Ste,-As an Anglo-Catholic who reads your excellent paper week by week, I have noted with interest, under John Brown's Scruples on the calling of Banns of Marriage, the following words: " Whether the Anglican minister would read them (i.e., the Banns) for one who is to marry a Catholic before a Catholic priest is another matter. The minister would very probably refuse."
Anglican Rectors or Vicars cannot pick and choose what Banns they will read, provided that they are in proper order and the customary fee paid. Regarding, as we do, the calling of the Banns as a purely secular matter, we accept a Banns certificate from the Established Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The party to be married might be a staunch Episcopalian, and never have entered a Presbyterian church; but for all that, living In Scotland, the Banns would have to be called in the parish church of the parish in which the party resided.
In the unlikely event of a party bringing me their Banns, and saying that they intended to be married before a Roman Catholic priest in his own church, I should in fairness tell them that my certificate of Banns would be useless, and that they had better keep their money. In England, unless a special licence is obtained the marriage must take place in the parish in which one of the parties has resided for the last 15 days. Hence my " refusal " to read the Banns of Marriage for a couple who intended to be married in a Roman Catholic church, would be from no anti-Catholic bias, but simply because, as the law stands at present, the Banns certificate would be useless. Probably in Scotland, from the civil point of view, this would not apply, since there marriages can take place anywhere-in a place of worship, in a private house, or in an hotel. But this cannot be done in England.
May I add that in nearly every Anglican diocese we are forbidden to marry. or in the case of Surrogates to issue licences for any marriage in which one or both parties has been divorced and has a partner still living, or where the question of the deceased wife's sister comes in.