Divorce not a barrier for 70 Church of England ordinands

Wed 20 Feb 2019
By Alex Williams

Dozens of people who have married again following a divorce were given a green light by the Church of England to pursue ordination last year, new figures suggest.

Statistics obtained by The Times show 70 of the 569 ordinands approved in 2018 had either married while their former spouse was still alive - or they had tied the knot with a divorcee whose partner was still living.

Church rules hold that such cases must be decided on an individual basis by either the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Archbishop of York.


The procedure does not apply to anyone who has chosen to stay single following a divorce or whose former spouse has passed away.

Vows of marriage by couples exchanged during Church of England weddings hold that their commitment is a life-long one.


But divorced people have been allowed to marry again in the Church "in certain circumstances" since 2002.

Those to do so include the Duchess of Sussex. Speaking before her wedding with Prince Harry last year, Most Rev Justin Welby said the Church had "dealt with" Meghan Markle's divorce.

Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire


Archbishop Justin added: "The Church of England has rules about how you deal with that and we've dealt with that.

"The Church of England has a very clear statement on the nature of when people who have been divorced who have a previously partner still living can get married and we went through that."


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