I should like to congratulate Dr' Jack Dominian for his intelligent and humane analysis of Christian marriage and to thank you for printing the article at such length (January 3). I particularly applaud Dr Dominian's contention that the primary foundation of a good and stable family life is a loving relationship between husband and wife — and one that is seen to be loving by the children.
As the Catholic partner in a mixed marriage, attempting to bring up my young children as good Christians, I feel that the Church could do more to recognise the vital part played by parents and the family in carrying on the Christian tradition. It seems to me that
the primary worx of evangelisation is done not by priests, nuns, missionaries, magazines or renewal movements, but by parents in the home, perhaps. particularly in the pre-school years.
It would be nice to see this fact recognised in Church structures; for example, I wonder how many Parish Councils include a place for a representative of parents — as such? Or how many Catholic schools automatically have a parents' seat on governing and managing bodies? Motherhood, we are told, is exalted by the Church, but how many mothers are encouraged to take even such a minor part in the liturgy, as reading the lesson or taking
up the Ottertory gilts at Mass? (This would be particularly appropriate on Feastdays of Our Lady — how I'd love to hear a female voice putting some real expression into the Magnificat for a change).
If, as Dr Dominian says, priests do not even refer Catholic couples under stress to their own Catholic Marriage Guidance Council, it seems unlikely that they are even aware of all the other agencies that exist to help families in crisis situations.
The organisation I belong to, the National Childbirth Trust, which supports pregnant and newly-delivered mothers, would be delighted if priests would refer women who are uneasy at the thought of pregnancy and motherhood, but I don't think this ever happens.
As a correspondent pointed out this week, there is an urgent need for a Catholic association for one-parent families whose problems as Catholics must often be overwhelming. Lip-service to the ideal of family life has been paid for long enough; let's see some really practical ways of promoting it through the Church, starting with Dr Dominian's suggestions.
(Mrs) Make Davies 45 Whitehall Gardens, Chingford, E4.