Bishop Egan said priests had asked whether they should obey the Pope or their bishop

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth has said there is a “growing problem” in the Church and called for prayer.

After a meeting with his diocesan council of priests, Bishop Egan tweeted that the question had arisen of whether to obey one’s bishop or the Pope. He replied: “I’d say Both!”

However, the bishop added: “But there’s a growing problem: let’s pray for the Church.”

The council is a group of about 15-20 priests of the diocese. The Catholic Herald understands that a member of the group asked the bishop about obedience with reference to the question of Communion for the remarried.

In his pastoral letter on Amoris Laetitia, written last April, Bishop Egan wrote: “Does the Pope say the divorced and civilly remarried may now be readmitted to Holy Communion? No.

“What he says is that instead they need a good priest to reach out to them, to accompany them, to help them discern their situation before the Lord and to enable them to develop, to change and to take their proper place in the Church’s life and mission.”

Bishop Egan said that Amoris Laetitia was consistent with the teaching of Pope St John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and canon law, which have all upheld the Church’s traditional teaching on Communion.

However, the bishops’ conferences of Malta and Germany have recently issued guidelines which contradict the teaching. They have claimed the Pope’s support.