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published a six-page “policy brief” on popu- lation, in which it states: “Given its detrimental impact on poverty reduction, it is surprising that the issue of population growth has received so little attention over the last decade from development donors, agencies and developing country governments alike. For example, the Millennium Development Goals, agreed in 2001, made no reference to population growth, while the influential Commission for Africa report, published in 2005, had almost nothing to say on the subject. Yet there is overwhelming evidence of the damaging impact that rapid population growth has on poverty reduction efforts.” Is it too late to give some hope to mothers overburdened with so many children that high infant and maternal death rates and extreme poverty are virtually inevitable? I hope not. Catholics at least should try to help, as over the decades we have earned a reputation for being indifferent to this cause of suffering. Gerald Danaher

Ravenstone, Leicestershire

The first Christians Palestinian, Israeli and other Middle Eastern Catholics may be surprised and a little annoyed to read in your editorial of 11 September that Europe is “the cradle of the Catholic faith”. Let's not add to the suffering many of them are enduring by writing them out of history. Their ancestors were the first to be called Christians. Gerard Hore Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Newman and doctrine In your otherwise impressive 18 September issue on the Pope’s visit to Britain, I find two notable errors concerning Newman. One is Robert Mickens’ (Letter from Rome) in assigning the date of 1848 to Newman’s departure from the Anglican Communion when he “became a Roman Catholic”. Of course, it was 1845. The other is Tony Blair’s mistaken assump- tion (News from Britain and Ireland) that Newman was “the first theologian to introduce the concept of the development of doctrine”. Newman himself, however, appeals to the authority of St Vincent of Lerins (fifth century), and I might add the similar argument of the Catholic theologian Dr Henry Cole in his early controversy against the Anglican cham- pion John Jewel (published in 1560). (Fr) Peter Milward SJ Tokyo, Japan

I enjoyed John Wilkins’ revisitation (“In all conscience”, 11 September) of Newman’s famous after-dinner toast, “I will drink to Pope by all means – still, to conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards”. Newman showed characteristic frankness in voicing a personal opinion rich with recent overtones. Newman's opinion was reported in Inside the Vatican (Aug.-Sept. 2010) by John J. Hughes, son and grandson of Anglican priests, who served as an Anglican priest himself for six years

before becoming a Catholic in 1960. Commenting on the pastoral letter Cardinal Henry Edward Manning issued after the First Vatican Council, implying that the Pope’s infallibility was unlimited, Newman wrote: “We have come to a climax of tyranny. It is not good for a pope to live 20 years. It is an anomaly and bears no good fruit: he becomes a god, has no one to contradict him, does not know facts, and does cruel things without meaning it.” Pius IX’s pontificate (1846-1878), the longest in church history, had almost eight years to run when Newman penned those lines. (Fr) Larry N. Lorenzoni, SDB San Francisco, California, USA

One-time neighbours I was fascinated to realise (Notebook, 25 September) that for a brief time Pope Benedict and Blessed Franz Jägerstätter (Letters, 18 September) lived only 5km apart. Tittmoning, the small town where, from 1929 to 1932, the infant Joseph Ratzinger attended the nursery run by the “Englische Fräulein”, is on the Bavarian side of the border with Austria. In 1930, Jägerstätter returned to his village of St Radegund on the Austrian side, and resumed work as a farmer after three years away from home. St Radegund was famous at that time for

a Passion play put on by its 500 inhabitants, complete with brass band, children’s choir, catering, and transport to bring people from the railway station at Tittmoning. The parish chronicle records how the play was severely affected after the Nazis came to power in 1933, confiscated advertisements, closed the border, and cut off the Bavarian audience. Valerie Flessati London N4

Plagiarism? Surely not What are we to do with Boris Johnson? Perhaps a plagiarism charge? Maybe his suggestion of “Dei sub numine viget” (“Under God’s power she flourishes”) as a motto for London’s welcome for the Pope (Notebook, 18 September) is just inspired and really innocent of malfeasance? However, it has been Princeton University’s

motto for a great many years. Boris and London might try again for a fresh motto. David K. Reeves Princeton, New Jersey, USA

Out of the mouths… My proof that a positive spirit greeted the Pope’s visit does not come from the dispro- portionate ratio of the numbers in the pro- and anti-Pope rallies but from the fact that none of the children held up to him resisted his blessings. The significance of this otherwise trivial testimony could be conversely imagined (especially with the interpretation the protesters will give) had the children resisted with tantrums as some could naturally have done in such circumstances. (Fr) Ugo Ikwuka CSSp Smethwick, West Midlands

The living Spirit

Is it not obvious that by the gift of God, the soul of the faithful person is the most worthy of all creatures and is of greater value than even heaven? For neither heaven nor the rest of Creation can contain the Creator; only the faithful soul can be His dwelling place and His home, and this comes about only through love. St Clare

Letter 3:22

St Francis and St Clare of Assisi Sister Claire Agnes (St Pauls, 2009)

When Jesus commands us to love our neighbours, he does not only mean our human neighbours; he means all the animals and birds, insects and plants, amongst whom we live … Of course, our love for other species is less full and less intense than our love for humans, because the range and depth of their feelings are less than our own. Yet we should remem- ber that all love comes from God. Letters of Pelagius The Celtic Heart Ed. Pat Robson (SPCK, 2009)

It has always been the habit of Catholics in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary, and to seek for peace in her maternal goodness; showing that the Catholic Church has always, and with justice, put all her hope and trust in the Mother of God. And truly the Immaculate Virgin, cho- sen to be the Mother of God and thereby associated with Him in the work of man’s salvation, has a favour and power with her Son greater than any human or angelic creature has ever obtained, or ever can gain.

And, as it is her greatest pleasure to

grant her help and comfort to those who seek her, it cannot be doubted that she would deign, and even be anxious, to receive the aspirations of the universal Church.

Pope Leo XIII

Supremi Apostolatus Officio On Devotion of the Rosary 1 September 1883

4 October is the Feast of St Francis of Assisi

7 October is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

2 October 2010 | THE TABLET | 19

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