29 October 2014, The Tablet

Cardinal Nichols reflects on end of Synod on the Family

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said that cohabiting couples and those in second marriages often demonstrate lives of “real goodness” in a pastoral letter to mark the end of the Synod on the Family.

In his pastoral letter read out in parishes on the weekend 25/26 October the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, said the synod was not leading to a change in doctrine but seeking to show the “motherly love of the Church”, especially those families in difficulty.

Cardinal Nichols pointed out that the synod was a journey – another, larger gathering is taking place in October 2015 – and said he would soon be outlining how ordinary Catholics can play a part in the process.

In his letter the cardinal said a central principle of the pastoral care that emerged from the synod was walking alongside those in difficult situations and helping them come closer to the truth of church teaching.

“This is especially true with regard to individuals who, for example, have decided to live together without marriage, or for Catholics in second marriages. These realities are part of their journey in life and while not in keeping with the pattern the Lord asks of us, their lives are often marked by real goodness.”

The cardinal also quoted Pope Francis who said that pastors have a duty not just to welcome those in difficult situations but to “go out and find them”.

Read the letter in full

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