Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

FAITH Magazine November-December 2009


Dear Father Editor,

May I throw a little stone into the pond of the discussion about intelligent design? For some reason, many Catholics interested in the evolution/ natural selection debate seem afraid of the concept because it has been taken up by the 6-day creationists.

Not so the Holy Father, however. In one of his meditations on the Psalms {Psalms and Canticles CTS 2006. P. 199) he writes: "In the beginning the creative Word - this Word that created all things, that created this intelligent design which is the cosmos - is also love."

Intelligent design, may I suggest, is not something that has been proved or disproved. Trying to do that is like trying to prove or disprove the existence of someone who is sitting in the room with you. Because of this, one can only conclude that the ability or inability to see it depends on a disposition of the mind and heart.

Yours Faithfully
Philip Trower
Stansted Bury


It would indeed seem appropriate to guard against completely accepting the legitimacy of the hijacking of the term "Intelligent Design" by the neo-Creationists of the American Discovery Institute and like-minded. The "disposition" highlighted by Mr Trower surely admits of support by carefully articulated evidence, just as it has admitted of massive suppression by the powerful misinformation of our agnostic culture.


Dear Father Editor,
Some Catholics have been alarmed by the recent tour around England of major primary relics of St. Therese of Lisieux. The provenance of some of this concern is perhaps unsurprising given that the crowds who came (over 6000 to the Oxford Oratory, for instance) included a minority of Senior Citizens, who might possibly remember the cult of relics from their youth, but was mainly made up by the young and middle-aged. Many of the latter must have been fresh to this ancient Christian way of venerating the saints and seeking their help. The success of the tour surely testifies to the wisdom of Pope Benedict's efforts to re-connect contemporary Catholicism with the devotional riches of the pre-conciliar Church.

However there may be some genuine reasons for unease. These I hope can be raised constructively without intending any slight, or lack of gratitude, towards the many bishops, priests and lay organisers of an event which must have won many graces for the English Church.

In the first place it was odd to be presented with the bones of St. Therese double-wrapped, as it were, in both an opaque ornate casket and then a large clear plastic container. Normally the veneration of relics involves at least seeing primary relics (the body), or secondary relics (items touched by the saint in his or her lifetime), or touching tertiary ones (the immediate container of the primary relics). But here the faithful had to make do with touching the container for the tertiary relic (the transparent case) or seeing the tertiary relic through it. If part of the point of devotion to relics is to foster a deeper realisation of the incarnational nature of genuine Christianity, as a religion which encompasses and redeems the body as well as the soul, the extra distancing effect ofthe plastic case may have been counter-productive. Could not the clergy at each stop have taken the casket out of the case in order to facilitate a fuller devotion?

Ideally of course the casket itself might have been partly transparent. This is not gruesome: as Addis and Arnold wrote in relation to relics in their Catholic Dictionary, because of the doctrine of the resurrection of the body 'Christians have lost that horror of dead bodies which was characteristic of the heathen'.

The other problem with the plastic case is that it may have reduced the therapeutic value of the tour. Today, just as in the early and medieval church, part of the devotional appeal of relics, particularly those of great saints, lies in the possibility of miraculous cures (Acts 19:12), either through their instrumentality, or on the occasion of their close proximity. The Council of Trent taught that 'through' the relics of the saints 'many benefits are bestowed by God on man' (1563, session 25). The body of every saint is to an exceptional degree a temple of the Holy Ghost, and the impressive track record of cures (affirmed by the Catechism of the Council of Trent) presumably stems from a continuing connection between the physical remains and the possibility of divine intervention.Tradition suggests that the holiness and curative possibility is much greater for primary and secondary relics, but still exists for third-class, in this case the casket.

So perhaps it was unfortunate that the faithful were prevented from touching the casket.

Yours Faithfully
Christopher Zealley
Old Witney Rd


Dear Father Editor,
I write on the occasion of your "A Response: Possible Theological Development" in the September/ October issue of Faith.

I shall be grateful if you would indicate where one may find Old Testament support for the statements on page 22 that "among the Jews of the Old Testament, the Passover was... [1] the continuing reality of spiritual and corporate liberation by which God was redeeming his people in the present. [2] It also presaged and contained the promise of the final and plenary liberation from slavery to sin and death that was yet to come with the advent of the Messiah"

Thanking you for your kindness in this matter.

Yours Faithfully
L.W. McGrath
Bunker Hill Road
New Hampshire


Our thinking here has been influenced by Alfred Edersheim - see for instance: www.piney.com/Edersheim11 .html Here are some relevant Old Testament references, and associated explanations. The quotations in point 1 are from www.salvationhistory.com .

1. In Exodus 19-20 Moses describes events in the first generation after the Exodus to assembled Israelites as if they "are themselves there, as witnesses and participants in those events. [...] through the power of God, they are being made contemporaries of those events [...] part of the family of God created by the covenant." Deuteronomy 16:3 brings out these points with regard to those celebrating the Passover. "Every Israelite, even today, speaks of the exodus in the first person. It is "what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt" (see Exodus 13:8). In the Passover [...] the lamb dies instead of the first-born, is sacrificed so that the people could live (see Exodus 12:1-23,27)." (see also Exodus 6:6; 15:13; Psalm 69:18; Isaiah 44:24; Genesis 48:10).

"It's not as if God can ever forget His covenant. Here, and elsewhere in the Old Testament, when God 'remembers', He is acting to accomplish His will -answering prayers, granting forgiveness, saving, and blessing His people (see Genesis 30:22; 1 Samuel 1:19; Psalm 98:3; 105:42)."

2. At the Passover, the Jews set aside a cup in case the Messiah, the New Moses, should come and deliver them. This new Exodus, Jeremiah predicted, would mark the start of a "New Covenant", one unlike the old in that we would be given a "new heart" with the power to be fully free from sin, freed from the slavery to unfaithfulness experienced by the people of the old covenant (see 23:7-8; 31:31 -33). Isaiah depicts this new Moses as one bringing an even greater redemption and deliverance of God's people (11:15-16; 43:2,16-19; 51:9-11). He would come and fulfil the promise of the Messianic Banquet (Isaiah 25-26 65:13), presaged, that is, by the Passover.

Dear Father Editor,
I would like to comment on the first paragraph of Fr.Crean's critique of attitudes to the Modern Mass as it sets the detached academic tone for his whole essay (September '09).

"The way of talking about the Mass nowadays isn't exactly wrong."

"It seems to involve a false emphasis".

"It seems to carry with it ideas that I do think mistaken."

There is no "seems" or "not exactly wrong" about it, the modern attitude with its understating the sacrificial part of the Mass almost out of existence is wrong, wrong, wrong. A weakened Mass (and a distorted catechesis) has brought the western Church almost to its knees and, according to statistical projection, to its death in a couple of decades if something drastic is not done soon.

What Fr. Crean is talking about here is probably nothing less than the greatest triumph of Satan in the history of the Church. The watering down (and reducing the power of?) the indispensible source of the Christian spirit calls for something much more vehement than the language of interdepartmental memoranda in Whitehall.

Oh for some occasional passion!

I don't doubt that Fr. Crean's essay is excellent and very much suited to your largely intellectual readership, but for me it does not exactly set the blood pounding in the veins.

What we need is not polite criticism, however learned, or millions of careful diplomatic words at those endless conferences and workshops, but the thunder of an O.T Isaiah or Jeremiah. The urgency of the situation calls for no less. Why does God not send us a real prophet? Presumably because we don't deserve one. There is plenty of sophisticated theological chatter around but not enough of Our Lady's demand for prayer and penance.

Yours Faithfully
Jim Allen
Seymour Drive


Dear Father Editor,
As anti-family legislation gathers pace, as recorded by John Deighan's articles, {Faith, 'Learning from homosexual Activism' March 2009, "The Undermining of the Family: Where are we at?" November 2007), it is instructive to note some key cultural conditions which enabled the Holocaust. I list them below and would make the observation that they are becoming present in our own society.

- Fundamental intolerance towards certain legitimate groups of people and ideas on the part of a race-obsessed government. Policies designed to foster intolerance.

- The imposition of a pervasive bureaucratic tyranny to enforce conformity and to criminalise individual freedoms of speech, thought, association and action.

- State claims of total ownership rights over the individual in the name of freedom through such devices
 as ID cards, racial and religious categorisation and so on.

- State sponsored surveillance, growing ability to monitor large sections of the population.

- Undermining the primary rights of parents in order to coerce children and families into compliance with and servitude to the state's cultural agenda.

- Deliberately creating conditions justifying legislation and bureaucracy governing inter-cultural conduct, suppressing traditional culture and religion.

- Replacement of traditional religious teaching in schools by officially sanctioned race based ideologies, and emphasising reproductive 'hygiene' rather than genuine morality.

- Denigration of targeted religious and racial groups, manufacturing laws that make their continued functioning difficult or impossible.

- The official acceptance of eugenics practices and the collusion of the medical, academic, commercial and political establishments in the implementation of eugenics programmes.

Yours Faithfully
Giles Rowe
Fernside Rd


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