Friday, December 19, 2014

An Ecumenical Service

Although himself a staunch Baptist, the Right Honorable the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Mrs. Barker, who have been staying with Brigadier and Mrs. Rougham at Rougham Castle, attended Divine Service at the Roman Catholic chapel of St. Gregory at Rougham on Sunday morning as an ecumenical gesture. The Service was conducted by the Reverend Paul Cromer, priest in charge of the Roman Catholic mission. The Chancellor read the Epistle, which was taken from the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. At the offertory Mrs. Barker gave an impressive rendering of Gounod's Ave Maria which was much appreciated by the large congregation. The sermon was preached by Monsignor Philip Pailey, representing the Roman Catholic bishop of Hertford. His text was: 'Outside the Church There is no Salvation,' from which, with an eloquence too rarely heard in our churches today, he showed that all men are members of the same church, 'since all are pilgrims in search of the Absolute Truth we call God.' In a fine outburst of rhetoric he exclaimed: "For too long the Roman Church has proclaimed that she alone is in possession of the whole Truth; that Truth alone has rights; that error has none. At last we begin to realize the dignity of the human person, which transcends accidents of right and wrong. At last we have learned – in the words of the great political thinker Gabriel Monod – 'that the essence of liberty is the liberty of error.'"
— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 110.