The priests and deacons of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy in England and Wales affirm with the Holy Father, in his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the unchanging teaching of Christ and His Church regarding marriage, the family, and human sexuality. They renew their pledge to continue to follow the teaching and example of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, who acts with great clemency towards sinners, but also with pastoral clarity: ‘Go and sin no more’. (John 8:11)
Our members are heartened that the Exhortation calls for a return to the wisdom of Humanae Vitae (82), defence of the ‘inalienable rights’ of the unborn child (83), re-affirmation of the role of parents as the primary educators of their children (84), and warning of an encroaching ‘gender ideology’ (56). In response to the Holy Father’s call, the Confraternity’s members particularly pledge themselves to work for better and more profound marriage preparation and accompaniment, and clearer, unashamed and more positive articulation of the good news of the joy of human love.
At a time when moral relativism has caused such confusion, the Confraternity recognises the need to work with pastoral sensitivity, guided by the consistent principles of Scripture and Tradition, and will help its members to discern wisely how to help individuals hurt by the crisis in marriage and family life of which the Holy Father speaks. Those in irregular unions are a particular focus of pastoral concern, and need to be brought closer to Christ and his Church. Confraternity clergy will continue to encourage those in problematic marital circumstances to move forward, by personal discernment in the light of the Gospel, and to deepen their involvement in the life of the Church, without losing sight of the fact that certain situations constitute objective and public states of sin. The Church’s pastors must never neglect the call to repentance, and the need to avoid scandal which would cause the weak to fall, while accompanying their people with kindness and understanding.
About the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy:
In response to Pope Benedict XVI’s ‘Year for Priests’, and on the Memoria of St Paul of the Cross* (19th October 2010), Priests of various southern dioceses, with the good wishes and encouragement of others from elsewhere in Britain, voted unanimously to found the British Province of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy for the sanctification and support of Priests, and in promotion of authentic Priestly life, holiness and mission by Fidelity, Formation and Fraternity.
* St Paul of the Cross prayed for the conversion of England and founded the Passionists, whose Blessed Dominic Barbari greatly influenced Blessed John Henry Newman, and Received him into the Church. The British Province of the Confraternity was founded in direct response to Pope Benedict’s ‘Year for Priests’, his State Visit to Britain, and his Beatification of Blessed John Henry Newman.