Archbishop Longley said that parishes must reach out to victims of family breakdown

The Archbishop of Birmingham has encouraged his diocese to be “slow to judge” on the Feast of the Holy Family.

In a pastoral letter which was read in all parishes in the the Archdiocese of Birmingham yesterday, Archbishop Bernard Longley asked that “we should be slow to judge and quick to embrace those who are afraid to cross the threshold of the Church because they fear they are not perfect.”

The archbishop emphasised the importance of welcome. He said: “The family of the parish must always offer a place of welcome for those who no longer find themselves in stable or conventional family situations.”

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He highlighted the preparations for next year’s Synod of Bishops on the pastoral challenges of the family and made reference to the fact that they “have highlighted some of the difficulties faced by families today.”

He calls for “understanding and compassion” for those who have experienced a “break-down of family life or who may have become estranged from their closest relatives.”

He said: “The family of the parish must always offer a place of welcome for those who no longer find themselves in stable or conventional family situations… It was surely his own experience of family life that enabled our Lord to see that it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. (Luke 5:31)”

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