14 August 2015, The Tablet

Other options for Portsmouth

It seems rather sad that the Bishop of Portsmouth feels he has to invite various “pre-Vatican II” outsiders to run his parishes, (“Friars take parish back in time”, 1 August). He has some very dedicated, experienced and much loved priests available who were forced to leave their priestly ministry, many because of the “sin” of wishing to marry. He also has the choice of numerous Deacons, some of whom wish to remain in the role of Deacon but others who would take the next step into ordination. Then there are married family men who feel they have a vocation to the priesthood - and would bring credibility to the job. Last, but not least, he has a choice from no less than one half of the Catholic population who are illegally discriminated against because they just happen to be born women. It is incomprehensible to many young modern Catholic adults, as well as those not so young, that so much discrimination and inequality still exist in the Church, when in the secular society in which they live and work equality and anti-discrimination laws have been around for a very long time.

To those of you who do not wish to remain under the thumb of authoritarian, traditionalist orders who in this case appear to be dictating how people are to receive Communion, and what they are to wear, can I suggest that you vote with your feet and search for a more welcoming spiritual home elsewhere.
Sue Oakley, Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire

I’m sure I’m not alone in being appalled by the report of what is being proposed by the friars who have taken over a parish in my own diocese of Portsmouth.

I suppose at a pinch communicants might just be prepared to kneel to receive communion (a practice which, happily, seems to have disappeared in most of our churches).

But the idea of women being recommended “to cover their heads at Mass” is simply preposterous.

One can only hope that the good people of St Mary’s Gosport will boycott this strange collection of antediluvian friars. They could either worship in nearby Fareham or take the ferry across to Portsmouth, where they can make their views known to the bishop who sent in the friars!
Bernard Tucker, Old Alresford, Hampshire

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