20 JANUARY 1967, Page 14

The Path from Rome SIR, It is sad to see

an intelligent and responsible paper like the SPECTATOR following the current Roman lapidation craze to the extent of publishing pathetic little accusations from schoolboys.

To say that the Church is doing nothing in the modern world to alleviate suffering is a wild and patently ridiculous lie. Perhaps reference was in- tended to that suffering associated with self-discipline and personal sacrifice which Catholic Christianity, never a 'soft' religion, demands of us.

Charles Davis appeared to find it too demanding and, retreating loquaciously from Rome into the limelight, recently told us how he planned to 'turn to love and marriage for the building of a new life.' We wish him well, and those of us who don't listen to pop songs might welcome future reports from him on the grandeurs and miseries of sex and matrimony.

If Mother Church, temporarily forgetting her heri- tage and ignoring her potential, is going through one of her occasional crises and being difficile with her children, it is not to their credit to kick her in the face and make for the nearest exit.

We need a new Chateaubriand to remind us of the genius of Christianity and all its inexhaustible resources. Meanwhile we must thank God for that splendid outsider Muggeridge, telling us with ex- quisite astringency that 'All that is most mediocre and contemptible in human beings derives from the pursuit of earthly happiness. It is the glory of Christianity to have denounced and defied this pur- suit.'