Norman Bonney’s comment (Letters, 13 November) on the “Great Silence” requires a small correction. Whether the inscription, “Their name liveth for evermore”, is taken from the apocrypha, scriptures not approved to be part of the Bible, depends on which Christian tradition you look at.
The inscription is taken from the Book of Ecclesiasticus (or Sirach) which has been considered part of the Catholic canon of scripture from the days of the Didache (AD70), and later affirmed by both the Council of Rome (AD382) and the Council of Hippo (AD393). Only following the events of the Reformation was Ecclesiasticus and six other books of the Old Testament relegated to the apocrypha. These seven books remain, however, very much part of the Catholic Bible.
Norman Bonney calls for an exclusion of prayer at war memorials and the embracing of an “inclusive” silence.
For the believer, silence is indispensable in prayer since it allows God to speak. In silence we truly listen to ourselves and, we believe, God. However, speaking is human and necessary.
When those who are bereaved speak, for example, the difficult task of healing begins; the longer they are silent, the more difficult it can be to come to terms with pain.
So it is nationally; we must speak in words that are inspired and which encompass beauty and thought.
Speaking up allows us to confront the reality of war and loss. Too much silence allows for too much ambiguity.
(Rev Dr) Thomas J Shields