No-fault divorced Catholics in difficult situation on Communion, says Archbishop

Married couples ‘a theological source’ for Church

The situation of Catholics who are divorced through no fault of their own, but were still denied Communion, should be among issues addressed by bishops at a meeting in Rome, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said.

The Archbishop of Dublin said the issue should be on the agenda at the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family in Rome over the coming two weeks.

“How you go about bringing a more merciful attitude to people who find themselves, particularly through no fault of their own, in a difficult (divorce) situation. We haven’t been able to find that,” he said.

But, he added: “There’s no way we are going to have a generalised situation whereby anybody who is divorced and remarried can go to Communion, because the situations can be very different.”

The Synod will open tomorrow morning with a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St Peter's Basilica. It continues until October 19th. The Irish Episcopal Conference will be represented by Archbishop Martin with the Irish Catholic laity will be represented by Sr Margaret Muldoon of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux.

Archbishop Martin doesn’t agree with those “who say that bishops, because they are not married have no contribution to make. Anybody who’s a priest knows that in their Christian ministry people have come to them, talked about questions about which they are not expert.”

Where married couples were concerned he said “the way they live their life is what I would call a theological source. It’s important to be able to understand, interpret that, and to bring that life as part of the experience of the teaching of the church. The teaching of the church is not a one-way process.”

He felt that one of the big dangers was that it “will become a synod focusing on one or two issues. I don’t think that is the intention.” The question was “can people, in response to the challenges of Pope Francis, move into a different way of looking at these questions. There are certain things that can change” but “the indissolubility of marriage is a part of Christian teaching.”