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Sunday, 25 July 2010

Accuracy should trump tradition!

As some are aware, I am a fairly regular contributer to the Letters page of The (Glasgow) Herald newspaper. Unfortunately, not every letter that I submit is considered, by the Letters editor, to be worthy of publication. Often, this is no big deal; but I am a wee bit peeved when I am not allowed to publicly answer public criticism of myself! This is exactly what happened, last week. There had been some correspondence on the forthcoming Papal visit to the U.K., and it's not inconsiderable cost. A Mr Bill Heaney had provided very enthusiastic support for the expense - including that met by the already overburdened British taxpayer (a fair proportion is, allegedly, being raised by special collections in the appropriate churches). In a response to that letter I had referred to 'the Church of Rome'. Mr Heaney was permitted a reply in which he accused me of 'disrespect'! The following is the relevant section of a slightly longer letter that the editor failed to publish!

Mr Bill Heaney takes me to task on a number of issues (Letters, July 19). However, the one that causes me concern is his contention that my reference to 'the Church of Rome' is disrespectful. May I, with all due respect, point out to Mr Heaney that the word 'catholic' means 'universal'. That being the case I, even as a member of the Reformed Church, do not have the difficulty that some of the more sectarian-minded folk in the West of Scotland seem to have, with the statement in The Apostles' Creed: "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church". However, as soon as one places an adjective before the word 'Catholic', one creates an oxymoron. The Church cannot, simultaneously, be both Roman and Catholic!

Furthermore, I believe that I am correct in stating that the prime position of the Pontiff is 'the Bishop of Rome'. Centred in Rome, and with authority flowing from Rome - Mr Heaney may not like my declining to use the poular and traditional term, but my accurate nomenclature cannot be rightly used to accuse me of disrespect! To call a spade a spade is not disrespectful; and to call it a manually operated automatic digging implement is just plain wrong!

Of course, it is not only advocates of the Church of Rome who tend to place "the tradition of the elders" (see e.g., Mark 7:8) over accuracy, and even the plain teaching of the Word of God. Sadly, this is only to be expected. Writing to his young friend, Timothy, Paul informed him that "... a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths." (II Tim 4:3-4; NLT).

The 'upside' of this is that it would appear to be one of the many signs that the end of time is rapidly approaching, when
"... the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel , and with the trumpet call of God." (1 Thess 4:16; NLT); when
"... at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father." (Phil 2:10-11)

"Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev 22:20)

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