28 March 2014
Hopes for the Vatican’s synod on the family
Your editorial “Marriage and the real world” (The Tablet, 15 March) states: “The successful navigation of long-term loving relationships is difficult, yet lies at the heart of most people's quest for happiness. They need the right help and guidance.” Perhaps the time has come for the Church in England and Wales to revisit the writings and work of the lay Catholic therapist Dr Jack Dominion. His four pillars of marital love – sustaining, healing, growth and sexual intercourse – are where the “good answers” you hope for from the forthcoming Synod on the Family can so easily emerge.
My hope is that the Synod will not get bogged down by questions of canon law in relation to, for example, the admission of divorced and re married couples to Holy Communion , but will be open to a new vision and fresh understanding of love, where all the answers will eventually be found. A serious reflection on Dr Dominion's work on the part of the British delegation to the Synod, could make a monumental contribution to future thinking. Although not a bishop, perhaps the man himself could be part of that delegation?
Fr Jim Duffy, Bushey, Hertfortshire
The German bishops’ plan to campaign for “a more merciful approach to remarried divorcees” at the forthcoming Synod on the family in October is also a sine qua non for the Church’s long-term survival. Here in the US the second largest religious denomination is lapsed Catholics, many of whom have dropped out because of divorce. Additionally, we know of the developmental devastation to children marooned in single-parent households. With the 1999 Catholic-Lutheran declaration on justification the Church astonished us by declaring that Luther got a lot right on justification after all, so let us pray that the Church can also find a way to admitting that its posture on divorce is also malleable.
Last Sunday's Gospel reading (John 4:5-42) provided me with food for thought as I pondered once more the debate surrounding the admission of divorced Catholics to Holy Communion. Not only was the woman in the Gospel a Samaritan (with all that that entails), but she was also in an irregular union, having been previously married five times. Despite all of this, Jesus not only engages in dialogue with her, but offers her the living water which is himself. I am left wondering whether we are currently following our Lord's example.
Fr Frank J Jackson, Coggeshall, Colchester
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