Heart and Soul: Divorce, Communion and Catholic Confusion
BBC World Service
This impassioned – there is no other word for it – debate about current Catholic attitudes to divorce (11 January) began with the journalist Cristina Odone recalling her upbringing in 1960s Italy. Here her deeply pious family’s attendance at Mass was invariably accompanied by the sight of a tearful woman who never dared to approach the altar rail. “Steer clear,” Odone’s disapproving great-aunts would warn their seven-year-old charge. “She’s divorced.”
Five decades later, Odone, married to a divorced man these past 14 years, found herself in exactly the same position: technically unable to receive Communion or be given Absolution. She maintained that this exclusion from two of the principal ceremonies of the Church “gnaws away at me”. The experience, she proposed, was “like being in love with someone who does not 100 per cent requite it”.