BY A STAFF REPORTER
THE religious life and the married state, far from being in opposition, were complementary, said Dr. John Marshall, in an address on "The Apostolate of Marriage" at the National Vocations Exhibition, "Challenge, '69" in Leeds on Sunday.
"There is a need for each," he said. "if the needs of the community are to be served, and each must be entered by people seriously considering what it is that God wants of them, and then making their commitment.
"This approach, far from diminishing the number of vocations to the religious life, will increase it, for God will not leave us without the ministers we need. and if each of us is seriously considering what it is that God wants, then we shall not fail to recognise the call."
It was in the happy home where love reigned and the idea of service to God was fostered that "young men and young women Will receive and develop the notion that God may want them to enter the religious life" or "they will see that the married state is not just something into which one drifts but it also a call from God."
SLOW START This year's Exhibition got off to a slow start following its opening by Bishop Wheeler on Saturday. Sweltering weather meant that more people than usual made for the seaside and countryside over the weekend rather than to the Queen's Hall, where some 120 religious orders and Catholic organisations are trying to depict the caring Church in the modern world.
Although the emphasis remains upon individual commitment as the essential part of a religious vocation, there is, in keeping with the outward-looking spirit of Vatican II, greater stress on service to the whole world community. Throughout the week daily lectures have been on the various aspects of the caring Church, covering such topics as helping the homeless, care Turn to P.2 of children and displaced persons, looking after the handicapped and the vocation of family life. As well as daily low Mass, being held until the exhibition closes on Sunday, various groups of clergy are concelebrating Mass each day.
An ecumenical flavour was given with a sermon on Church unity by Dr. John Moorman, Anglican Bishop of Ripon, who was the leading Church of England observer at Vatican II.
On Wednesday a lecture on the vocation of family life was given by a Rabbi.
"MANY TENSIONS" Speaking at the opening, Bishop Wheeler said: "There are many tensions in the Church today. Those show that there is a dialogue going on and that the Church is still alive and lively.
"The sort of mess that many people think we are in is very minor compared with the troubles of the Church in centuries past. The lessons of history can be immensely consoling."
There was certainly a degree of pessimism among exhibitors on Monday morning which appeared to lift somewhat in the afternoon when crowds of schoolchildren increased. Some felt that parish clergy could have extolled the exhibition more to their congregations. Others considered the event had been insufficiently publicised.
The organising secretary, Fr. Bernard Slevin, C.S.Sp., who estimates the administrative costs of the exhibition at L10.000, pointed out it had been advertised on 600 buses over the preceding three weeks, although he felt somewhat disappointed at local Press coverage.
He did not consider that the school G.C.E. examinations had interfered substantially with attendance as these affected only a fraction of the pupils.
When on Monday it was discovered that the children were not attending the special lectures because of the shilling entrance fee, this was waived.