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Media Release

For immediate publication

The Pope’s Statement on Divorce and the Role of Lawyers

John McCarthy QC, President of the St Thomas More Society, the guild of Catholic lawyers in NSW, said today, “I have conferred with Archbishop Pell about the Holy Father’s recent speech to the Roman Rota. He assured me that the Holy Father’s remarks as appearing in early press reports have been misinterpreted or mistranslated in relevant parts.”

Mr McCarthy said, “Family Law judges act for the common good in matters involving, in particular the care of children as well as the property and other rights of the parties to a marriage. Barristers and solicitors participate on behalf of the parties as officers of the Court. All of them are required by Australian law to seek reconciliation between the parties and the settlement of their differences—too often this is not possible.

“Since judges and lawyers in Family Law proceedings have proper and grave moral reasons for their professional participation, they are not being criticised by the Holy Father. They are certainly not being told to withdraw from such professional activity or judicial roles.”

In Australia the Catholic Church requires that all civil proceedings be completed before a party may commence marriage annulment proceedings in Church tribunals.

Issued by
John McCarthy QC
St Thomas More Society
29 January 2002
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