encouraged upon reading Cristina Odone’s explanation of why she still clings to her Catholic faith and continues to find herself at home in the Church despite the guiding reins which keep her in the pew each time she attends Mass. As a priest who last Sunday preached about the discipline of the Church regarding access to Holy Communion – or rather the lack of it – for those who are divorced and remarried, I am thankful that here at last I and my parishioners have found a reasoned, honest and lived expression of our mutual pain.
I am the judicial vicar of our interdiocesan tribunal, and for the past 15 years I have worked almost exclusively with the marriage annulment process. I can understand how Ms Odone is opposed to the very idea that her parents’ union had never taken place when her experience is the very opposite. I would like to emphasise that a Church decree of nullity (annulment) does not “pretend” that a relationship never took place. It readily recognises that a relationship existed and that the past, however troubled, cannot be swept under the carpet.
However, no matter how happy or unhappy a union or relationship may have been it cannot be called a marriage if the consent, which alone brings marriage into existence, is invalid or fundamentally flawed.
Leaving aside Ms Odone’s criticism of the Church’s response to paedophile priests, which cannot be linked in any way to the Church tribunal practice, I think she is one of the many quiet heroes who pray and remain seated in the Church when all else around them, worthy and unworthy, rise to receive Holy Communion.
Yours faithfully, EUGENE O’HAGAN Ballyclare, Co Antrim