Cardinal says the synod fathers 'are all on the same page, if [on] different paragraphs'

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has denied that the synod on the family is divided into different camps.

In an interview at the halfway stage of the synod the Cardinal-Archbishop of Westminster said that breakthroughs had been made and that “a pathway is becoming clear”. He said: “There is still work to be done, but while the emphasis is different [between people] we are all on the same page, if different paragraphs. There are not different camps, that’s just not true.”

In his interview he emphasised the importance both of mercy and justice in the Church’s approach to marriage, quoting Francis when he said: “Mercy is love’s second name.”

The cardinal said: “In God His mercy and justice and truth are inseparable, but we tend to pull them apart. Mercy is the unfolding of justice that gives us peace.

“Sometimes people think mercy and truth are separated. So you have mercy, but don’t worry about the teaching of the Church. Or you say that’s the teaching of the Church and that’s the end of the story.

“In this synod we struggle with the idea of the Church being both a teacher and a mother. A mother uses teaching and wisdom so it doesn’t become a burden, rather a way of tutoring us so we live better lives.

“Mercy, love, justice and truth are right at the heart of what we talk about, especially people in difficult situations, people whose marriages have broken down and are left alone or have entered a second civil union. These are hurtful, difficult situations. As we reflect on these we need to keep mercy and justice and truth all in their right places. There are no easy answers, but we are working hard on this and it is a rich and satisfying process.”