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England and Wales: Bishops’ Conference critical of divorce law reform. “Marriage weakened”

(London) The Catholic bishops of England and Wales and other Christian associations strongly criticise the most important reform of the divorce law in the last fifty years announced today by the British Government. Bishop Peter Doyle, Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Committee for Marriage and Family Life, stressed in a statement that “the institution of marriage will be weakened from the start by the possibility of either party to notify the other of his/her intention to leave without giving the abandoned” spouse the right to appeal the decision. “Trust and commitment, which are essential to a successful marriage, are thus undermined together with the validity and equality of a contract that both parties enter freely and sincerely”, Bishop Doyle wrote. Furthermore, according to the Bishops’ Conference, the six-month period during which the court ruling setting the divorce date can be appealed is “insufficient for the couple to consider any prospect of reconciliation”. The reform, which was presented by the Government in a positive way since it would make divorce less acrimonious, was also criticised by the Christian association “Coalition for Marriage”, founded to promote traditional marriage as opposed to gay marriage, and by the pro-life association “Christian Concern”.

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