WHEN Cardinal Hume and Archbishop Heim, the Apostolic Delegate, take their respective places within St Paul's Cathedral on Wednesday to witness the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer they will carry with them the heartfelt good wishes and prayers from Catholics all over the country and beyond.
The happiness and hope which so clearly underlie this royal wedding will provide us with every excuse for becom ing optimists for one day. It will offer a brief but welcome respite from the web of violence, misunderstanding and oppression in which the normal round of news seems inevitably and inextricably enmeshed.
The ceremony in St Paul's will be especially memorable or the Catholic community. The fact that Cardinal Hume was asked not only to attend but also to read one of the wedding prayers is a most encouraging commentary on the progress of ecumenism over the lest few decades.
Even before any official announcement was made it was taken for granted that he would be invited: the pre viously unthinkable has become perfectly natural..The further honour of an active role ' in the service has only been opposed by the vociferous and publicity conscious extremist fringe.
Prince Charles and • Lady Diana may not have the
mundane worries of most newly married couples but they know they will have to face daunting responsibilities in the future. It would be the answer to many prayers if when in the years to come they celebrate the jubilee of their coronation, they find themselves presiding over a nation where the shadow of international conflict, the greed of the wealthy, the hunger of the poor and the bitterness of sectarian dispute are dimming memories as ludicrous as past bigotries.
Such an agenda might seem and most probably is humanly Impossible but Christians working in unity should not underestimate their potential. The future deserves neither our despair nor our inertia.