I desperately need help!
History: dated husband 3 1/2 yrs., married in Catholic Church 16 yrs. and blessed with 5 beautiful children.
My husband left me last yr. for another woman that was immediately introduced to my small 4 children. We were civilly divorced 2 mths. ago and my husband has yet to file to see if the marriage could be annuled. I feel I have no grounds. Here is the problem…
My husband did not “force” my 15 yr old son to meet his “girlfriend” prior to divorce. Now that it has passed, he is pressuring him to go on a vacation in a few weeks with her. My son was raised as a strict Catholic and knows more than most adults! He is a mature young man and told my husband that he was always taught (by both of us) that if he involves himself in another’s mortal sin then he is just as guilty and does not want to condone what my husband is doing. He worries about his father’s current lifestyle. At last he told his father that when there is an annulment showing that he is not married to his mother than he will not feel guilty meeting this woman.
My husband has found a priest that told him he is free to date if he doesn’t “feel” married and that bringing the children on vacation is fine even though he is still bound to the “sacrament of marriage”.
I will not begin to tell you how painful this is for a mother who has tried to raise her children under the Pope’s teachings. I should add that I am not bitter and I truly pray for my husband constantly as I worry for him. I realize that I vowed through the “good times and the BAD times” I must still fulfill my obligation of trying to help my spouse to heaven. I have BEGGED him to do what he must do in secret but to please keep the children from it in. I can only imagine the damage if there are no grounds for anulment.
He plans to bring my son to this priest who will tell him that he should go on this vacation and that his father’s involvement with this woman is accepted by God and his church (my husband’s words). I have asked my husband repeatedly to go to OUR local priest with me and if he tells me that this is o.k. in the eyes of God then I will not say another word about it. He will not go to see him with me so I am hoping that you can tell me what the right thing is to do in this situation in hopes that he will read it. Thank you so much for any help in this matter.
No civil court has the power to end a valid marriage. No ecclesial court has such power, for that matter. (#1640 Catechism of the Catholic Church) “So they are no longer two, but one. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Mt. 19:6) Feelings have nothing to do with the validity or non validity of a marriage. If one is married, he or she is obliged to be faithful to the vows he or she has made. (# 1638 Catechism of the Catholic Church)
Christianity has never allowed polygamy. One cannot be married to more than one person at the same time. (#1645) Until a marriage is proven to be null, it must be treated as a valid marriage. Therefore there can be no dating nor any other kind of behavior by married people that betrays that marriage bond—without committing grave (read mortal) sin! (#1646)
Anyone who says otherwise (including members of the clergy) is flatly contradicting the reality of the situation as well as the teachings of the Catholic Church. I would challenge such clergy to prove otherwise!
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.