Is There Really Such Thing as Catholic Divorce?
By Rose Sweet
Is there such a thing as Catholic divorce? I have the answer . . . but before I tell you, let me first pose another question:
Is a hot-fudge-sundae HOT or COLD?
Did you answer “Both”? Then you’re correct. We often struggle with the reality that life isn’t always simply one or the other—which would make things a lot easier to understand—but both at the same time. So the answer to the Catholic divorce question is also BOTH: there is no such thing as Catholic Divorce . . . but Catholics do civilly divorce.
When a Catholic divorces civilly, make no mistake about it: there’s a real divorce, a tearing apart of a marriage and family, and a rip in the fabric of the whole human family. There is great loss, pain and suffering, and every divorced or separated Catholic needs our love, support, and understanding. Not our judgment and finger-wagging.
But the other reality is that from the dimension of a sacrament, the marriage bond may be truly valid, and that can never be broken. However, sometimes a marriage is missing a vital component so that it could never rise to the level of a sacrament. No one is in a position to judge this—not even the couple—without a thorough investigation into the courtship and wedding by the Church tribunal. It can be a very healing process regardless of the outcome. We address this in the new DVD series, The Catholic’s DIVORCE SURVIVAL Guide. The series is a parish program that reminds the divorced Catholic that it’s the hot flame of God’s love that can melt the icy pain of divorce.
A new series of Catholic Divorce Survival Guide will meet on Tuesdays beginning September 3rd (participants may begin any time during the series). Meetings take place from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Padua Room (located near the gym in the St. Francis community center). Registration fee is $20. Please make checks payable to St. Francis of Assisi. Scholarships are available upon request. Submit this form to register.
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