THE CATHOLIC HERALD FEBRUARY 21 2014
Bishop Davies: pre-nups will undermine marriage BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE BISHOP of Shrewsbury has said the introduction of pre-nuptial agreements in Britain effectively invites engaged couples to prepare for divorce and undermines the traditional definition of marriage.
Preaching on Sunday, Bishop Mark Davies said: “Pre-nuptial agreements may soon become enshrined in civil law on the recommendation of the Law Commission. Our society would be proposing to couples seeking marriage that they prepare their own divorce settlement before making the lifelong promises of marriage. It is a legal provision which would surely empty the words of the marriage promise for ‘better for worse ... to love and to cherish till death do we part’ of all meaning.
“Pre-nuptial agreements would render these promises provisional by the legal preparations which anticipate divorce. We must ask ourselves today, what message does this send to couples considering marriage? What message does this send to the young at a moment when the institution of marriage stands at such a historically, low ebb? Should we not be putting our efforts into guarding and buildingup the institution of marriage rather
Conference defends its choice of key speaker than steadily undermining it?”
A pre-nuptial agreement law is currently being considered by Government ministers, which would mean couples working out the terms of their divorce before they get married.
The Law Commission’s proposals, drawn up over four years, are for a new law “to consider the treatment of pre-nuptial, post-nuptial and separation agreements”. They will be published on February 27.
Such pre-nuptial agreements are used widely in the United States.
English courts have traditionally ignored pre-nuptial agreements but the Radmacher ruling at the
Supreme Court in 2010 changed this. The ruling is significant because judges ruled that the German heiress Katrin Radmacher should keep her £100 million fortune after her divorce, according to the conditions of her pre-nuptial agreement.
But Lady Hale, deputy president of the Supreme Court, said that she believed pre-nuptial agreements undermine marriage. She said: “Marriage still counts for something in the law of this country and long may it continue to do so.”
During his sermon, Bishop Davies said that marriage as an institution was already under threat.
He said: “In this week of incessant storms we have been reminded how it is too late to build defences once rivers break their banks and tidal surges hit our shores. Long-standing foundations are already in danger of being washed away.
“So too, in the life of our society it will surely be too late to protect the great good of marriage if we have allowed the foundations of this timeless institution to be eroded away by our own neglect. We must actively guard the truth about marriage with greater effort amid the storms of our time so this vital, life-giving institution is not undermined.”
Bishop Davies said that, contrary to popular perception, the worldwide meeting of bishops in October was about guarding the true definition of marriage, not to change Church teaching. He said: “Pope Francis wants us to guard the gift of marriage. Realising, as the Gospel reminds us today, if the salt loses its taste then it is useless. Similarly, if the teaching and witness of the Church lost its distinctiveness amid the confusions of our times we would have nothing to offer our contemporaries. In Our Lord’s words, like salt without taste we would: ‘be trampled underfoot by men’ (Matthew 5:13). Pope Francis
BY DAVID V BARRETT
AN ONLINE campaign has forced the organisers of the Divine Mercy Conference in Dublin to defend their decision to invite Dominican theologian Fr Timothy Radcliffe.
The annual Divine Mercy Conference is being held this weekend. However Deacon Nick Donnelly, who runs the Protect the Pope blog, said Fr Radcliffe had dissented from Church teaching, and described his attendance as “a profound insult and scandal to faithful and loyal Catholics”.
And the Steering Committee for the National Consecration of Ireland has issued a letter calling for a boycott.
But in a statement the organising committee of the conference said he was “a respected and much sought after international speaker on scripture and spirituality. He works closely with Church leaders on an international level and we believe he will have an important message to share with us.”
A statement by Fr Radcliffe, who was master of the worldwide Dominican order from 1992 to 2001, and who is known for his liberal views on human sexuality, has also been posted on the conference website.
Fr Radcliffe said: “I am sorry that so many people seem alarmed at my forthcoming presence at the Divine Mercy Conference. I am sure that they are moved by a sincere love of the Church and its teachings, which I share.
“I have been surprised at the wide concern with my views on homosexuality. I have written or edited eight books, and given over a thousand lectures since my return from Rome, and none of these have been about homosexuality, except in passing.
“I did write an article on the admission of homosexuals to seminaries, which received the approval of my successor as Master of the Order, and of the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster prior to publication. I have presided occasionally at Masses which were intended to be especially welcoming to gay people. These Masses are part of the pastoral programme of the Archdiocese of Westminster, approved by Cardinal Murphy O’Connor, who consulted the then Cardinal Ratzinger and received his support.
“I addressed the Anglican Commission on Sexuality, which prepared the Pilling report. The key issue was ‘gay marriage’ which I opposed. Nothing that I said was against the teaching of the Church.”
Fr Peter Prusakiewicz will also be speaking at the conference and Nashville country singer Collin Raye will give a concert.
Pierce Brosnan, best known for starring in four Bond films, said prayer had helped him to be ‘a father, an actor and a man’ PA
Brosnan: faith kept me going in dark time
BY DAVID V BARRETT
FORMER James Bond star Pierce Brosnan has said the only thing that kept him going when his first wife and her daughter died was his Catholic faith.
Both died of ovarian cancer. His wife, Cassandra Harris, died in 1991 aged 43; Charlotte, her daughter, whom Brosnan adopted in 1986, died last year aged 41.
“My faith has always helped me. I’m Catholic,” he told German newspaper Bild last week.
“That’s all you have left when your heart is just a dark hole at four in the morning and you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. No one can escape life’s pain. That’s life.”
In an interview with RTÉ three years ago he said that “prayer helps me to be a father, to be an actor and to be a man. It always helps to have a bit of prayer in your back pocket. At the end of the day, you have to have something and for me that is God, Jesus, my Catholic upbringing, my faith.”
He continued: “My faith has been good to me in the moments of deepest suffering, doubt and fear. It is a constant, the language of prayer.” Recalling being taught by the Christian Brothers as a child in Ireland he said: “I certainly got a strapping amount of faith.”
The star, who played Bond in four films, including GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies, over the course of a decade, now lives in Hawaii with his wife, journalist Keely Shaye Smith.
“We have a wonderful cottage by the sea,” he told Bild. “My day goes like this: I make coffee and watch the waves. Then I draw a little and go surfing. Meet some film people, cycle, go home. ‘What’s for dinner?’ It’s a simple, almost bourgeois life.”
is inviting us to recognise the depth of the crisis and develop a pastoral response. A pastoral response, the response of a good shepherd, never obscures or confuses but leads everyone to recognise their ultimate good. The good which is possible, attainable by us with the help of God’s grace despite our many our frailties.”
Bishop Davies concluded: “The Church surely has a task not only to teach this beautiful vision of marriage but to give witness that this union, faithful and lasting, the foundation of the family is possible today, tomorrow and for all generations to come.”
Bishop alarmed by vote in Belgium
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE BISHOP of Shrewsbury has said Belgium’s decision to legalise euthanasia for children “must serve as a wake-up call” for Britain.
Bishop Mark Davies urged people to speak up for the most vulnerable following a vote in Belgium’s House of Representatives last Thursday where parliamentarians supported the law by a large margin.
Bishop Davies said: “It is all the more disturbing that this new barbarism of killing sick children was passed with apparent public support.
“As the euthanasia lobby in this country actively seeks every opportunity to breach laws upholding the sanctity of human life we need to be more active and vocal especially as a general election approaches to make the argument clearly and compassionately in defence of the most vulnerable.”
Commenting on Belgium’s decision, Lord Alton of Liverpool said that “care” and “killing” could never mean the same thing. He said: “The Belgian decision to legalise childeuthanasia is yet another example of what happens when you give the green light to so called mercy killing. You begin by saying you will only ever authorise lethal injections on a tiny number of terminally ill patients and end up with laws that take the lives of thousands with, and then without, their consent. That is now the position in both Belgium and Holland.
“It’s no longer a slippery slope, more a quagmire, into which good ethics, good palliative care, compassion and true mercy have all been sucked.” Full story: Page 4
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The Theology and Practice of Prayer in Catholic Tradition A Study day for Clergy, Laity, and
Students of Theology
Hosted by The Centre for Catholic Studies
The Newman Association, The Departments of Spirituality, Formation, and Education, the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle,
The National Board of Catholic Women
Sat 15th March 2014
OPEN TO ALL Including a formal book launch for Eamon Duffy’s
The Heart of Pilgrimage: A Prayerbook for Catholic Christians SPEAKERS Prof. Eamon Duffy Prof. Karen Kilby Prof. Paul D. Murray Sr Avil O’Regan RLR Kathryn Turner 9.15am - 5.45pm Ushaw College, Durham Buffet lunch provided £50 per person/ Concessions on request For further details contact Dr Michael Canaris email@example.com 0191 334 3968
www.centreforcatholicstudies.co.uk Catholic Theology in the Public Academy
For international and domestic news, as well as stories from your local parish, visit our website www.catholicherald.co.uk
Irish bishops will keep responses to synod private BY EVIE BUTLAND AND MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE IRISH bishops have said they will not be releasing the results of a survey of Catholics ahead of the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which is due to take place at the Vatican in October.
The Vatican ordered the worldwide survey on “Pastoral Challenges in the Family”, exploring issues such as cohabitation, contraception, and Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried. After publishing some statistical information from the survey, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said last week it would not release detailed results, unlike the German and Swiss bishops’ conferences.
Both Ireland and the English and Welsh Churches claim that the Vatican asked them to keep the outcome of the survey confidential. A spokesman for the Irish bishops told the Irish Catholic that they would not be releasing a statement about the results.
However, the German bishops’ report elaborates on the differences seen in the survey, “above all when it comes down to pre-marital cohabitation, the status of the divorced and remarried, birth control and homosexuality”.
This week Cardinal-designate Vincent Nichols, president of the English and Welsh bishops’ conference, said the bishops had decided to keep the synod responses private so that they would not limit the scope of the synod.
He also said the Holy See had asked the bishops’ conference not to make the responses public.
The cardinal-desigate said: “I quite understand the reason for the request, because if every bishops’ conference around the world put i ts response to the Holy See on the table, then that really limits the whole process of the synod.
“Now what we must do is we have to reflect on what we’ve heard and what we’ve learned [and] form a very clear picture of the challenge before parishes and the ways in which they support and nurture and accommodate family life in all the different approaches.”
The bishops’ conference said earlier this month that it had received 16,500 responses to the synod survey.
Over 12,200 responses were online, a spokesman said, but letters and emails as well as online forms were included in the overall analysis.
Eighty per cent of respondents were laity, two-thirds were married and only one percent identified themselves as lapsed or non-Catholic. World’s faithful split: Page 6
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