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Begging to differ with Paul Vallely over ‘appeasement’ of conservatives

18 February 2009


From Canon Simon Killwick

Sir, — I normally enjoy Paul Vallely’s articles, but I was horrified to see his identification of Anglican traditional­ists with Roman Catholic Lefebvrists, as those “who cannot accept the mind of the Church” (Comment, 13 February).

Anglican traditionalists find themselves so-called precisely because they stand up for the mind of the Church. The mind of the Church has been since biblical times that only men may be ordained to the episcopate. The mind of the Church today is unchanged, according to the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and many Provinces of the Anglican Communion.

Because we Anglican traditional­ists care deeply about the unity and international nature of Christ’s Church, we take the costly and principled stand that we do, mindful of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s words to the recent General Synod that “unity precedes truth.” The Lord promised the Holy Spirit to guide the Church into all truth, and that should mean the whole Church, not isolated parts, determining such issues of universal significance as Holy Order.

Far from appeasing us, the Gen­eral Synod needs to recognise that our witness is an important and essential one in Anglicanism, wit­ness­ing to wider Catholic unity — the mind of the Church.

Christ Church Rectory
Monton Street
Manchester M14 4GP

From Mr Michael Cavanagh-Pack

Sir, — May I a register a protest at Paul Vallely’s description of English converts to Orthodoxy being “pushed out” of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Ennismore Gardens; and at his implicit claim that they were somehow defending Metropolitan Anthony’s legacy.

I am one of those converts. From my very first day back in 1973, I was aware that this was the Russians’ church. I was a visitor, even if an equal in the sight of God.

In recent years, with the huge influx of Russians to this country, the style of worship may have changed, and the atmosphere of a small parish church, over which Metropolitan Anthony presided like a parish priest, may have gone. But it is surely not surprising that Russians coming to this country should expect the life and worship of their cathedral in London to accord with that in their mother country.

It is a pity that there could not have been a little more understand­ing and recognition of this among those, both English converts and old Russians, who have worshipped at Ennismore Gardens for many years.

I can only say that dividing the church that Metropolitan Anthony took immense pains to bind together, often at great cost to himself, is a strange way of defending his legacy.

The Manor House
Thurloxton, Taunton
Somerset TA2 8RH

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