'Bishop Egan seems to be nostalgic for a society where the Christian Church was central - I hope not one like Franco's Spain, Galtieri's Argentina or Pinochet's Chile! Is not modern liberal society more fertile ground for John's Last Supper model of a servant Church than many 'Constantinian church' models since?'
Now there's a man who's learnt some long words but doesn't really understand them.
Bishop Egan hardly needs me to rush to his defence, but I found this letter more than usually irritating. Is military dictatorship the only alternative to a supine surrender of the Church to her enemies? Is everyone who doesn't embrace liberalism a Fascist? So I replied, as published in this week's edition:
Br Edward Egan (Letters, Nov 23) appears to be accusing Bishop Egan of Portsmouth of hankering after military dictatorships, on the basis that he opposes anti-Christian secularism. This association of ideas seems a little extravagant.
Joseph Shaw Chairman, The Latin Mass Society
Brother Egan has form. Googling him brings this unsavoury letter to the Catholic Herald up, attacking the late, great Alice Thomas Ellis, from 16th July 2004:
She criticises religious sisters for dressing in a modern and sensible way that signifies that they are truly sisters to their fellow men and women. Many people were alienated by the old medieval garb that could signify sanctimonious separateness and superiority.
|The Belgrano: sinking like Br Egan|
The “tawdry baubles of paganism” were there aeons before Christianity in all continents, providing a more feminine,peaceful and eco-friendly world until the arrival of the more patriarchal, war-mongering and exploitative last two millennia of so-called Christendom.
I suggest that Alice Thomas Ellis might benefit from reading modern theology and Scripture studies (and also The Tablet), instead of dragging us back to the dark ages of “the fortress Church”.
(Unfortunately the page in the Catholic Herald archive jumbles his letter up with another one; online subscribers can chase it down in full via Exact Editions.)
You may need to get them second hand, but I recommend Alice Thomas Ellis' interesting commentary on the Church, the Serpent on the Rock, slightly less so the collection of her articles, God Has not Changed, (the Herald article (link for subscribers) to which Br Egan was responding was an extract from that book), and above all her great novel, The Sin Eater. And say a prayer for a great Catholic. Alice, you've won.