Nearly 500 British Priests Urge Synod to Stand Firm on Communion for Remarried

Nearly 500 British Priests Urge Synod to Stand Firm on Communion for Remarried October 21, 2015
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Quinn Dombrowski https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Quinn Dombrowski https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/

Nearly 500 British priests sent a letter to the Synod Fathers, urging them to stand firm on the question of communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

The priests called for the Synod Fathers to issues a “clear and firm proclamation” upholding Church teaching on marriage.

From Catholic Herald:

They write: “We affirm the importance of upholding the Church’s traditional discipline regarding the reception of the sacraments, and that doctrine and practice remain firmly and inseparably in harmony.”

One signatory, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed there “has been a certain amount of pressure not to sign the letter and indeed a degree of intimidation from some senior Churchmen”.

Another, who also asked not to be named, said the issue of Communion for the remarried was “a matter of pastoral concern and fidelity to the Gospel”.

He said: “Mercy requires both love and truth. There’s a lot at stake. Not all priests would be comfortable expressing themselves in an open letter, but I’d be very worried if there were priests who disagreed with the sentiments it contains.

“The letter calls for fidelity to Catholic teaching, and that practice should remain ‘inseparably in harmony’ with doctrine. The priests state that they remain committed to helping ‘those who struggle to follow the Gospel in an increasingly secular society’, but imply that those couples and families who have remained faithful are not being adequately supported or encouraged.”

Notable signatories to the letter include theologians Fr Aidan Nichols and Fr John Saward, and Oxford physicist Fr Andrew Pinsent. Fr Robert Billing, spokesman for the Diocese of Lancaster, Fr Tim Finigan, blogger and Catholic Herald columnist, and Fr Julian Large, provost of the London Oratory, have also signed the letter.

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6 responses to “Nearly 500 British Priests Urge Synod to Stand Firm on Communion for Remarried”

  1. I’m really of mixed feelings on this. The conservative in me wants to keep the tradition. But my sympathy resides with people struggling to not feel like they are being pushed out of the church. Because that’s what happens when people remarry. It’s one thing to complain about divorce and remarriage in the culture (and I do plenty), but when you are faced with actual people who have given in to the cultural norms of today, then you feel their pain. Sure they sinned. But no other sin that I can think of cannot be absolved with a confession. Remarriage is a continuous sin of which they cannot ever get away from. I don’t find that merciful.

    • The sin they are committing can be forgiven in Confession, provided they intend not to sin in the same way again. If they live as brother and sister they are fine. Just as a thief can’t be forgiven if he doesn’t give back what he stole. If you’re not sorry and intend not to sin again, you can’t be forgiven no matter what your sin is.

      • “If they live like brother and sister…” Now how practical is that? Then it’s just an arrangement and not a marriage. Marriage means it has to be open to children.

        • According to Church teaching, it’s not a marriage because one of the parties is already married to someone else. Since it’s not a marriage, the requirements of marriage lie only between the original couple and not between the new partners. Thou shalt not commit adultery basically covers the situation.

          • I know, but what’s the point of getting married then? What your telling them is to either live in a sham of a marriage (and that’s what it is ifd you’re living as brother and sister) or leave the church.

  2. British priests especially need to maintain the differences between themselves and their Anglican colleagues. It is also important for the Anglicans to have Roman communicants come over to their own houses of worship after a divorce.

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