February 23, 2015

I support Cardinal Kasper's theology of mercy and would like to point out that the four letters to the editor (WCR, Jan. 26) have overlooked the essential message given by Christ - forgiveness, love and compassion versus legalism.

I have documented a number of divorced Catholics who have gone through the annulment process with great bitterness and disappointment.

In our current pluralistic and multicultural society, underscored by often mixed marriages and a transient population, many divorced Catholics are frustrated and humiliated when they seek an annulment.

Their marriage breakdowns occurred quite a while ago, and they find it hard to gather all the evidence to substantiate their claims, including such matters as contacting their divorced partners and/or non-cooperation by them, and the feeling of being disgraced before their grown-up offspring and relatives.

Moreover, with the passage of time, it has become difficult to come up with witnesses to support their positions. Further, they often feel the annulment interviews put salt on old wounds.

For these wounded Catholics, the Church has become irrelevant. They often rely on the Holy Spirit to seek release from the past and a new relationship with God by joining other denominations to find healing, peace, growth and salvation.

Others simply follow their conscience and receive Communion, knowing quite well that the Eucharist heals and gives peace.

In view of this sad phenomenon, Pope Francis has urged the Church to set up "field hospitals" to heal the wounds.

Our conscience and our faith count more before God than an official Church declaration that the marriage is annulled.

The faithful will not accept and follow any dogma or teaching that is irrelevant to their lives. This explains why the Catholic Church is shrinking with fewer and fewer practising adherents.

Let's listen to the appeal of Pope Francis to revive and reform the Church.

Lou Holt