THE church has not always had a good record in her treatment of those who have suffered marriage breakdown, Bishop John Crowley, auxiliary in Westminster and spiritual advisor to the Association of Separated and Divorced Catholics (ASDC) admitted this week.
Speaking at the London conference of ASDC, which was addressed by several leading clerics, including Cardinal Basil Hume of Westminster, Bishop Crowley said that he was conscious that the church "has not always had a good record in her understanding or sensitivity towards those whose marriages have ended".
The very existence of the ASDC, the bishop said, is due in part "to the feelings of isolation at times experienced within the Catholic community".
Cardinal Basil Hume thanked the ASDC for its work and expressed his gratitude that the clergy could pass those in deep distress following marriage breakdown over to the care of ASDC.
"It is not the strong, but the broken, the marginalised, the 'poor' whom Christ called by name and whom he charged by name with the task of the mission," Fr John Farrell, lecturer in theology at Oxford, told the conference. He urged the clergy to "support the laity in their mission".