Catholic Need Also
SIR,-1 read with a good deal of surprise Mrs. Kemball's letter in your current issue about the Marriage Guidance Council. As a Catholic woman doctor who has worked among various classes in general practice
I can say that I think something of that nature, but, of course, run on sound lines and not as a birth-control clinic, would be of the greatest use to the busy practitioner.
I cannot imagine what valid objection there can possibly be to giving advice to people either about to be or newly married on subjects that are of vital concern to them, and over which with the best will in the world they may come to grief through sheer ignorance. Any doctor who has been in general practice knows perfectly well how common maladjustments are, with what tragic ease they start, and how far-reaching the results are.
To say that help is advisable does not detract from the grace of the Sacrament— why should it? When we haves child baptised we do not think it unnecessary to follow this up with instruction in the Faith. In the same way I cannot see that it is anything but reasonable to assume that the grace of the Sacrament of Matrimony may have better chance to work as it is intended to if the recipients have a sound idea of the obligations of marriage on every plane, spiritual, intellectual, and physical as well.
What is wanted is a Catholic Marriage Guidance Council, and I suggest that energy would be better employed in forming one without delay than in deploring the existence of the non-Catholic body. A Catholic advisory clinic for women does already exist here in Edinburgh, and having had at one time for a short period the privilege of acting as its medical officer, I can assure anyone who is sceptical on the subject that the problems brought to it (by Catholics), were real and urgent enough, and what is more, would infallibly have been dealt with elsewhere in very different fashion if the clinic had not existed.
It is quite useless for Catholics to raise horrified objection to non-Catholic social services on the grounds that they ought not to be necessary. The only result of that policy is to drive the Catholics who do feel the need of them into the arms of unscrupulous persons who will be only too ready to give them, from the point of view of their souls' welfare, the most disastrous advice. We have to face and deal with social conditions as they are, and not as we feel they ought to be.
ALISON M. HAMILTON, M.B.