The cardinal says he will go to the synod 'intent on listening to what people have to say'

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster has said that changing the Church’s stance on Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried would require a “radical rethink”.

Speaking at a press conference in London this morning, the cardinal said: “I don’t see for myself where this area of manoeuvre opens up without quite a radical rethink of one or another [indissolubility or the Eucharist], so I go to this synod intent on listening to what people have to say.”

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Cardinal Nichols, who as president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales will be attending the extraordinary synod next month, said he wanted to deliver the central message that any marriage which is “truly the place of the conscious, willing acceptance of God’s grace can no more be dissolved than the Eucharist can be returned to bread, because it is the work of God”.

He said he wanted to emphasise at the synod that the Church’s understanding of marriage needed to be grasped and refreshed.

The cardinal said he would also focus on the challenge of finding ways of creating a “culture of mercy in the Church”, but that this was distinct from necessary actions for forgiveness and conversion.

He said: “Mercy is the air we are to breathe forgiveness and conversion the pathway we have to walk.”