Early Correspondence

Early Correspondence

LETTER FROM SECRETARY C.L.S. TO PRESIDENT C.L.S.

 38, The Drive

London E.18.

 

May 14, 1957.

 

Dear Dr. McReavy,

Many thanks for your letter of May 6.

I have booked Southwell House for the Tuesday and Wednesday of Whitweek (June 11-12) : I suppose the program can be left fairly flexible, but I think the first lecture should be at a definite fixed time, and I think 6pm will suit very well. Most people should be able to arrive there from any distance by that time, and that will leave the time after supper free for any less formal discussions and conversations. I shall fix the two papers for the next morning at 10am and 11.30, but it will be easy to change that on the actual day if necessary as everybody will be on the spot.

Fr. Davis telephoned me this afternoon and was a little anxious that a formal approach should be made to Archbishop Godfrey for his approval before a meeting was arranged in his territory I can imagine that Fr. Davis is in a difficult position there! Would you write to the Archbishop for us? I expect you know him from Ushaw days and could approach him on a less formal basis than any one else. 

I shall be sending out a circular about the June meeting in the next day or so.

Yours sincerely, in Christ,

Dan Shanahan

Secretary

 

The Rev. L.L. McReavy, J.C.D.

Ushaw College, Durham.
 

LETTER FROM ARCHBISHOP OF WESTMINSTER TO PRESIDENT C.L.S.

Archbishops House

Westminster

London S.W.1.

16th May 1957.

 

My Dear Lawrence,

Thank you very much indeed for your letter of 15th May and for telling me of the proposals to establish a Canon Law Society. Naturally, I shall welcome any means of promoting the study of Canon Law amongst priests.

However, if this Society is to be formally established in this country, it may well require the approval of all the Bishops. For this reason it would seem good to me to ask you to send to me at your convenience a copy of the statutes of the Society giving in detail its objects and rules. When I have seen this I will let you know what course should be followed in order to obtain official sanction for the Society.

Kindest greetings to Ushaw.

God bless you.

Yours most devotedly in Christ.

                       

+William

Archbishop of Westminster

 

The Rev. L.L. McReavy, J.C.D., M.A.

St. Cuthbert’s College 

Ushaw

Durham  

REPLY FROM PRESIDENT C.L.S. TO ARCHBISHOP OF WESTMINSTER

Ushaw College

Durham

 

18th May 1957

Your Grace,

I thank you sincerely for your prompt reply to my request for a blessing on our newly founded Canon Law Society.

To judge however from your references to “formal establishment” and “official sanction” it would seem that I must have misled you as to the precise object of my request. I was not seeking the kind of canonical approbation which is required for the formal establishment of an “ecclesiastical association,” in the strict sense of Canon 686, and for which an examination and approval of statutes is necessary. Not only had I no warrant from our members to apply for such status, but I very much doubt whether, at this very modest stage of our development, any of them would aspire to it, or even desire it. They would, I feel sure, prefer to remain, at least for the time being, a private association without any official standing in the Church.

But the ecclesiastical authority not infrequently gives “commendation” to non-ecclesiastical associations without, as it were, taking them into the framework of the Church. It is merely this simple commendation (Canon 684) that I am seeking on behalf of our members. In other words, we would value an assurance from Your Grace that our venture and its objects are laudable in themselves and can laudably be pursued, subject always, of course, to the observance of the requirements of the common law in any of our undertakings (e.g. publications etc) which brings us within its terms.

I can well understand, however, that one in Your Grace’s position should be chary of even “commending” an association, without having first examined its declared purpose, as stated in its adopted constitutions. I am therefore asking Dr. Shanahan, our Secretary, to forward you a copy of the constitutions which we adopted at our inaugural meeting. I trust that you will then feel able to give us your blessing in the above sense. We should not like to feel that our private deliberations are in way suspect or disapproved.

Thanking you for your friendly message to all at Ushaw, which I can confidently reciprocate on their behalf, I remain, Your Grace,

Yours most respectfully in Christ,

L.L. McReavy

President

 

The Most Reverend William Godfrey,

Archbishop of Westminster

Archbishop’s House

London SW1.

 LETTER FROM SECRETARY C.L.S. TO ARCHBISHOP OF WESTMINSTER

38, The Drive

London E.18.                                                                                             

 

May 20, 1957.

Your Grace,                                                                              

I have had a letter from Dr. McReavy of Ushaw, in which he asks me to send you a copy of the Constitutions of the Canon Law Society.

I enclose them herewith together with all the other letters that have been circulated in connection with this Society.

Please excuse us that they are only duplicated sheets : we are as yet only an informal group of enthusiasts, and are still debating what we can do to help each other. If we succeed in working out some system of cooperation we shall no doubt be able to print something more respectable for the approval of Your Grace.

Begging your blessing,

I have the honour to remain, Your Grace

Most respectfully yours in Christ

 

Dan Shanahan

Secretary

The Most Reverend William Godfrey, D.D.,

Archbishop of Westminster

 

REPLY FROM ARCHBISHOP OF WESTMINSTER TO SECRETARY C.L.S.

Archbishops House

Westminster        

London W.S.1.

 

22nd June, 1957

Dear Doctor Shanahan,                                                  

Thank you very much indeed for your letter of some days ago and for sending me the Constitutions and papers in connection with the Canon Law Society. I have read these with interest and feel that, inasmuch as the Society is for priests throughout England and Wales, I should seek the views of the other members of the Hierarchy before granting my approval to the Constitutions.

You will appreciate that without formal approval I cannot grant the Society my patronage and I think it is best to consult the other Bishops first.

With a blessing and every good wish,

 

Yours devotedly in Christ, 

+ William

 Archbishop of Westminster

 

The Rev. D. Shanahan, J.C.D.

38, The Drive 

London E.18.

 

 REPLY FROM SECRETARY C.L.S. TO ARCHBISHOP OF WESTMINSTER

38 The Drive

London E.18

 

June 25, 1957

Your Grace,                                                                            

I wish to thank you for your kind letter of June 22, referring to the Canon Law Society.

I am forwarding the letter to Dr. McReavy at Ushaw, for he is our President and perhaps he will communicate with Your Grace.

It is very kind of Your Grace to take an interest in our Society. I have been asked, as Secretary, to try and organise a Meeting for next January. I trust this will be in order, even though we do not have any approval or patronage? It is still difficult to tell whether there is sufficient interest in the project to keep it going, or, like so many other societies, it may prove to be only a flash in the pan. If we may be permitted to have one or two meetings, we shall be able to judge the situation better. May I take it that this will be in order, unless I hear to the contrary.

Begging a blessing,

I have the honour to remain, Your Grace,

Yours respectfully in Christ.

 

Dan Shanahan

Secretary

 

His Grace

The Most Reverend William Godfrey,

Archbishop of Westminster

 

REPLY FROM ARCHBISHOP OF WESTMINSTER TO SECRETARY C.L.S.

Archbishops House

Westminster

London S.W.1.

 

29th June, 1957

Dear Doctor Shanahan,                                                              

Thank you for your letter of 25th June.

I think it will be best if we raise the question of the proposed Constitutions of the Canon Law Society at the October meeting. There is no reason why you should not in the meantime carry on with your arrangements of future meetings during the next few months.

With a blessing and every good wish,

Yours devotedly in Christ,

 

+ William

Archbishop of Westminster

 

The Rev. D. Shanahan,

38, The Drive

London E.18.

 

LETTER FROM ARCHBISHOP OF WESTMINSTER TO PRESIDENT C.L.S.

Archbishopss House

Westminster

London S.W.1.

 

29th October, 1957.

My dear Father McReavy,                                                            

At the recent meeting of the Bishops I took the opportunity to acquaint their Lordships with information concerning the recent establishment of the Canon Law Society.

I am happy to inform you, as President of the Society, that the Bishops agreed to give their encouragement to this Society. However, they thought it wise, at least at this initial stage, that the Society should publish nothing without first submitting the material to myself. I am confident that you will understand the wisdom of this and I am happy to assure you and your fellow officers of my interest and blessing.

With every kind wish, 

Yours devotedly in Christ,

                        

+ William

Archbishop of Westminster

 

The Rev. L. McReavy

Ushaw College

Durham

 

REPLY FROM PRESIDENT C.L.S. TO ARCHBISHOP OF WESTMINSTER

Ushaw College

Durham

 

31 October, 1957

Your Grace,                                                                                          

Thank you for your kind letter assuring me that the Canon Law Society henceforth enjoys the encouragement of the hierarchy, as well as your own interest and blessing. In return I think I can assure you that the members will readily comply with your condition, and that, for the time being, the Society as such will not publish in this country any material which has not first been submitted to Your Grace. For the moment, our numbers and resources are so modest that any sort of formal publication seems a very remote achievement.

With all good wishes,

Yours respectfully in Christ,

 

L. McReavy

President

 

The Most Reverend William Godfrey,

Archbishop of Westminster,

Archbishops House

London S.W.1.

 

LETTER FROM SECRETARY C.L.S. TO PRESIDENT C.L.S.

38, The Drive

London E.18.

 

November 3, 1957.

Dear Dr. McReavy,                                                                    

Thank you for your kind letter of October 31 telling me of the decision of the Hierarchy. I knew the subject was going to be discussed, and I had wind of the result, but could do nothing about it until it was made public.

I have been waiting for this moment to get out a circular about the next Meeting. In this way I can combine the news of the Hierarchical approval with the invitation to the next Meeting.

I know you feel strongly that we do not need any approval for our actions as individuals, but still it does no harm to have it now that it has been granted. It may help our membership. We can discuss patronage at the January Meeting: personally I feel that we are primarily workers, and do not want a lot of ceremonial and patrons and so on.

The Jurists editor (Bastnagel) wrote asking for permission to publish Urban Judges and Dennings papers. Denning refused, but Urban agreed, and I wrote Bastnagel accordingly. Do you think I had better send a copy to Archbishop Godfrey? (I am afraid this has only just occurred to me ; I had taken it that the copyright was Urbans not ours).

With every kind wish,

Yours sincerely,

 

Dan Shanahan

Secretary

 

The Rev. L. L. McReavy

St. Cuthberts College

Ushaw

Durham

 

The text of Monsignor McReavys reply to this letter is not available, but a note in his own hand at the foot of the letter, referring to the final paragraph says:

I replied with a definite negative. It is not required by the Canon Law, nor required by the common law, nor by the Archbishops condition which refers only to publications of the Society, and would create an awkward precedent.

L.L. McR

 

[CLSN September 1982] 

Monsignor Gerard Sheehy