27 December 2014, The Tablet

Archbishop Longley points to ideal of two-parent upbringing while praising single parents and grandparents

The Archbishop of Birmingham has described the love of father and mother as “complementary” and “a precious gift that we should wish for every child”, while praising the hard work of many single parents.

In his pastoral letter for the Feast of the Holy Family this weekend, Archbishop Bernard Longley urged Catholics to respond to the leaflet entitled The Call, the Journey and the Mission” which the bishops have produced to consult laity on their experiences and views of marriage.

He described marriage as the best setting for children to grow and develop and wrote: “As Catholics it is important that we try to communicate to others, with clarity and confidence, the truths that come to us through Jesus Christ and his Church. The teaching of Christ recognises the union of man and woman in marriage as part of God’s plan.”

But he added: “At the same time Christ shows compassion and understanding for those who struggle with family life or fall short of the ideal. The Church seeks to be a place and a community where we recognise that we all fall short of perfection and where we are called without exception to repentance and forgiveness.”

Although being brought up by both parents “is an invaluable blessing” he paid tribute to the “many single parents [who] courageously and generously look after their children and often struggle to give them a fine up-bringing. They are often helped in this by grandparents and members of the wider family.”

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