Page 4, 20th July 1979

20th July 1979
Page 4
Page 4, 20th July 1979 — Mixed marriages
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Locations: Preston, Cambridge, Cleveland

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worship and perhaps to work and pray for the union of the different denominations. A union which would present to, the world one united church in a unity which so many of us ordinary christians lung to see.

D. G. ClItheroe (Dr) Sutton-in-Ashfield, Notts. Can I offer a word of hope to "Despairing Mother" of Kendal (July 6). My husband is an active member of the Church of England while I am a Catholic. However, our experience has been very different to hers. We have both found our faith increased and strengthened through our marriage.

We have experienced sadness and difficulties at times. particularly when our Communion separates us at special times. On the Other hand we have also experienced great joys and one of these has been the support and fellowship of couples in similar circumstances.

There is no instant answer to the problems of Communion though we pray that we will live to see unity. In the meantime inter-church families like ours have unique opportunities, not least being the chance to bring up children who understand and love two churches while appreciating their differences. While we look at these positive aspects of Our situation we cannot despair.

Many couples with inter-church marri ages feel the need for mutual support and encouragement and as a result there exists the Association or Inter-church Families, a loose-knit association which does not involve a commitment to meetings or subscriptions but does offer the support which is invaluable at difficult times. I would be very happy to put "Despairing Mother" in touch with her local area.

So please do not let your situation trap you into depriving your children of the joys of the Eucharist. With help and support nn sure you can find a solution to the problem which will not be entirety satisfactory but will be an improvement.

Maureen Rigg, 4 Monmouth Drive, Eaglescliffe, Stockton-on-Tees, Cleveland.

I have been slow to answer the appeal of "Despairing Mother" (July 6). The Association of 1nterchurch Families with Cardinal Hume among its presidents, has existed for some twelve years for the mutual help and support of families where husband and wife are committed to different Churches: it includes many RC-Anglican couples who have found that their situation leads to hope, riot to despair, and that obstacles can be turned into creative opportunities. Any of your readers in this situation are welcome to write to me for a local contact. Your correspondent's nearest contact address is 18 South Grove, Barton, Preston, Lanes PR3 5AP.

John Coventry, SJ St Edmund's House, Cambridge.

Despairing mother (July 6) is surely cutting herself off from receiving Holy Communion, rather than being cut off by the Catholic Church.

I am a Church of England husband and father, married to a Catholic. I have remained an active member of my Church, reader, church-warden. etc. I receive Holy Communion in my own church and yet also attend mass with my family when I wish, I believe in the Real Presence and find the beauty and reality of this Presence equally in my own Service and Communion service and in the Catholic Mass. The services are almost identical.

I have been married for 35 years. My wife and children are all practising Catholics. but very ecumenically minded. We work and pray for unity and 1 firmly believe that this should begin at the grass roots with confirmed members of both churches being able to receive communion freely. In this way we can grow together in love united by the Body of Christ into one living Church.

Until this time I feel that despairing Mother should remember that the man she loved and hopefully still loves, was a Catholic when she married him. She must accept that at present man-made rules do separate them at the altar rail. Only with such acceptance can the peace of God enter her heart.

Unless she feels drawn towards the Catholic Church, she should return to her own Church to receive the strength and grace of the Body and Blood of Christ, attending a later Mass with her family to share in their I have just read the letter from "Despairing Mother" (July 6). When 1 met my Catholic husband I was a member of the Church of England. I asked to be taken to Mass because I was curious to see what went on and whether there was as much "bobbing up and down" as outsiders to the Church believe!

I enjoyed myself so much that I decided to go to "instruction classes". On the whole I agreed with what I was told. What I didn't agree with was so little and probably because I didn't fully understand what everything meant, So I became a Catholic, But it is wrong of the "Despairing Mother" to say that the Catholic Church doesn't take any interest in her unless she joins. Whoever goes to Mass takes an interest in her and few probably know that she is not a fully fledged member but think that because she does not receive Communion there is some reason (like a minor problem in her life) holding her back. But all the time this lady has attended Mass she has in fact been making a Spiritual Communion with Christ whilst not being able to receive the Body of Christ physically, She must have derived some measure of thanksgiving to have sat in the same church at the same time as her husband and children and Felt that she was at one with them and Christ.

She is so remorseful that as a Church of England member she cannot receive Communion in a Catholic church. Has it occurred to her that if her husband and children attended a service with her that they would be excluded from Communion by the Church of England?

Hasn't this unhappy lady thought that Christ was trying to make her a member of the Catholic faith by the fact that she has attended Mass so often. Couldn't a small voice in the darkness be asking her to become a Catholic and it is just fear of the unknown quantity that holds her back?

Why doesn't she talk to the Catholic priest and ask him all the questions. Why doesn't her hsuband help her to understand Catholicism more? And doesn't she realise that she is making her husband and children unhappy because she is not content to be able to sit and pray for her children when they make their First Communion? It isn't the Church that is making this lady unhappy, but herself by a very selfish attitude.

If she felt so strongly about Christ, as her letter makes out, she would accept her husband's and childrens' religion and even if she doesn't want to become a Catholic she would still attend the Church of England services because she says she believes in Him.

And above all, she and her husband should talk to their children instead of shutting them out — as she is shutting Out Christ by refusing to talk to Him!

Ruth Barr Worle, Weston-super-Mare, Avon.

I wonder if you would print this in reply to the Despairing Mother (July 6). 1 am a Catholic "convert" from the Anglican Church. i was only twelve when I became convinced that the Roman Catholic Church was the place I had to be, although I was twenty-one before being received because of parental doubts, After this I met my husband who has always been an agnostic.

Although he signed a promise to allow the children to he brought up in the Church, he afterwards admitted that he did not expect me to take it seriously. I think he was hoping I would "grow out of it.

After realising his mistake he became a fiercly proselytizing agnostic and he has ignored all matters connected with the Church and the Sacraments, including even the baptisms of our three children. Many bitter arguments we had and 1 felt very alone, especially when I saw the family groups in Church. Catholic schooling, of course, was out of the question. But now my first two

children have made their First COMmunion and accept that Daddy doesn't believe M God. as many people do not. I do not see any point in pretending.

But it is so difficult to achieve the balance between disagreeing with Daddy in this one vital part of our lives and coming to him for advice in almost everything else. This makes the very occasional shared Church event so much more precious. For instance, my husband and children came with me on the anti-abortion march; and again, when the priest preparing my children for First Communion visited us, my husband ioined in. Not many months ago he would have retired in eloquent silence to the kitchen.

So, despairing mother, be more positive. Yours is a Christian marriage and together you are bringing up your children to follow the Master you both love. What a blessing that would seem to me who in thirteen years of marriage have had no encouragement, and occasional opposition. Yet my faith is stronger than it was. How earnestly I prayed "make me a good Catholic" when little more than a child: or trifle naive perhaps, and I'm certainly not a good one yet, but the struggle is the game.

Marcia Fielden Carpenders Park, Watford, Hertfordshire.




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