likely members of the Church of England)? Cardinal Hume did much to bring Catholicism out of the cold and dispel the perception that we are a foreign or Irish-related church.
Our Catholic household will display the Union Jack and a picture of the Queen in our front window for all to see. We respect and honour the Queen for her 60 years of service. Long may she reign.
Ashley Beck's comments on the HM The Queen's Jubilee surely require a reply. First to argue, as he does, that the royal family's close connection with the armed forces supports militarism ignores the rather important point that the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, whereby significant military activity now requires the explicit approval of Parliament, as well as parliamentary approval for the public expenditure required for any successful campaign. If there is militarism in Britain, as he alleges, then that is surely the responsibility of the people and their representatives, rather than their monarch.
Second, to drag the Queen into the debate about same-sex "marriage", as he does in his final paragraph, is surely ungracious. Clearly there will be an immense argument about such legislation, were it to be formally proposed, but here again, Ashley Beck's criticism would only be relevant if the monarch were personally responsible for all legislative proposals, rather than a constitutional monarch, who only acts on advice.
I write this letter on the feast of Filippo Neri, whose prophetic affability converted Rome in the sixteenth century. We should surely approach the Jubilee celebrations in such a spirit, and imbibe the wine of gladness, rather than the sour grapes on offer from Ashley Beck.Michael Lloyd, London SE26
For whom does Fr Beck presume to speak? I was born a Catholic, of Irish descent, and I have no qualms about celebrating the 60-year reign of a lady who has been an exemplar of Christian rule. I find the criticism which both Fr Beck and Fr Newell offer concerning wealth, privilege, relationship to the armed forces and the state both hackneyed and simplistic: which head of state, monarch or president, can divorce him/herself from these areas?
Equally, both priests try to associate the monarchy with "colonialism and oppression" - yet another cracked record. It is arguable that if British rule had applied in Ireland a couple of decades ago, the police and judicial authorities would not have been inclined to co-operate with those bishops and religious superiors who were more concerned to preserve their reputations by lying and concealment, than dealing with child abuse. As it was, the secular authorities were craven in the face of a dominant, oppressive Church.
Perhaps if British rule still persisted in parts of Africa and Asia there would be no homophobic legislation, such as in Uganda and Zimbabwe, nor would there be persecution of religious minorities such as in India, Pakistan or Sudan.
Finally, Fr Beck is concerned that the Jubilee celebrations are "the symbol of the power of the state". And his point being? The Roman state was all-powerful in the first century and hardly enshrined Gospel values yet Jesus stressed the need to make tribute where it is due [Matthew 22: 15-22] and so did St Peter [1 Peter 2: 13-17]. I shall be praying for the Queen in the Bidding Prayers this weekend, offering Mass for her later this month and singing the National Anthem - loudly!Fr Julian Shurgold, Lecturer in Reformation Studies, St John's Seminary, Wonersh
I would take issue with Fr Ashley on two points in his letter. Firstly he looks critically at the wealth and privilege of the monarchy. This is the same charge that is often made against the Church with respect to all its treasurers in the Vatican and all the pomp and ceremony that is associated with many of the hierarchy.
Secondly he asks for an apology for past wrongs. Personally I cannot understand this modern trend for apologising for actions that took place centuries ago. We may regret that they took place, as I am sure that the Church regrets the many killings and torture that took place in its name. But we cannot apologise for them, the only thing that I can apologise for are the actions that I have taken or failed to take.
Arguably I can apologise for actions that my children take; but I cannot apologise for things that my father, or his ancestors, did or did not do.Barry Mellish, Bromley, Kent
Duncan MacLaren's article ("Reining in Caritas", 12 May) is a real cause of concern for the many people who have supported Caritas over the years. This is one organisation whose track record in delivering aid to the needy has been second to none. Caritas has responded effectively to an array of natural and human-made disasters because its structure has not been top-heavy and overly bureaucratic. It has followed the principles of subsidiarity which has localised decision making to those who are most familiar with the situation. This sits well with donors who have an assurance that their money is reaching those most in need.
Because Caritas is part of the ecclesial community the Vatican has a duty of care to encourage it in its work but this must not translate into excessive control where decisions are away from the local dicastery.Ed Sianski, Hobart, Tasmania
If Fr Niklaus Pfluger were correct when he claims "that Pope Benedict is so interested in a canonical solution for the [SSPX] fraternity that he is ready to conclude an agreement even if it does not recognise controversial Vatican II texts or the New Mass" (The Church in the World, 19 May), we would then have a Pope who places himself above the Vatican Council, rather than subject to its teachings. Would this not place the Pope in schism with the Catholic Church? And would an absolute monarchy not have turned into a tyrannical dictatorship? While one can perhaps understand the Pope's desire to bring back the Lefebvrists into the Church, one must continue to wonder why he treated a well-loved bishop like bishop Bill Morris of Toowoomba so harshly and unjustly, thus alienating far more people from the Church.Rob Brian, Dover Heights, New South Wales, Australia
Once again we find ourselves in complete agreement with Mgr Boylan (Letters, 26 May). We would like to reiterate that it has always been possible to celebrate Mass in the Ordinary Rite in Latin. Extraordinary is a euphemism for no-change-whatsoever and the Extraordinary Rite was given enhanced status by motu proprio. Meanwhile those of us who do not want Latin have had imposed on us a new English translation which many of us find very poor and most inadequate in its refusal to entertain the use of inclusive language. Mgr Boylan rightly dubs this translation Lattish.Mr and Mrs Chris Feetenby, Leeds
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