Religion: Putting It Asunder

The 1.7 million-member United Church of Christ last week became the first U.S. Christian body to authorize ritual recognition for divorce. Along with its Communion, marriage and burial forms, the U.C.C.'s revised Book of Worship (prepared mainly to drop male-biased language) includes a five-page "Order for Recognition of the End of a Marriage." In the new rite, conducted after a civil divorce, the minister announces that a husband and wife have decided to dissolve their marriage "after much effort, pain and anger," and the once married couple then recite words of regret and respect.

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