17 NOVEMBER 1961, Page 13

Sm,—Monica Furlong and her 'razor-sharp' intelli- gentsia would do well

to reflect that intercom- munion isn't a matter of inviting people to 'share my chalice.' If it were my chalice, or hers, or an Anglican, Roman or Free Church chalice, the rest of us could share her cheerful lightheartedness about the whole business. The trouble is that it's Christ's chalice.

It is open to vs. on strictly 'Catholic' principles, to deny that non-Episcopalians drink Christ's chalice at all; but a certain saying about the unforgivable sin makes most of us hesitate to do so. If, on the other hand, they really do drink it. and so do we, the question why we don't drink it together becomes more serious than Monica Furlong suggests. Her analogy with marriage is all right up to a point. You certainly ought to get acquainted before you marry. But you can't become one flesh—or in the case of churches one Body—until you live together, and it is usually better to get married at the begin- ning of this process than at the end.

Short cuts may be risky, but they are more pro- mising than dead ends; and the high road to inter- communion by way of agreement about the historic episcopate has been closed by the barbed-wire entanglement of a Tractarian' doctrine of the' minis- try which the Church of England at the Reformation and for long afterwards never dreamed of accepting. Warm emotion and woolly minds do tend to keep company; but it would be rash to conclude that the best qualification for a sound theologian Is a cold heart.