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Letters & Op-Eds - 2002

new york times

Catholics and Divorce

Frances Kissling

2 February 2002

To the Editor:

Challenging the idea that Pope John Paul II's approach to divorced and remarried Roman Catholics has been compassionate are punishing facts ("John Paul Says Catholic Bar Must Refuse Divorce Cases,'' news article, Jan. 29).

The 1994 beatification of Elisabetta Canori Mora is illustrative. Mora was beatified because she chose to stay in an abusive marriage rather than divorce. The fact that she valued marriage over divorce was saintly; being abused was irrelevant.

Several years ago, the German bishops petitioned the church for a change that would allow divorced and remarried couples to receive communion so that they could lead a full life in the church. The pope refused.

The pain experienced by ordinary Catholics who divorce and remarry and who wish to lead full spiritual lives is one of the greatest tragedies in the church today.

Frances Kissling
Catholics for a Free Choice
Washington, Jan. 29, 2002

This letter appeared in the 2 Febrary 2002 edition of the New York Times.