UK bishop welcomes Catholics in 'irregular marriages'
Catholics in irregular marriages and other sexual unions should know that there is a place in the Church for them, and should not be dissuaded from attending, said the Bishop of Plymouth, Bishop Christopher Budd.
Bishop Christopher said such people presently feel alienated from the Church, which was contributing to the decline in church attendances: "I'm sure that this is a factor".
The Bishop served for three years on the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council, and has recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of his ordination as a priest. He spoke of the need for people in "irregular relationships" to understand that one of the primary doctrines of the Church is forgiveness.
But, he added: "You have to acknowledge your sinfulness, and that you are struggling with it; but we are not actually getting that message across to people." The Church should welcome people who have this particular problem, he added.
"A lot of people who are in irregular marriages would say bye, bye, I don't think I belong here, but there are people who don't meet all our criteria who say I want to hang in here."
And he had words of consolation for people in such situations: "You are trying your best, but you're not quite getting there, there is room for you in the Church and there is now an awareness that the door is open."
The problem partly arises from people brought up as Catholics leaving the Church in their late teens, and as they become adults, entering into marriages with an essentially secular base, which then run into trouble, said the Bishop.
Diocese of Plymouth
MarriageCare (formerly Catholic Marriage Advisory Council)
32 Aug 2002