DIVORCED Catholics meeting in Liverpool have told of church experiences in which they were refused Communion, and sometimes not allowed to participate voluntarily in parish activities.
The meeting, which was sponsored by Family and Social Action's One-Parent Family Service, brought together 30 people, mostly lone parents, from as far apart as Devon and Glasgow. It was held at Liverpool's Cenacle Retreat Centre.
Some of the divorced Catholics said they had been told they could not receive Communion, even though they had no intention of re-marrying. Others had offered to help in the parish, reading at Mass for example, but had been turned down. They spoke of the dreadful sense of rejection they felt.
Fr Frank O'Sullivan, Director of Southwark Catholic Children's Society, said there was no place in Christianity for an attitude based on condemnation of ourselves or others.
Participants considered how one-parent families could be given support within the Christian community without being labelled and put into a separate compartment. There was a need for a pastoral programme for families and married people which was sensitive to the particular needs of one-parent families.