The Church must be “an experience of God” rather than “a moral agency”, according to Gozo Bishop Mario Grech, meaning it should embrace divorced and gay couples.

In an interview with The Sunday Times of Malta, Mgr Grech says although the recent bishops’ synod transmitted certain “harmful” contradictory messages, its conclusions will help the Church to welcome to all those “genuinely” seeking God.

However, he denies this approach is a “populist” position in a last ditch attempt to reverse dwindling Church attendances. “I fear that at certain times we have put the cart before the horse as we speak on moral obligations but leave no room for mercy and forgiveness,” he says.

Touching on controversial issues like gay relationships and the role of divorced couples, which exposed the split between conservative and progressive factions within the Church, Mgr Grech says people must see the shades of grey in the debate.

He adds that the Church must also embrace gay couples who want their adopted children to have a Christian education, through the administration of sacraments like baptism, holy communion and confirmation.

Speaking on the debate over whether divorced couples in a second relationship should receive communion, Mgr Grech says the Church should not negate this sacrament to anybody genuinely trying to live in forgiveness.

“We seem to have very clear ideas about justice and love but then stumble upon kindness,” he says.

Read the full interview here.

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