1 HAVE been greatly encouraged by the replies you have printed to my earlier letter regarding the problems of mixed marriages and even more so by the many private letters you have sent on to me.
I was beginning to think I was a lone voice crying in the wilderness and it has consoled me to find that many other couples have shared the same difficulties and found some ways to ease their distress.
I am particularly grateful to members of the Association of Interchurch Families, an organisation of which I was totally unaware, who have gone out of their way to help me.
feel, however, that this association is more relevant to couples that have continued to practise their own Separate religions and these represent only a small proportion of mixed marriages. 1 am more concerned about the others, the majority of the mixed marriages, which now account for 70 per cent of the marriages in the Catholic Church.
I do not think that the Church does enough to help these cases and it surprises me that the Church does not seem to realise that this lack of care and concern is doing immense damage.
Perhaps a few facts will illustrate this. In this small area I know personally seven mixed marriage families with a total of seventeen children and in every case there have been difficulties in the marriage arising Irum religion. with the result that nearly all the children are Catholics in name only. If this pattern is repeated throughout the country for 70 per cent of the marriages, can the Catholic Church claim to be carrying out Our Lord's command to St. Peter: "Feed my lambs".
Despairing Mather P.S. Although still in some despair this correspondence has made me much more hopeful.
Name and address supplied.
I am an elderly and retired Anglican priest and a regular subscriber to, and reader of, the Catholic Herald. I am very sympathetic to your correspondent "Despairing Mother" (July 6), Surely, as far as Anglicanism goes, she is affecting herself unnecessarily. As far as I know, Anglicans are not excommunicated for attending, for charitable reasons, the worship of Roman Catholic Churches, nor for receiving Holy Communion therein, if permitted (as sometimes happens in emergencies and special occasions I am informed) or tolerated for a specie/ occasion. I can quote many accounts of such happenings — but I agreo that regular reception of Holy Communion with the Anglicans is still not allowed by the Roman Catholic Church; I have never received Holy Communion from a Roman priest, but can imagine that if in s'.vlm'um,t 1 might ask and no doubt be granted.
There seems to me no reason whatever why the poor mother should not attend the Anglicans for Holy Communion and then go regularly with her family to the local Catholic Church. But perionally the simplest and, it seems to me. the best way out would be to ask for reception into the Roman Church. Even if some of the minor doctrines and practices don't suit her spiritual digestion, remember the splendid advice the White Queen gave "Alice", and who said belief only needed practice! Nowadays, thanks be to God, as the Church draws together to face the adversary, the mental religious images which the Christians attempts to define in formularities its beliefs and the mystery of God's dealings with His children become so much closer than they used to be that no one need think that they are impossibly devisive. It is so often the words, not the actual perception of the truth, that separates us now. Words are necessary and we must define somehow what we believe — but it is the interpretation we put on them in our minds and heart that is bassic. God help us all to love each other and Him above all else — the rest is secondary.
"Old John" Name and address supplied.
THE PAINFUL letter of Despairing Mother (July 6) underlines the sad and sometimes tragic consequences of authoritarianism and coercion, totally alien to the teaching and practice of Jesus.
Two thirds of all marriages in Catholic churches share the pain and scandal of being told that God has joined them together and no man may put them asunder and immediately being put asunder at the very point where Jesus calls them to share his Jesus is not a Roman Catholic, nor Lin Anglican. He is Lord, and all Christians are part of the Body or Christ. Inter-church families are cells specially culled to work with Him for unity — to live it and witness to it.
Those who sow in tears and sorrow, one day will reap in joy, but the exclusiveness and legalism that creates these "walking wounded" can he no part of the Good News, M. C'havasse Fulham Broadway London I REFER to Ruth Barr's letter on mixed marriages (July 20).
She states "her (RC) husband and children would be excluded from Communion in the Church of England". She is quite wrong. Such is certainly not the case for two reasons: I. The C of E accepts as communicants any who have been confirmed by a bishop — Anglican, Roman Catholic, Orthodox.
2, Canon Elsa allows non-Anglicans who are bona tide communicants in good standing in their own Church to receive the Sacraments at Anglican Altars on certain occasions.
Preh P. H. Husbands St James's Rectory Wednesbury.
RUTH Barr (July 20) one of your correspondents on mixed marriages stales that if the Catholic member or the marriage attended a Church of Englund Communion service he or she would be excluded from Communion. This is not so, for any baptised and confirmed member of any denomination is able to receive Holy Communion in the church of England.
D. G. Clitheroe (Dr) Sutton-in-Ashlield.