ime and again you have been kind enough to give space in your correspon dence columns to the problems of Christian married life in general and family limitation in particular. This recurrent in terest underlies what is indisputably one of the most chal lenging issues in the life of the Church today.
Living as we do in a society with contraception as an established cultural pillar, the post war Catholic communities have been groping for a satisfactory solution to what is undoubtedly a complicated subject.
For many people, both priests and married couples, family limitation is a subject which still provokes strong feelings of discomfort and uneasiness. On one side, the clergy as a result of their training and background feel embarrassed and handicapped in any full exploration of the subject; on the other, married couples, uncertain about the Church's attitude, equally embarrassed by the subject but hard pressed by personal circumstances reach a point of desperation.
In this situation one might have expected, as you suggested in your editorial comment, Catholic doctors to be in a position to give expert advice. Unfortunately with few exceptions this in fact is not the case. This implies no criticism but stems from a medical training which ignores and belittles the clinical aspects of periodic abstin
e n One answer might have been, as suggested by "Schoolmaster", the setting up of Catholic clinics for expert advice by doctors on this and allied subjects. This solution. practical considerations apart, would abandon the fundamental Christian principle of accepting the sexual act as the supreme expression of love within marriage, rather than an isolated experience divorced from the sacrament. This is the central point of departure from non-Catholic practice and has dictated the structure and aims of the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council.
With over 30 branches throughout the country it concerns itself With marriage in all its stages, arranging courses for the engaged, assisting married couples with expert medical advice including the use of the infertile period and offering its specialised services for the work of reconciliation. It is engaged in basic medical research, encourages the work of family organisations and has forged international links with similar bodies overseas.
Its priests, lay councillors and professional experts aim at offering a practical service combined with a Christian ideal of the married state. Their advice is not hedged with reservations, reluctance or timidity hut reflects an aposiolate imbued with the principles of Christian love against the background of a society which is pathetically short and virtually ignorant of this virtue.
(Dr.) J. Dominian
(Medical Advisor to the C.M.A.C.) 47 Purley Bury Avenue, Purley, Surrey.
must write with some
indignation about the remarks made by "Schoolmaster" about the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council. Front his remarks I can only conclude that he has had no experience of the work done by the priests and doctors who work for the Council.
Any of my friends who have visited them have only the highest praise, and my husband, who is not a Catholic but visited them alone, found them frank, understanding and informed.
Of course, it is so important that this service should be available over all parts of the country, but in the meantime there are many Catholics who could make more effort to find the Church's answer to their problems.
(Mrs.) Patricia M. Smith
28 Grimwood Road, Tvv icken ham.