Comments of the week

Letters should include a genuine postal or email address, phone number and the style or title of the writer. Email: [email protected]

Due to space constraints, please keep correspondence below 250 words, longer letters may be published online

The new translation deserves to be tested

SIR – Striving for excellence in worship ought always to be a priority of the Church’s witness and mission (Letter, January 5). It is the means through which we express what we believe about God and our loving submission to be conformed to His will for us. The gathered community encountering God through the dynamic vitality of the rites and sacraments, in the varied circumstances of people’s lives, is also bearing witness to the God who is saving souls.

Therefore the words and actions we use are important and great care ought rightly to be taken in their composition and celebration.

Having said that, I have been in ordained ministry for more than 36 years; both as an Anglican and now as a Catholic, I have presided at the Eucharist using seven different authorised liturgies over the years. None has been perfect or necessarily to my liking, yet each has had aspects which I loved, grew to love and which provided endless opportunities for catechesis and a vision of the transcendant to which each particular liturgy pointed, nurturing my own faith in the process.

I have also come to realise that people experience the divine presence and activity in the liturgy despite the form, albeit through the faithful submission of the minister to the said form.

The imperfections of each liturgy which have shaped me, as I both experienced it and presided at its celebration, do serve to remind me that we will probably never find perfection in the liturgy this side of eternity, and that this reality is normative, and so it should be, “for now we know in part …” (1 Corinthians 13:9).

However, good aspects of the liturgy have stood the tests of time, and that is what changes deserve – to be tested, and time needs to be given for that. It seems to me that the new translation is undergoing such a process, unintentionally of course. This may be the lesson that this translation is trying to teach us as we consider future changes, whenever they may occur.

Fr Cecil Rogerson
Northfield, Birmingham

How the Eucharist can inspire renewal

SIR – If the re-conversion of these islands to Catholic Christianity is to be achieved, I am convinced that the Church needs to make much more of the rich treasures given to us by the liturgical practice of Eucharistic adoration (News focus, December 22).

I would like to see an explosion of services of Benediction, Exposition and Holy Hour across our parishes and up and down the country.

We ought to see a long-overdue revival in Corpus Christi processions – especially since the bishops have signalled a timely revival of certain festivals to their correct date of celebration in the English and Welsh Church calendar.

Of course, the most essential feature of increased Eucharistic adoration would be the intensification of outdoor processions of the Blessed Sacrament – not just in central London and Walsingham but also throughout the realm. This would be a powerful witness to evangelisation in our increasingly secularised nation.

In my own pastoral group of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, since we are a relatively small group, we meet once a month for Sunday Mass followed by a shared lunch. Without exception, we end with Evensong and benediction. What can be more appropriate than sending us back to our daily lives and Catholic parishes with the blessing of the Blessed Sacrament?

Richard Eddy

SIR – In the 1940s at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Hove, we had a resident chaplain and Mass was celebrated in the chapel every day. Besides Sundays, it was obligatory to attend on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and optional on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Many took that option, and of my contemporaries whom I still meet many have attended weekday Masses throughout their lives. The aura of reverence in the nuns, who wore their veils pulled forward concealing their faces, and what they said in daily doctrine classes, stressed the wonderful fact that at Communion Christ actually enters the body of each of us and that we become one flesh with him, as he fuses himself to our souls.

Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith’s article stresses the importance of Exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and repeats John Paul II’s remark that “Stripped of its sacrificial meaning … [Mass] is celebrated as if it were simply a fraternal banquet”. That is not what the body language of those 1940s Sacred Heart nuns was saying.

At Communion, Christ is not up there remotely in a monstrance, but actually within. That is why closure of church after church for lack of priests is so tragic. The Eucharist should be the daily food of the soul.

I hope the Eucharistic Congress will stress this fact. Also, that in allowing the ordination of married men perhaps headmasters of Catholic schools could in some instances become priests, thus allowing the celebration of daily Mass in every Catholic school to foster the devotion I was lucky enough to be taught in my school days.

Elizabeth Price
Linton, Kent

Cliquey Catholics

SIR – The same words, “cliquey and divisive” (Cover Story, January 5), in reference to the Extraordinary Form communities, are also used to criticise the Neocatechumenate communities, especially here in Clifton.

Similar allegations are not generally used against the Syro-Malabar Rite communities because people who have done so tend to be accused of “racism”.

Pauline Harvey
Bristol, Somerset

Entering temptation

SIR – Mary Kenny (December 15) translates the new French version “et ne nous laisse pas entrer en tentation” in the Our Father as “Let us not enter into temptation”.

I think a more accurate translation would be “Do not let us enter into temptation”. It is a plea addressed to the Almighty that he should not let us be tempted, rather than a simple suggestion that we should not let ourselves be tempted.

Nicolas Bellord
Horsted Keynes, West Sussex

A good mistress

SIR – David V Barrett refers to Louise de Kérouaille, one of Charles II’s many mistresses (Arts, December 22). The good lady did Charles the greatest of all favours by persuading the Duke of York, the king’s brother, to get a priest for the dying monarch. What greater service could a mistress give?

Christopher Parish

Britannia’s Brexit

SIR – If Henry VIII’s spotting an opportunity, in the shape of Luther, to cede from the Roman Church can be aligned with Brexit (Mary Kenny, December 22), why not go back to 410, when Britannia – as she then was – was the only province to cede unilaterally from the Roman Empire?

Perhaps we are pragmatic opportunists, or opportunistic pragmatists – whichever is the more flattering.

Jacqueline Castles
London W2