5 APRIL 1963, Page 10

Honest to ITV I have been reading the transcript of

Kenneth Harris's interview with the Archbishop of Can- terbury on ITV—an experience which has left me more muddled than ever about just where modern churchmen stand in regard to what might be called 'historical' Christianity. What Mr. Harris, the representative of 'progress,' seemed to be pressing on the Archbishop, and what Dr. Ramsey appeared to be resisting to the best of his ability was a sort of consumer Christianity, in which the decisive factor in the determining of belief was aptly defined as the opinions of 'many of those people there.' Dr. Ramsey did not, in fact, have much difficulty in fending off criticisms already decrepit in the nineteenth cen- tury, but showed himself a good deal less forth- right when it came to the Bishop of Woolwich. It is understandable that he should have wished to preserve the unity of the Church of England, but, surely, it must have been quite apparent to any intelligent viewer that it is only a legal fic- tion which can gather the Bishop and his ecclesiastical superior under one roof. For my part, I tend to agree with Taine who wrote a hundred years ago that attempts to 'modernise' Christianity by transforming it into a vague patheism were an insult both to Christians and to atheists.