Letter: Church attitudes towards remarriage and divorce

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Sir: While espousing the estate of holy matrimony, and recognising that many estranged couples may seek respite through the divorce courts too readily instead of working at reconciliation, it is to be hoped that not just the Church of Wales but also the Church of England will recognise divorce (leading article, 13 September).

Within the Church of England we have the absurd situation of some clergy remarrying divorcees, with others resolutely refusing to do so. A sort of lottery exists where one couple may live in a parish 'fortunate' to have a vicar who will remarry them, where another couple does not.

Nor is it not good enough for the Anglican Church to fall back on the provision of a Service of Blessing after a divorced couple have married in the registrar's office. As you rightly state, some marriages do 'die'. In our current society, the church must accept the hazards that longevity in marriage can bring, where it is right to speak of 'till death do us part' in a symbolic sense.

For the churches to take this courageous step will, of course, open up other issues at present ignored, such as the blessing of those who prefer to cohabit or who experiment in trial marriages; and the affirming in some way of those couples who decide to split up, but who wish to do so in a civilised and possibly Christian context.

Yours faithfully,


United Benefices of Thurgarton with Hoveringham and Bleasby with Halloughton

Thurgarton, Nottinghamshire