THE Irish Catholic bishops are considering the Dublin government's white paper on divorce, but are unlikely to respond by the end of the month.
Jim Cantwell. spokesman for the Irish episcopal conference, said that it would take time for the bishops to digest the 200-page document, which includes proposals to legalise divorce in Ireland. The release of the white paper coincided with Dublin's announcement that a referendum would be held next year on whether Ireland's constitutional ban on divorce should be retained.
Proposals in the white paper include permitting divorce after the absence of normal marital relations for five years or irretrievable marriage breakdown.
"The white paper is a discussion document over which the bishops will have to think hard. But the Church's position on divorce is well known; it is that although marital breakdown is a serious social problem to which there is no ideal solution, divorce creates more problems than it solves." said Mr Cantwell.