- Conscience and the Commons
Following his election as Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron was grilled by the media about his beliefs as an evangelical Christian. Has the focus on faith, which began with Tony Blair, reached the point where it is harder than ever to hold religious beliefs and play an active role in political life?
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There is a solution to the "vexed question" of celebrating Holydays on the nearest Sunday rather than the "correct" day (The Tablet, 31 May), however it is only available to those who live in an area where the extraordinary form of Mass is celebrated.
For example, Ascension Day may be celebrated according to the extraordinary form calendar on Thursday 19 June and in places such as the Oratory there is usually a Solemn High Mass. This is one of the advantages of having the two forms of the Roman rite running side by side and why the use old rite should be encouraged as per Summorum Pontificum.
Kevin O'Connor, Solihull, West Midlands
I read Melanie McDonagh's article on public holidays with interest, in which she asks: "Is there anything we can do to restore a different rhythm?"
I believe there is a very simple change that can restore the balance.
Whilst I have been supportive of the move a few years ago to transfer certain former holy days to the next Sunday, I am puzzled as to how SS Peter and Paul stayed in the loop. A look at the various holydays observed around the world seems to suggest that SS Peter and Paul is the least of the 10 days.
My suggestion would be to slightly alter our current list here in England and Wales. Take away the obligation for SS Peter and Paul, put the Ascension back to the traditional Thursday, so our first one for the year.
Then we have Assumption: current rules still intact where if it falls on a Saturday/Monday, no obligation is attached. Similarly All Saints, and then Christmas Day.
We then keep four such days, and we would always have at least two days each year to be observed, which will not be transferred.
This would also be ecumenical, as Anglicans mostly keep the Ascension on Thursdays and some Anglo-Catholics do follow our pattern now. It also means we keep two of our days on the traditional dates, and hopefully will go some way to pleasing those who wanted no change at all. What do others think?
David McGeoghan-Powell, London, NW6