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Stephen Walford - Witness Interview

Stephen Walford, a married father-of-five living in Southampton, on the south coast of Great Britain, is a Catholic author who combines teaching piano with writing theological works ranging from Catholic eschatology and Mariology to the papacy; notably the vision of Pope Francis. His most recent book, Pope Francis, the Family, and Divorce: In Defence of Truth and Mercy contains a Preface by Pope Francis, and is also endorsed by various members of the Vatican Curia, including Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, Chair of the 'C9' Council of Cardinals, and Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. His writings have also appeared in L'Osservatore Romano, Vatican Insider and the National Catholic Reporter.

In response to dissenters of the papal magisterium on Amoris Laetitia, Walford’s book invites readers to approach with love, compassion, and mercy those who find themselves in complex relationships. Walford says he remains a traditionalist, or traditional Catholic, in the fullest sense of the word. He has become the unlikely English defender of Pope Francis’ mission of mercy when it comes to marriage and the family. His strong defense of Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia, the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation that followed the two historic Synods of Bishops on the Family (2014-2015), has not been without a personal cost – seeing him subject to ridicule and criticism from certain quarters of the Church. This is in keeping with the understanding that Pope Francis teaches with the authority of Christ. At once thorough yet accessible, this book speaks to lay persons as well as to clergy and members of academia.

Walford writes: “Chapter Eight of Amoris Laetitia will surely be remembered years from now as one of the most controversial things a Pope has written as part of the ordinary magisterium. In dealing with the pastoral care of those in irregular situations – such as the divorced and civilly remarried – it presents a substantial challenge, inviting all to step outside the comfort zone wrought by a general rule and discipline-based approach to complex moral issues.”

This deeply personal WITNESS interview that took place in Vatican City on October 26, 2018.