S1R,-May I, as a convert clergyman, offer a comment on the suggestion from a Cardiff reader that Lay Institutes or communities might be the means of providing for such converts an acceptable ministry in the Catholic Church.
After submitting to the Church, it is scarcely possible for a convert to say boldly. I ought to go forward for training as a priest.
In the case of an unmarried man, no doubt this is the first thought that the authorities have for him; and it would seem that most, though not all, such men arc trained for the priesthood with special consideration. In the ease of a married man, there is no thought of such a possibility, though if it were already practicable in suitable cases, a vocation to the priesthood might be the natural conclusion after conversion, even for a married man.
Conversion itself is such a radical upheaval, especially for a clergyman, that it is by no means easy to settle down in a new kind of work, probably of the sort for which one feels no vocation. To find a vocation in a lay community might be just as difficult, for an ex-clergyman, his wife and family, as to timid a vocation in an ordinary secular occupation.
If, however, it became customary to offer a convert clergyman the opportunity of serving the Church in the diaconate or the priesthood, as a married man, it might prove the means of avoiding what your correspondent calls "the unfortunate loss of tine qualities and potentialities".
Sidney Lewis 123 Zetland Road, Doncaster.