Communion for the remarried isn’t new

SIR – In the hope of helping to heal the rift between those who follow the thinking of Pope Francis on Communion for the divorced and remarried, and those who spurn it, can I reveal that some years ago, in the pontificate of Paul VI, I attended a seminar on marriage at Upholland and found I was the only woman among some very delightful, pastoral priests.

During one lecture they were told that, as Pope Francis now says, priests, after examining the circumstances of individual couples, could allow them to receive Communion without an annulment. The joy among those pastoral priests at hearing this was very moving.

During a pastoral theology course I later attended it was pointed out that the annulment process was not always perfect in its application: for example, in finding witnesses or the fear of some people of divulging their address to a violent ex-spouse.

Second marriages after an annulment are often deeply spiritual and produce happy children. So too do second marriages where an annulment has not been obtained. Ought not the desire of the couple to attend Mass and bring up their children as devout Catholics be part of the reason for removing a ban on receiving the Eucharist? Can such people really be in mortal sin when “actual grace” draws them into church?

Just as John Paul II altered the teaching of Paul VI to a stricter practice, why should Francis not be able to revert to previous generosity of thought?

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