15 AUGUST 1958, Page 17


SIR,—You ar•e courageous to raise the controversy over Our Lord's teaching on divorce. It may seem a quarrel over a phrase in you• columns between Bishop and Monk. No doubt the higher teaching is for them to dispense to those who will hear them. Laymen of all churches would like clearness on the famous phrase in Matthew. Did Christ sanction divorce in one case? Moses apparently suffered 'a writing of divorcement' but this Our Lord' would not allow `except for fornication.' (A.V.) May I reverently ask : what in heaven's name does this mean? Fr. Graham. an Anglican Monk, whose Order all admire, does not like the 'so-called Matthean exception' which he smooths over by an unlikely explanation, that it refers to St. Joseph's attitude during his betrothal to the Blessed Virgin. I do not know if this is the thought of ffie Lambeth Conference or of the Roman Rota. Other gospels omit the phrase„. No doubt Fr. Graham would like to omit it from• Matthew. Meanwhile it stands and what ecclesiastic dare cut off a verse of Scripture even if it scandalises him?

Meantime, read the Grcek.and Latin texts. What is the' real meaning of 'the writing of divorcement'? Jerome's Latin says 'Li helium divortiE but Matthew's Greek says 'bihlion apostaseos,' but does that mean more than legal separation—a warning to stand aside —and for rather a good reason?

Efforts have been made by critics to drop out of Scripture Our Lord's exquisite treatment of the Magdalen since his comment on her conduct was simply, 'she hath loved much.`—Yours faithfully.