31 JULY 1964, Page 14


SIR,—Mr. Hensman's 'facts' are by no means clear. It is certain that the so-called 'mass vestments' were legal in the Church of England under the first English Prayer Book of 1549, for the book specifically pro- vides for their use. It is almost as certain that they were legal from 1559 (the Elizabethan book) until the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in defiance of the plain meaning of words decided to the contrary in the last century. This judgment was described by two eminent jurists of the time as 'a judgment of policy, not of law' and as 'a flagitious judgment.'

What Vestments Measure does is to give eccle- siastical sanction to the low churchmen's disobedi- ence to the Ornaments Rubric.