LETTER: Out of tune with the Catholic Church

Click to follow
From The Rev Joseph Doherty Sir: I have great sympathy with Tony Scotland. His article, however, it seems to me, is more a cri de coeur and a polemic for pre-Vatican II days than a deeper evaluation of what has been and is going on.

Contrary to his assertion, the Church has not abandoned plainchant. Re-arranging it in the vernacular language, in our case English, does not seem to be an easy task. Yet a number of monasteries I have visited sing it fairly successfully, sometimes quitemovingly, and always prayerfully. One monastery here in Scotland, Pluscarden Abbey, still celebrates the entire liturgy in Latin.

At the pastoral level there are huge problems which have not yet been satisfactorily or widely resolved. When Tony Scotland refers to reverence and mystery, I believe he is nearer the heart of the problem. It is erosion if not the atrophy of the religious sense in our times that might explain to some extent the decline of religious practice.

Perhaps he is right in saying that people are "starved of spiritual sustenance", hence the popularity of a beautiful form of religious music from an unfashionable and ancient source.

Yours faithfully, Joseph Doherty Mission and Renewal Centre, St Mary's Perth 30 December