Agreement Nears on Catholic-Episcopalian Marriages

Times Religion Writer

Episcopal Bishop Robert C. Rusack of Los Angeles and Roman Catholic Bishop Phillip F. Straling of San Bernardino are to sign guidelines Sunday that would permit joint wedding ceremonies for couples with separate allegiances to the two churches.

The guidelines for the blessing of both churches on the marriage of a Catholic and Episcopalian are similar to those used in the Los Angeles Roman Catholic Archdiocese.

"But it is the first agreement we've had in Riverside and San Bernardino counties," said the Rev. Gary Dean Hand, a Rialto Episcopal priest who chaired the Anglican -Roman Catholic dialogue working on this and other ecumenical relationships. The Los Angeles Episcopal Diocese, which Rusack heads, covers a larger area than Straling's San Bernardino diocese.

"Previously, a couple had to decide on one church or the other in which to be married," Hand said. He said that in many cases the marriage partner who did not have the blessing of his or her church would simply quit that church. The new guidelines serve to eliminate a potential source of alienation by that partner, he said.

Under the guidelines, to be signed in a ceremony Sunday afternoon at Trinity Episcopal Church in Redlands, the host priest, usually the bride's, does the solemnization of vows and the blessings and the rest of the wedding ceremony may be done by the priest of the other partner.

The heads of U.S. Catholic colleges and universities have strongly objected to first-draft proposals made by the Vatican last year that would allow some church control, assertedly to ensure the "Catholic character" of the institutions.

The compendium of responses from presidents of 110 U.S. Catholic schools was sent to the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education. The statement said the loss of educational and administrative autonomy would force some of the 235 Catholic institutions of higher learning to close and would "jeopardize continuance of the rest."

The Vatican congregation "realizes that the proposal in its draft form will not work," said Sister Alice Gallin, executive director of the Assn. of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Washington, D.C. Her office forwarded the negative responses to the Vatican.

She said in a telephone interview that after talking early this month with Vatican officials, who received similar unhappy responses from Catholics educators in other parts of the world, a new round of consultations will probably be initiated.

The U.S. college presidents said the proposals saw the Catholic university as "a kind of seminary" of indoctrination instead of a place "where truth is sought through rigorous study."

In a brief statement, Father James Loughran, president of Loyola Marymount University, said the situation of the Los Angeles school is no different than that of other Catholic-related institutions. "I am confident that our leaders in Rome will listen," Loughran said.

The 300-member Hollywood-Beverly Christian Church, whose most famous member is President Reagan, was honored for its longtime contribution to ecumenical work by the Los Angeles Council of Churches at the council's annual awards banquet Friday night.

Reagan attended the Bel Air Presbyterian Church for many years before going to the White House, but he retained his membership in the East Hollywood congregation affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in memory of his mother who was a member, according to Pastor Benjamin Moore.

Reagan is still a financial contributor to the church. "He sends support each month," said the Rev. Kenneth H. Dean, associate pastor.

Also honored by the council Friday at the Hyatt Wilshire were Annie Hall, a 30-year mainstay of the Released Time Education education program of religious instruction for 2,500 fourth, fifth and sixth graders in three school districts, and Montana McNeely, another Released Time Education volunteer who was cited by Church Women United.

For observant Jews who are both counting calories and keeping kosher, a Brooklyn publisher has come up with a 352-page reference book: "Kosher Calories."

The book lists more than 10,000 kosher products, giving the caloric count and carbohydrate content for specific serving sizes as well as other information, according to Mesorah Publications. Forewords were written by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann of Baltimore and Rabbi David Senter of Kosher Supervision Service.

Contrary to popular belief that kosher means that the food has been blessed by a rabbi, the term refers to whether ingredients prescribed by Jewish law have been used in preparation of the food.

Unrelated to the publication of "Kosher Calories," a special kosher food fair is being sponsored by Chabad of Brentwood March 30 through April 4 at Vicente Food Market in Brentwood. The purpose is to explain kosher laws and exhibit the growing availability of foods that carry the U or K symbols signifying that they are kosher, the sponsor said.

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