For 36 years now, I have been celebrating marriages and blessings for those whose first marriage had failed irretrievably.


I believe in the Christian IDEAL that marriage should be for life, and as Christians, we should always do what we can to heal and save a marriage that is in trouble.


But, sadly, there are marriages that can never be healed or saved.

So, what do we do in such cases?

Do we cast people out forever and tell them they can never have love and companionship again?

Or do we find a pastoral solution” to their dilemma.


Bishop Basil of Caesera allowed second marriages on the grounds of compassion but pointed out that the second marriage was not as perfect spiritually as the first.

Other Church Fathers allowed second marriages – but for men and not for women !!!

Separated couples were in a very bad situation in Ireland, right up to 1996. The RCC had made sure there was no divorce in Ireland.

Couples wanted their new relationships recognised, and very many of them were seeking God’s blessing on their lives.

Before I began marrying and blessing couples in second relationships, I asked God to give me a sign that to so so was ok with him. He gave me that sign.

Here is a letter that arrived yesterday from a couple I encountered in 1995:

“Dear Fr Pat,

I’m sure you are wondering what prompted me to write to you after all these years. But I never got to thank you for your kindness when my partner and I went to see you in 1995.

A long time ago, surely, but going through some photos recently, I realised that I never filled you in on what happened afterwards.

I had been married to a very abusive husband with a serious drink problem. At that time, there was no getting away. We had two children and so we were trapped.

I finally had to go back home to my parents. It wasn’t easy. I took a job to get some money, and through it, I met my partner.

He was a widower with his own children. He and his children were so good to us – asked us to their houses, fed us, took us on holidays with them, and always checked in on us to see were ok, accepted us so much. I never had so much kindness.

I never left home or lived with them as my two kids were very damaged by my husband’s abuse and what they saw and heard in the early years.

My mother died in 1998. She loved my partner for his goodness to me, my children, and her. I only found out years later that she had asked my partner to look after us when she was gone. I only had to go to the phone box and he came.

When my husband died eight years ago, we had a civil marriage ceremony.

But I know what kept us together was the lovely blessing you gave us in 1995. We have been so happy and often used to think about you until finally I thought it was time to say “Thank you Father”.

I am enclosing some photos.

I am sorry for the shaky writing. My eyesight is failing, and the doctors say there is nothing more they can do. Please include me in your prayers. You helped us so much in the past when no one else would.

I hope you are happy with yourself? God knows you deserve it. You helped so many like us in the past, who had nowhere else to turn to.

It’s great that times have changed for people but you led the way for everyone.

For all you do and have done, we are truly thankful.

Always grateful to you,

Xxxxxx and Xxxxxx Xx Xxxxxx


I am grateful and touched when I receive letters like the above.

Jesus is right. We must use LOVE to determine what Scripture means – even on questions like divorce and remarriage.

I have seen so much LOVE and GOOD come put of marriages where people got a second chance.

By all means, let us keep lifelong marriage as the Christian IDEAL.

But let us also, with God’s help, find a way to give people who have failed or who have been failed, a bridge over that River of Failure.

And let us remember that Jesus was and is the bridge between God’s perfection and our imperfection.