10 June 2021, The Tablet

Is there a way out of the marriage maze?

Is there a way out of the marriage maze?

A wedding at a Catholic church in Ireland
Photo: Alamy, Richard Wayman


The marriage of twice-divorced Boris Johnson in Westminster Cathedral made the Church look to many ridiculous at best, cruel at worst. A priest who has spent a lifetime wrestling with the Church’s marriage laws suggests that an opening to the East may help unpick some of the anomalies

In my Redemptorist community in Liverpool we have a confrère whose memory has failed, but he remains quietly content, responding to every query with the refrain: “Are you sure?” I have spent a lifetime wrestling with the Church’s marriage laws and my confrère’s refrain springs to mind whenever I hear the Catholic marriage maze defended, or possible reforms discussed.

The marriage of Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds was conducted after due process and entirely within the laws of the land and of the Catholic Church. So why has it led to such outbursts of anger – including from Catholics who say they have not received the same degree of compassion and sympathetic pastoral care – and why has the Church been so mercilessly ridiculed for the absurdity and hypocrisy of its rules on marriage?

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User Comments (1)

Comment by: Maryk
Posted: 10/06/2021 21:37:22
What an excellent piece! What a shame the Bishops didn’t follow his advice - so much heartbreak could have been avoided and such loss of good people over the years.