Mom just got her Our Sunday Visitor in snail mail today, and I read this article as soon as I saw it. Many who may read my blog may not like what I am going to say, but it really does not bother me one bit. I am tired of this kind of 'explanation' and justification of today's divorces and rampant 'annulments' in the US.
Healing for divorced Catholics: Our Sunday Visitor
Newlywed couples, once the vows are spoken, can feel they are on their own to figure out what a “sacramental” marriage is.
This, among many Catholics, is one of the standard statements... but they overlook the fact that a SACRAMENTAL MARRIAGE is ANY marriage between TWO BAPTIZED PERSONS, One Man/One Woman! That means that ANY persons no matter where they are married or by whom, IF they were Baptized, enter a SACRAMENTAL union, with the exception of a Catholic who marries outside the Church without dispensation. That marriage is illicit because of lack of form. IF TWO BAPTISTS get married... they are Baptized, they are in a Sacramental and valid marriage. (ALL first marriages are to be presumed to be valid until proven to be otherwise--and even then... with new evidence, any 'annulment' can be appealed until the death of one's spouse -- Tribunals are NOT infallible!
I have heard so many heart-breaking stories of divorced Catholics who are still suffering from guilt years, even decades, after their divorce. More than anything, we need to support one another and to forgive ourselves. We need to turn to God, who does not condemn, but who always loves us. God’s love for us is not diminished by our divorces. God cannot be anyone other than who God is. And God is love.
God IS Love, and Love isn't always all sweetness and niceness. Love is above all, HONEST, and can, at times, be what is today called "tough love". For Scripture tells us that He chastises those whom He loves....
One of the most troublesome Scripture passages for us divorced Catholics is
Matthew 19:6: “Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
During my divorce, no matter how loved and accepted by God I felt, reading this
passage gave me the chills and made me doubt my decision. That is, until I
figured out what Jesus was talking about.
There is an important caveat in this quotation: “What God has joined together.” Only marriages “joined by God” are truly sacramental. Here is the important question for any divorced Catholic: Did God join you and your ex-spouse in holy matrimony? Don’t be too quick to say yes just because you got married in a church and said the words you were told to say. Did you intend for God to join you? Did you ask God about it? Did you even talk to God back then? At the time of my marriage, 40 years ago, I had begun to pray and go to church again (after ignoring God throughout my
teenage years), but it never occurred to me to ask God about or even include God
in my marriage plans.
While this sounds good, and is highly favored today among those who justify their actions, God IS OMNIPRESENT, and He is even at YOUR marriage, though YOU may not recognize Him or 'invite' Him.
The author conveniently 'excuses' God from witnessing the Covenant and the speaking of vows, and assumes that He WAS NOT THERE, and did not witness them, so that she (and WE) can then excuse ourselves.... and 'heal'...
But what about the OTHER verses that she overlooks? Such as???
How about Malachi Chapter 2
13 And this again you do. You cover the LORD's altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor at your hand.
14 You ask, "Why does he not?" Because the LORD was witness to the covenant between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.
15 Has not the one God made and sustained for us the spirit of life? And what does he desire? Godly offspring. So take heed to yourselves, and let none be faithless to the wife of his youth.
16 "For I hate divorce, says the LORD the God of Israel, and covering one's garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless."
17 You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you say, "How have we wearied him?" By saying, "Every one who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them." Or by asking, "Where is the God of justice?"
We can JUSTIFY anything today... we deny that there is SIN in anything we do, and we explain it away by saying that God is love, mercy, kind, forgiving.... but God is also JUST, and RIGHTEOUS, and "He is not man that He should lie" -- God is Ever PRESENT, and NEVER-CHANGING!! HE IS the Same, YESTERDAY, TODAY, and FOREVER. There is nothing about 'Today's Society' that He did not know about at the beginning of Creation ... and there IS no new sin in the world... Ecclesiates 1:9 says " What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."
Let me repeat that for those of you who do not want to see that TODAY is NOT NEW TO GOD....Ecclesiates 1:9 says " What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."
Jesus was NOT just quoted in Matthew 19 by the NT writers. He is quoted twice by Matthew, once by Mark, and once by Luke regarding divorce and subsequent marriages... and he shows us that each person
involved lives in adultery....
"It was also said, `Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.'
But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?"
He answered, "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female,
and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?
So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."
They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?"
He said to them, "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery."
And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"
He answered them, "What did Moses command you?"
They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away."
But Jesus said to them, "For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, `God made them male and female.'
`For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh.
What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."
And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter.
And he said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."
"Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
There are other places in the NT as well that this topic is mentioned. And then there are also admonitions like this:
"So when you make a promise (or a VOW) to God, don't delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him. It is better to say nothing than to promise
something that you don't follow through on. In such cases, your mouth is making you sin.
And don't defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved."
~~ Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 New Living Translation
But what about the words that PAUL quotes and says is a command of the LORD, not himself?
Far too many conveniently forget this part and attempt to jump to the other part (esp verse 15)... and use that section to justify their actions...
To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband
(but if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband) -- and that the husband should not divorce his wife.
MANY use these verses to explain that "God told them" that they could divorce and marry again (re-marry implies the same marriage partner if you really think about it...) But note that there IS no directive to divorce and marry again. IF the unbelieving husband (this is questionable, too, in many people's usage of it...) wants to leave, we may let them leave...and live in peace (even while praying that eventually, the LORD's command of this section is fulfilled...)
12 To the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her.
13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he
consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.
14 For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy.
15 But if the unbelieving partner desires to separate, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. For God has called us to peace.
She (the author) speaks of the need for the Church to stop judging the divorced. My experience is that the ones who are judged today by most in the Church are those who DEFEND THE VALIDITY OF THEIR MARRIAGE after forced, unilateral no fault divorce ends it civilly. EVEN IN THE TRIBUNALS, the Repondent is often not truly defended, and the couple is always spoken about as 'former spouses' even though the Church does not recognize civil divorce -- and even though the marriage MUST be presumed valid until proven not to be....
Many forget JPII's words
, and tell us that we have NOT 'healed', but are bitter, unforgiving, rigid, etc....you don't believe it? Read any Catholic forum
where this subject comes up, if a person trying to save their marriage asks a question or shares their belief that there are too many 'annulments' being granted today for reasons that are dubious.JPII said:
To bear witness to the inestimable value of the indissolubility and fidelity of marriage is one of the most precious and most urgent tasks of Christian couples in our time. So, with all my brothers who participated in the Synod of Bishops, I praise and encourage those numerous couples who, though encountering no small difficulty, preserve and develop the value of indissolubility: Thus in a humble and courageous manner they perform the role committed to them of being in the world a "sign"--a small and precious sign, sometimes also subjected to temptation, but always renewed--of the unfailing fidelity with which God and Jesus Christ love each and every human being. But it is also proper to recognize the value of the witness of those spouses who, even when abandoned by their partner, with the strength of faith and of Christian hope have not entered a new union: These spouses too give an authentic witness to fidelity, of which the world today has a great need. For this reason they must be encouraged and helped by the pastors and the faithful of the church. ~~FAMILIARIS CONSORTIO Pope John Paul II 12/15/1981 (Sec 20)
RATHER... let's see more support, such as encouragement to continue
to live the vows we spoke before God and family/friends...
THIS is the type of help those in the situation need, and has been available for YEARS in Italy. It is time for it to become available HERE, as well. Maria Pia Campanella is a name that should be made known all over the US... that, and 1 Cor 7:10-11
Mary of Cana, pray for us!
Finally, two quotes from a man I hold in high esteem:
“In many parts of the world, the family is under siege.
It is opposed by an anti-life mentality as is seen in contraception,
abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. It is scorned and banalized
by pornography, desecrated by fornication and adultery, mocked by homosexuality,
sabotaged by irregular unions and cut in two by divorce.”
~~ Francis Cardinal Arinze
"Divorce tears marriage apart. It desolates both husband and wife. It leaves the children not only in tears but also in misery. We do not deny that there can be serious disagreement between husband and wife, but divorce is not the solution. When husband and wife have a disagreement, they should reflect, pray, sit together
and discuss. Accept fault where you are wrong, ask for pardon, or consult a
priest or other spiritual adviser, but do not divorce."
~~Francis Cardinal Arinze
Lord, have Mercy!