From the Revd David Perry
Sir, - My heart sinks at the prospect of children
administering holy communion (General
Synod, 30 November). If children were, like Peter Pan,
incapable of growing up, a case might be made for this innovation.
But we do grow up in a process well described by St Paul in 1
The last time something similarly
precocious was raised was back in AD 385 by Pope Siricius in his
decretal. "Whoever has vowed himself to the services of the Church
from his infancy must be baptised before the years of puberty and
join the ministry of lectors."
Why does Siricius demand that those
whose parents aspire for them to pass through the ranks of
Christian ministry should be baptised before puberty and be given
the status of lectors as pre-pubescent boys? The answer is
straightforward. Siricius was a strong advocate of celibacy for the
ordained. If infants dedicated to Christian ministry were baptised
and made lectors before puberty, it would make it much easier to
enforce clerical celibacy. The boys would grow up already aware
that their lives were to be lived in celibacy.
Perhaps these children who are to
administer communion should be enrolled as Readers with a heavy
expectation that they end up as priests. Doesn't that sound a bit
odd? This rush to children's ministry is a denial of their right to
grow up without being burdened with premature responsibilities
within the Church.
11 Middle Garth Drive, South Cave
Brough, East Yorkshire HU15 2AY
From Mrs A. Kaleniuk
Sir, - The report about the "pressure"
of children's Christmas lists (News,
9 November) could not have been more timely in our household. I
came downstairs on the Sunday morning to find that my
seven-year-old son had written his Christmas letter to Santa, and
had also, after taking instructions from our three-year-old
daughter, written his sister's letter to Santa.
As a stay-at-home clergy wife, I
approached the letters with some trepidation; but imagine my
delight when I saw that the price for each item was specified, and
that the total cost had been totted up.
The total sum for each child came to
less than £70; so obviously my son had been listening when I told
him that Santa has a budget, which is why he can't give too many
presents to one child, but has to distribute his gifts equally.
1 Tamarisk Close, Claines
Worcester WR3 7LE