Letter: Rightist Catholic converts beware

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The Independent Online
Rightist Catholic converts beware

Sir: It was good to see Jack O'Sullivan getting the rush to the Roman Catholic Church by the Anglican right into perspective ("The resurrection that never was", 10 December).

One cannot question their personal motives, but they will not find the Church the safe haven they imagine. At a personal level, as a Roman Catholic myself, I think we should have women priests; I frequently share communion with Anglican friends; I think celibacy for priests should be an option; and I think we should have radical options for the poor. I would guess I am not alone.

Moreover, at a structural level, the authority of the Church is steadily being questioned or disregarded by its own members. Contraception is a debate for the theologians, not the laity. They have already voted tacitly with small nuclear families, or by their absence from the confessional, and of course the priests and hierarchy know it.

The central authority of Rome, and the orthodoxies at the papal centre too, are continually under question in Western Europe, the United States and South America - which points to a real as opposed to a fake subsidiarity slowly taking place. Right-wing assertiveness will not do, nor the deferential bowing to the administrative and doctrinal structures of the Church.

Presumably right-wing political refugees see some comfort in the Roman Church's religious stances of the far right - but beware, beware: we have a middle ground and a far left, too.

Mr T W MESSENGER

Hove, Sussex

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