So tonight I am reading a conversion story
that was interesting, but after I had barely begun, my mind's eye was drawn to an ad that I'd not really noticed. It became more intrusive, due to the color and shapes. Clever. It drew me in.
As I read it, I found myself having those same feelings of sadness, mixed with a touch of anger that I often get when I see this mentality..... why the double set of feelings?
Two reasons, depending on which way I think about it.
First, I think of all those innocent spouses who were forcibly divorced, against their wishes, unilaterally, without due process in the court system, and then left with little or no help from their local Church, as well. Worse, even their family and friends eventually begin to give less support than they may have originally. Eventually, they often stand alone.....
Told to 'get over it', to 'get on with their lives', or 'just go get an annulment!".
Told that God had something better for them.
Told that if they truly loved their spouse, they should be HAPPY that he/she was with someone else, happily.
Told that they were bitter, resentful, unforgiving, rigid, old-fashioned... etc.... ESPECIALLY if they choose to live their vows until death parted them regardless of what 'man' or the courts had to say.
Told that God did not really mean it when He said He hated divorce -- especially today when things have changed so much since it was written!
Told that HE wanted them to be happy, too, and that they deserved to have someone else in their life, not to be alone for the rest of it.
Told that their kids would adjust and accept it, if THEY would just let it go, forgive, and move on....
Told that they were being their own Pope when they read 1Cor 7:10-11, and believed that it was true. Told that just a bit further down, it also said that they were no longer bound (a very false interpretation!!).
Told, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, that if they had truly been married in God's eyes, there never would have BEEN a divorce...
Told, again, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, that NO ONE has been taught what 'real, valid Sacramental marriage' IS, so we CANNOT have one today, ya know?? Often also told (or inferred) that if there had been premarital sex, contraception, etc.. well, then, ya know... it is an automatic certainty that you can't be married validly... hhhmmm, and.... of course, alcoholism or any other type of psychiatric disorder will really help make this definite.
Whatever happened to in sickness, in bad times, in poor times... all the days of our life, until death ended the marriage?
I saw a really good picture the other day. It is also something that we need to take note of, regardless of what society says. For you see, there is NOTHING new under the sun.... and God does not change.
The one forced into divorce truly IS NOT ever divorced from their Faith, for they have not had any choice in the entire matter. Canon law, our Catechism, AND writings by our Pope JPII support them. Too often, local priests, Bishops, Tribunals do not. Many times, it is those very priests who encouraged their spouse to serve them with the divorce papers in the first place, without ever having spoken to them to attempt to heal the marriages!!
Second, I think of those who have chosen to divorce their spouses in spite of God's hatred for divorce, in spite of Jesus' own words in many places in the New Testament, in spite of the Church teaching on indissolubility. And I think of all the various places that 'annulments' are not only encouraged, but TAUGHT, including RCIA, conferences, counseling sessions with 'spiritual advisors', priests, nuns, lay people, books galore, etc. Yet, RARELY, if ever, are they told that chances are they are in a very valid marriage, and need to prepare for that possiblity. They are encouraged so strongly to petition that it is generally assumed it will be in the affirmative, and they will be free to have a second marriage convalidated.... and if not, many will be encouraged to go around it by 'internal forum', something that JPII and others have CLEARLY said cannot be used for Marriage.
Many times, these very people have been in adultery before the divorce, and marry that person civilly after it is final, then later return to the Church, expecting to be forgiven and blessed... told to 'live together as brother and sister until the annulment goes through, and.. oh... WELCOME HOME!'
So what was the ad? This....
And where does it link to? Here....a social website. Catholic Match dot com ...
Notice that on that page, there is NOTHING said about reconciliation with your spouse.
Notice that on that page, there is NOTHING said about living your vows until death parts you.
Notice that on that page, there is NOTHING that tells you what to do to prepare for a VALID finding after a petition for nullity.
Notice that on that page, there is NOTHING that points to others who may also be living their vows regardless of what civil courts have to say.
Notice that on that page, there is NOTHING that teaches anything about what Canon Law has to say about marriage and its permanence. OR the Catechism. OR the many writings of our Popes on the subject.
But I do see a lot of stuff that would make Henry VIII VERY happy.... and would make St Thomas More and St John Fisher VERY sad.
Lord, have Mercy!