Page 7, 22nd February 2002

22nd February 2002
Page 7
Page 7, 22nd February 2002 — Catholic divorce lawyers

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Catholic divorce lawyers

From Mr Anthony Holler

Sir, On 1st February you reported a Catholic barrister as having said that "Lawyers generally get involved in the post-divorce arrangements for children and the division of assets-, and that it is "a fundamental right enshrined in law" that "both parties are entitled to be represented by a lawyer of their choice".

In this country lawyers normally do not confine themselves to postdivorce arrangements but act also in the procedure which culminates in the "dissolution" of marriage. These circumstances raise a serious question of whether a lawyer would commit sin by so acting.

As for a "client's right to choose", it is (like other such "rights") subject to a superior moral principle. Whatever man-made professional rules may say. a client cannot require a lawyer to commit sin. Divorce removes the secular legal impediment to "remarriage". In a case where the sacramental bond remains, such a "remarriage" would be an adulterous union. Our Lord's teaching to that effect overrides any man-made law to the contrary. We must not help to expose others to temptation. Rather than risk helping someone towards an adulterous union, and therefore being tainted with sin, a Catholic lawyer should avoid divorce work completely.

Yours faithfully, ANTHONY HOFLER Wolverhampton

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