Many years ago, when I was an undergraduate at Oxford, I had occasion to write to the Chaplain, Fr Walter Drumm.
I was less obnoxious then, and wrote him a very gentle note pointing out that it was against the law of the Church for the congregation to join in the doxology at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, quoting the appropriate Vatican document, and noting that he never encouraged the practice, but suggesting that perhaps he should discourage it.
Weeks passed by and nothing happened. Then, right at the end of term, I got a brief hand-written note from him, saying 'Thank you for your comments, which I have noted.'
I thought that was inadequate at the time, and I still do. Either I was right, in which case he should, I believe have addressed the issue, or explained why he thought it inappropriate to do so; or alternatively I was wrong, in which case, I believe that he should have explained my error.
But to be honest, I haven't been brooding on this for the intervening thirty years. I had forgotten about it until this afternoon, when I received an email.
This one was from the Diocese of Brentwood, and it read: Thank you for your email, the contents of which have been noted.
This one was in response to my email asking if it was really appropriate to invite Jon Cruddas to address a Catholic Justice and Peace conference; given that, despite proclaiming himself a Catholic, he consistently, publicly and unrepentantly opposes Catholic teaching on Justice and Peace issues (such as the protection of marriage, the rights of unborn children etc) in both word and deed.
Are these people taught that this is the way to (fail to) answer questions they don't want to answer? Is there a handbook somewhere for dealing with cheeky proles like me who ask impertinent questions? I think we should be told (but of course, if I asked, I would be told: Thank you for your question, which I have noted.)
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