was intrigued by `Old John's' reply to my previous letter in tbat he, an Anglican priest. suggested that the best thing for me to du would be to become a convert to the Catholic Church.
While I appreciate and am grateful for his obviously well intentioned letter, conversion seems to be the only answer from either side as our two local Catholic priests have not been able to offer any alternative suggestion either.
I think there should be another, middle, way. a sort of half way house and that the Catholic Church should recognise the special position and responsiblities of the non-Catholic partner in a mixed marriage. If they do not, then surely they arc in danger of losing the Catholic partner and particularly any children of the marriage. One can see this happening all the time.
May I use your columns to ask 'Old John' a few questions.
1. As (herds so much talk of unity, do you not think it is more my duty to stay an Anglican and do my bit to bring Unity about? I feel a certain loyalty to the Church into which I was born and which is committed to a belief in one holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
2. Do you think 1 am unreasonable in having doubts about joining a Church which is not very Christian in its attitude to people in my position? Our priests have told me that I am Catholic in everything but name and yet I will never be allowed to receive Communion with my husband and .children.
We have got to the stage now when my husband does not go to Communion when we are together. The experience is just too painful to bear, 3. Is unity with the whole Anglican Communion a practical possibility when there.seem to he such variations in practices and beliefs within it. For example, it bothers me that the crucial question of Communion is so vague. What you receive apparently depends on the views of the local vicar — is this correct? If it is,then do you think the likely outcome is that the Anglican Communion will split and the High Anglicans join the 'Catholic: Church?
I feel that if I could go to Communion even only occasionally in the Catholic Church with my family I could delay any final decision, life would be more tolerable and I would gain time to see how the movement towards unity develops.
I would not like to follow 'Old John's' other suggestion that I go to the Anglican church on my own. My aim is for all my family to be able to worship and receive Communion together somewhere. And I also want to do all I can to prevent others having to suffer the way we have done. Surely the time is ripe for the Catholic Church to work out a new approach to the spiritual needs of the mixed marriages.
Despairing Mother I am intrigued by the statements in the letters from "Old John", Preb. P. H. Husbands and Dr, D. G. Clitheroe (August 3) in which "Old John" said that a member of the Church of England could receive Communion in the Catholic Church "in emergencies and special occasions" and the latter two say that a Catholic is able to receive Communion in a Church of England. My Catholic niece married an Anglican some ten years ago and both were told that they would never be able to receive Communion in either church together. This was told them by their respective priests. Still there are no marital problems.
My husband and I married seven years ago, and the Church of England priest we approached prior lo my conversion to Catholicism about us both attending a Communion service in the Church of England said that the only way my husband would be able to receive Communion in a Church of England service would be if he changed his religion first.
It would be interesting to 'know when the two Churches changed their minds on this exclusion of outsiders to their laws on the receipt of (.'ommunion.
It might also help "Despairing Mother" and the rest of the 70 per cent of problem ridden mixed marriages if the clergy would specify a) What occasion apart from "near death" one can receive Communion in an emergency in another church: b) What special or certain occasions Communion can be received in the Church of England.
But how many people would reply that even if they could receive Cornmunion in another church it would not be the same for them and so they don't even consider it?
"Despairing Mother's" letter ends with the quotation "Feed my Lambs". May I suggest she "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God; Knock and the door shall be opened" and remind her of something she is not allowing her children to do which Our Lord said, "Suffer little children to come unto me". By preventing her children from receiving their First Communion they cannot go to Him completely.