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Church Synod Approves Plan For Remarriage of divorced people With AM-Church of England

February 13, 1985

LONDON (AP) _ The winter synod of the Church of England approved a plan Wednesday night designed to create a fairer system for divorced people wishing to remarry in the Anglican church.

In 1981, the church reversed its previous ban on remarriages and said second weddings could be permitted in some cases. The decision was left to parish priests, which led to widespread complaints of inconsistency between different regions and even neighboring parishes.

The new plan requires a parish priest to consult his bishop in each case. It does not affect a priest’s legal right to marry or refuse to marry any couple.

The Rt. Rev. Michael Adie, bishop of Guildford, proposed the change. He denied that it would be a green light for all second marriages.

″We are concerned to secure responsible decisions to achieve such consistency between one parish and another, and one diocese and another as circumstances allow,″ he said.

The change was supported by Dr. Robert Runcie, who as archbishop of Canterbury is head of the Church of England and spiritual leader of Anglicans worldwide. ″There has been a common desire to hold the principle of lifelong marriage, together with the principle of grace towards those who have departed from it,″ he said.

While recognizing that many Anglicans felt the principle of life-long marriage was being undermined, Runcie said, ″the peace of the church demands that we cease this endless wrangling over a question on which we are so divided.″

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