The Bishop of Shrewsbury has welcomed a letter signed by hundreds of Catholic clergy earlier this year, which called on the family synod to remain faithful to the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage.
During his homily at the annual general meeting of the Catholic Women’s League in Chester on Saturday, Bishop Mark Davies said there had been a “great renewal” of witnessing to the Truth in the Church. He said: “The Bishops of England and Wales have offered their own ‘credo,’ a profession of faith in Christian marriage in a leaflet now distributed in all our parishes.”
He continued: “In a happy and unprecedented way many hundreds of priests have written to their bishops in different parts of the western world encouraging them in their public stand for all the Church believes and teaches about marriage. The priests, as pastors of souls appreciate it will always take supernatural courage to stand in Christ’s truth in times of crisis and confusion.”
In March of this year, almost 500 priests in Britain signed a letter urging those attending this year’s family synod to issue a “clear and firm proclamation” upholding Church teaching on marriage.
They wrote: “We wish, as Catholic priests, to re-state our unwavering fidelity to the traditional doctrines regarding marriage and the true meaning of human sexuality, founded on the Word of God and taught by the Church’s Magisterium for two millennia.”
Bishop Davies said that the model of Christian marriage was increasingly counter-cultural in modern day society. He said: “The latest research undertaken in our county by the Marriage Foundation makes disturbing reading. Report after report high-lights the trend away from marriage and the enormous human cost for couples and, above all, for children (cf Report of the Marriage Foundation 27th April 2015). It can seem that the Christian vision of marriage marked by life-long commitment; chaste love and openness to the gift of children is rapidly becoming a counter-cultural life-style in societies such as our own.
“At such a moment the clarity and the authentic compassion of our witness to marriage is more needed than ever. Faith gives us full knowledge of God’s wonderful plan, St John Paul II observed, and we therefore have extra reason for caring for the reality that is the family in this time of grace and trial (Familiaris Consortio n. 86).”