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The television version of Hilary Mantel’s novel Wolf Hall is the latest account to challenge St Thomas More’s reputation as a courageous defender of the rights of conscience. Was he, in truth, a liberal icon, a religious fanatic or something in between?
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I refer to Mary Geoghegan’s letter (“Unaccountable parish priest”, The Tablet, 28 June ). A similar situation applies in our parish. The incoming parish priest has removed the free-standing altar, installed rails and derides the Second Vatican Council. Seven Tridentine Masses a week and so on … all without reference to the congregation. Sunday evenings are given over to a grand Tridentine Mass with his own imported choir, followed by a get-together in the Hall. This is attended by adherents from all over the diocese.
The bishop only responded to our many requests when I wrote to the papal nuncio and then four of us were invited to discuss the matter with the bishop. Nothing has changed at the parish level, so some of us have decided very reluctantly to attend Mass in other parishes.
It is apparent that we have been sacrificed to the militant Latin Mass Society (LMS) and their adherents. I fear for the Church here in England.
Charles Hartley, address withheld
I found Mary Geoghegan's letter very sad, very dispiriting, but very interesting. It seems to illustrate yet again Lord Acton's letter to Bishop Creighton of 3 April 1887: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." The only defence for those of us so ignored is to vote with our feet and find a new "home," a parish or other place of worship with an incumbent who actually realises that by "church" we do not mean an institution but a group of Christians, including the priest, who travel together and share the same set of values.
Susan Oakley, Hampshire