Dear Mr. Ledbetter,

Having received, not for the first time, your literature through the door I think it is time that someone draws your attention to the difference between your caricature of the Roman Catholic Church and the reality. I will say at the outset that I find your approach to evangelization peculiar. An anti‑Catholic diatribe based on ignorance and prejudice will not win many hearts or minds. It is not that I think the Catholic Church perfect or above criticism or always consistent in the positions it has taken up over the long period of its history. Indeed it would be strange if it were perfect ! After all, it is made up of human beings who are sinful and weak. In this I think we agree . Across the spectrum of denominations and centuries from the earliest churches of the Acts of the Apostles to our present day plethora of congregations so diverse and sadly often so antagonistic there is all too much evidence of human frailty.

You begin your offensive on the Catholic Church be pointing out discrepancies between the Ten Commandments as set out in Exodus and the version taught in school catechisms. Well, the copy of the Bible which I possess and which was given to me many years ago on my twenty first birthday by an aunt who was a sister of a religious order contains the very same version of Exodus and the Commandments as your Bible !!! Believe it or not Catholics accept the Bible in all its truth and if we sometimes fail to live out this truth in our words and actions you can blame our frailty and fallibility not our faith. I am sure you will appreciate this point believing as you do so firmly in our common fallen nature. Editing of the Bible in either text or teaching is I would say less a characteristic of the Catholic Church than the Reformed churches. Does your Bible have the letter of St. James (N.T.) or the Book of the Maccabees (O.T) for instance ? What emphasis do your give to John 6 ?, When you do address this chapter do you bring a metaphorical mindset to the reading setting aside the usual literalism of Christian fundamentalism ?

Catholics are not and have never been taught to pay homage to statues and images as you claim. If any Catholic does such a thing then they are indeed in error and in error according to the tenets of their own Catholic faith. No, while we do indeed have imagery and symbol and ritual and music these are but aids to prayer which is in essence a lifting up of the heart and mind to God. Jesus himself used images widely in his teaching ‑ sheep, shepherds, vine, branches, water, seed, harvest, bread, wine ‑ as well as story and ritual. The healing of the blind man in this Sunday's Gospel (John 9) contains an interesting ritual performed by Jesus. Incidentally, the same Sunday Gospel is read in both Catholic and Anglican churches throughout the world signifying the centrality value and 'indivisibility of our common scriptural heritage.

The Rosary of which you have such little understanding is a meditative prayer based on Scripture which takes Catholics through the signal events 'in the story of our Salvation which are called Mysteries. Mary of course is honoured in this prayer as it is through her that the Incarnation, God's great inbreaking into human history, took place and through the Incarnation that our Salvation becomes possible. Mary has a key place in the Catholic Church as the first disciple and is greatly loved and revered BUT she is not a mediator of our Salvation except in the way (though perhaps to a different degree) that any herald of the Good News can be said to be a mediator. It is true that certain Marian cults in the Catholic Church have given Mary a centrality that distorts the Catholic teaching in this respect.

You talk about the Catholic Church's regard for traditions! A little rich this if I may say so coming from someone who speaks the Word of God in archaisms ! 'Ye, thou, thy, thus ' etc. etc. I don't have any problem with this of course. but it does show you place a value on tradition too. The making of the Sign of the Cross which you denigrate is a witness to our faith and while it in itself is not biblical it can hardly be said to be at odds with anything that Scripture proclaims. On the contrary, indeed, it professes the death and resurrection of Jesus through which our Salvation is achieved.

No you are indeed very wrong when you say the Catholic Church teaches that Salvation comes from good works rather than faith.. The Catholic Church teaches that good words are the fruit of faith. This of course is what Jesus himself teaches. "A withered tree does not bring forth good fruit " . or “By their fruits shall you know them " You recall how Jesus will greet the just on the last Day ? "I was hungry and you fed me, naked and you clothed me, in prison and you visited me  etc. Again you will recall how he said " not all who say Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom but those who do the will of the Father." Now we know that Jesus did the Father's will and he did so by healing and forgiving and "doing all manner of good”

The Catholic Church does not teach that Jesus is continually sacrificed today as you write. Like you, we too have a Bible that contains the teaching of St. Paul as set out in his letters to the Romans and the Hebrews and we both proclaim and believe this teaching. ( "Christ being raised from the dead dies no more" ) The Salvation won for us by Jesus is however a perpetual reality, the daily bread of our new life in Christ, and it is this abiding reality we celebrate, commemorate and enter into in the fullest sense through the Eucharist, Sacrament of his presence which is his bequest to his Church.

One final point. You are indeed right when you say that Jesus advised his followers to call no man Rabbi. Do you suppose he was referring merely to title or to the 'listen to me I am right attitude ‘ which such a title may indicate ? Perhaps, if the hat fits ..........


Yours sincerely,




See the response from Bill D