Catholic teaching on divorce and gay marriage


If Catholics are obligated to oppose same sex marriage, are they also obligated to oppose laws that permit remarriage of divorced people who have not had their marriage annulled?


Since there is no annulment process for non-Catholics, I don’t see how we could.


I’m not sure if I’m following your explanation correctly, but in theory yes.

However, the divorce and remarriage debate was lost a century (or more) ago. Then, no fault divorce was lost during the sexual revolution.

If there was political will to push for elimination of no fault divorce (which there isn’t), then Catholics would need to push for that. But it isn’t remotely anywhere near being on the table.


I oppose divorce. If you promised to be there with someone for better and for worse, you should stick to those words. In cases of abuse, separations should be granted, but the marriage should never be over.


…which is what the Church teaches.


…which is what the Church teaches. Only death ends marriage.


I love in a country where divorce is illegal. That is fine with me.
I don’t see an obligation to oppose laws permitting remarriage in the West though, since such opposition would be a wasted effort.


Divorce is a reality, and the Church does permit one to go through the divorce if that is required to protect oneself and one’s children, which includes economic protection.

One may be opposed to divorce, but in many instances, there may have been impediments to the marriage that, after the divorce, would result in a decree of nullity from a tribunal. In those circumstances, since the Church would (later) find that there was no valid marriage, the divorce in civil court is most certainly not absolutely opposed by the Church.

The Church, however, takes the position that it will not investigate (formally) the matter as long as there is a marriage in the eyes of the State.


I oppose divorce too, but the reality is that the vast majority of cases do not go through a legal separation, but one party goes directly to divorce court. And the courts will not recognize the wishes of the other party to only have a legal separation.

No civil court in the world can tell someone who has a valid sacramental marriage or a valid natural marriage that they no longer have one; all the civil courts can do is resolve the civil, legal status of the parties. And at least in the past, there have been valid legal reasons why a couple might divorce, with no intent on the part of either party to
“marry” someone else. If the couple has a valid marriage in the eyes of the Church, it is still valid after the divorce; but civil laws have, at least in the past, determined eligibility for certain civil benefits based on marital status - or rather, lack of that status, which in turn compelled some older people to go through the process of s civil divorce.


Actually, there is a process, as a very significant number of people who had been in prior marriages appeal to the tribunal system. It is usually a matter that they wish to be married to a Catholic (and the petitioner is non-Catholic, and often their prior spouse also was non-Catholic).


But what reason would a person have to do this is they weren’t Catholic. Should be encourage legislation that requires all divorcees to seek annulments from a Church they don’t attend?


Catholics should oppose divorce (although the Church acknowledges there are times where it is necessary). Opposing laws that permit remarriage is beyond pointless, as civil society is not going to determine laws concerning remarriage which are religiously based.

And in the United States, there are no laws allowing “remarriage”; rather there are laws allowing marriage (which is viewed essentially as a legal contract) and they do not require anything other than that both parties are single - that is, not in a civil marriage to a third party. The State simply does not look at the history of either of the parties as to prior marriages, other than to determine they don’t exist at the time of this marriage.

So in essence, there is nothing to oppose, as the State has no concern over what was in the past; only what is in the here and now. Marriage is a civil contract which has impact on possession of personal and real property, may or may not include children, presumes sexual congress, and may have legal duties, rights and responsibilities afterwards should the parties choose in civil court to end the contract.

The State still has an interest in certain qualifications, including consanguinity and certain types of fraud, and the State in certain circumstances will nullify a marriage that is within the certain recognized civil impediments. Those may or may not have any bearing on a tribunal’s grounds for a decree of nullity.


As I noted, the cases usually involve a non-Catholic party who is seeking to marry a Catholic; there may be other limited circumstances where someone is seeking to join the Church and would apply.

And it is possible that the given party is not seeking to marry a Catholic, but rather that their previous spouse is; if on party seeks a determination of the court, both parties are “before” the court, even if they oppose it.

And the State is not going to require anyone to go through any sort of religious proceeding, period. The often referred to “separation of Church and State” is not in the Constitution, and as originally intended, is not followed by the Courts, but the current interpretation of the issue would prohibit a court from requiring anything of such a nature.


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