The Church of England has voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing divorced people to remarry in church. The Synod, the church's governing body, meeting at York University, voted yesterday by 269 to 83 in support of a motion which said that divorcees could be married in church while former spouses were still alive. Although divorcees are already allowed to remarry in church at the discretion of the Anglican clergy, this vote is seen as a move designed to pave the way for the divorced Prince Charles to marry Camilla Parker Bowles, also a divorcee. The Bishop of Westminster, Michael Scott-Joynt who presented the report, said the proposals would not dilute the Church's commitment to lifelong marriage. But he pointed out that for more than eleven per cent of people married in the Church of England and the Church of Wales, divorce was a "wretched reality". He said: "We have to be up and doing, not only to provide pastoral care to those who find themselves in this position and their families but also in representing the compassion and rebuilding love of God to as many as possible of those who are serious and hopeful about embarking freshly on marriage after divorce." He said: "As things are, we present an uncertain, incoherent picture to those who want to now where the Church of England stands on an issue which sadly touches the lives of thousands of people." The House of Bishops will now be asked to issue national advice to clergy on the issue. The final decision still rests with the individual church minister.
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