REPLIES TO Fr. O'LEARY
IN the CATHOLIC HERALD Of April 19. Fr, Maurice O'Leary, National Chaplain to the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council, described a statement, made by Fr. David Quinlan, of Egton Bridge, Whitby. that two out of five Catholic girls were pregnant on their wedding day, as "unverifiable". Fr. Quiplan now writes confirming his statement and making his position clear.
STATEMENT VERIFIABLE by Fr. David Quinlan.
IAM sorry that Fr. Maurice O'Leary, National Chaplain to the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council, considered my two in five statement unverifiable. He will believe, I am sure, that the statement was not as irresponsible as his comment suggests.
The matter is subject to investigation by parish priests who examine the marriages taking place in their parishes. Obviously such scrutiny must include the marriages of girls baptized and brought up as Catholics who marry in the Church and those who do not. The second type of marriage is usually overlooked. It must also cover both what the priests knows before the marriage and what he may learn in the months following. Finally it must be continued for a considerable time before any conclusions can be drawn.
Such an investigation, over a period of three years, in various parts of the country, gave statistics which most people would find startling but also led priests sharing the work to tell me that my two in five assessment makes things out to be better than they are. If a wider examination were to show it excessive, I would be happier. Until someone undertakes the labour, I abide by my estimate on the evidence available, though I stand between an angry multitude of disbelievers and a disturbed minority who think a higher estimate was verified.
Regarding sex education in schools, I repeat that the Hierarchy's directives forbid teachers or others to talk on the subject to groups of children in schools or elsewhere. That valuable experimental work is being done to devise methods of education which will include parents as well as teachers is well known. Fr. O'Leary would, I am sure, agree with the first statement. and the expert and patient work he and others have been doing for some years witnesses to the second.
Given a hospital
A millionaire who was killed in Singapore last year has left a mansion in Malaya to the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood, whose Mother House is in Ladywell Convent, Surrey. The mansion is to he renovated and equipped as a hospital.