Catholics: Divorce

In reply to the original post, there is something that many know (or have been taught) but which gets clouded over. It is also something many non-Catholics (and likely a majority of poorly catechized Catholics) often believe about the Holy Eucharist within the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. A very thoughtful priest I have had the pleasure to know has spoken on this seminal topic: what is the purpose, the central reason, for a Catholic having to participate in the Mass every LORD’s day and Holy Day of Obligation?

The most commonly heard answer is to partake of Holy Communion/Eucharist so as to receive the Real Presence of Jesus in the sacrament. Although that is the height of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, that is NOT the correct answer–canonically or theologically. Eucharist means “thanksgiving” in the Greek and that is the main purpose of participating in the Mass–to give thanks, as well as praise, to the Almighty for all He has done for us. It is one of the reasons why actually partaking of the Eucharist a Catholic is only obliged to do ONCE A YEAR (and, if that is the case, it must be during Easter)!!! When one thinks on that, one will hopefully see that going to mass is not solely about receiving the Eucharist during the Communion rite–it is foremost about giving thanks to our LORD.

When I hear about how divorced and remarried Catholics (assuming no decree of nullity) feel that they can not or should not attend mass, I feel so bad for them. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass still has value for them; indeed, one could argue that it is still more needed than ever. As the Sacred Writ reflects Jesus said: Nothing is impossible with God. So, all are welcome and even though have some special impediments that may appear to be permanent in nature, the LORD is still worth thanking and praising in the Mass.

Thank you two! That helps me understand a lot better. :o

As I said, I realize “it does not matter” for the RCC in general, but it matters to my knowledge level, and a general interest in faith, sociology and popular culture.

As for those Protestants who believe “divorce/annulment should never be allowed, ever” I believe they do not understand what an annulment actually is. If there was never a valid marriage what is it that shouldn’t be allowed? A true marriage?

If a marriage is performed, they believe it is binding, period. As I understand it, nothing like divorce or annulments are allowed, but if they must, they can separate physically in very rare cases, while still being counted as being married. One fairly large group is the stricter ordnung Amish.

But far from the position that divorce or annulments should never be allowed, most Protestant faith communities seem to allow divorce and remarriage without a problem. It is they who must justify their position with the clear words of Christ.

:confused: You seem to think I’m attacking something here; I’m seeking knowledge.

I’ve also heard more than one person say:
“I left the church because they wanted me to seek an annulment…I’ll NEVER go through a process that says my children should have never been born!”
:eek: WHAT?

Lots of misinformation out there about what it is, what it is not, and why a person would need one. We’ve held seminars to explain the process, the rationale, and the doctrine regarding Annulments. Only the people already seeking one ever come. :shrug:
People are so wounded by their divorces, they have a “I don’t want to revisit that past marriage” feeling. Not even for their souls…they think it’s something that only benefits the Church. Like we’re getting rich on tribunal fees. :rolleyes:

I agree that so many mistake a good sex life for a loving relationship, but I disagree that a couple who fell into sexual sin–like many of us do–can’t discern marriage properly. I feel like that would be further condemning them. Also, I think that plenty of people get married so that they are allowed to have sex without having taken the time to properly discern marriage.

So true.

This is why I think that the truth about marriage, divorce and annulments should be taught to teens.

Sorry, yes I am aware of what you said. I was only reinforcing the point.

Yes, I am aware that this position exists in some Protestant faith communities, just not the majority.

Not at all. I understand where you’re coming from. I just wanted to make it clear that being against divorce in all cases is not the Protestant norm, but is, in fact, limited to a small number of faith communities. Never thought you were attacking. Sorry I came across that way :slight_smile:

Completely agree. Sexual immorality is sin, just like pride, hate, untruthfulness, self-righteousness, and many other that are committed every day by most of us, myself included. Just because someone has had sex outside of marriage doesn’t mean they won’t learn to love someone as God would have them.

I was not implying that couples who fall into sexual sin can’t discern marriage properly. But that sexual sin can make it more difficult for people who are not compatible to realize that they are not compatible, especially if they are sexually compatible.

Sex builds a bond between two people. Some times people think their sexual bond can make up for their incompatibilities, so they wind up having rocky marriages or divorce.

But couples who do not fall into sexual sin do not have the sexual bond. Therefore, they must focus more on other areas of compatibility because sexual capability is removed from the equation.

NOTE: personally, I fell away from the Church for a while (during and after college), fell into sexual sin and I’m now married to a Jewish woman. While I don’t wish things to be different, because I love my wife and children; I do realize that things would have been very different had I not succumb to sexual sin.

Ahh, gotcha. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t coming across as attacking; I think the way the culture at large views marriage and divorce is one of the root causes of the slipping (or already gone) morality in our culture. I think the RCC has done a much better job at teaching about the sacredness and seriousness of marriage. Very wisely it seems the RCC hasn’t followed the gov’t in their various ways of defining marriage, but has made it clear for current members and those converting that marriage is the domain of the church, not the state… at least not spiritually speaking.

How so? Like, what do you mean by that? How do you know you would not have ended up in the same place?

Just one more that wasn’t added:
A divorced, then remarried, Catholic may not receive the Eucharist unless the Catholic spouse(s) in the second “irregular” marriage are living chastely. This is to be verified by the pastor as to not be a cause for scandal for the congregation.

Not at all. You are asking good and important questions.

Absolutely. It affects the most fundamental part of our society, the family. When the family erodes so does the rest of society and that is happening as we speak.

Catholics have the fewest divorces among Christian faith traditions, but it is still a rate of 28% which is unacceptable. You are correct that our Church has never changed its stance on the sacredness of marriage and certainly does not look to the government for guidance, to say the least. :slight_smile:

There’s an old way of thinking that I’ve heard some people adhere to that’s similar to that - they think it makes their children illegitimate or bastards.

I wouldn’t even call it an “old way” just a “wrong way.”

Good article here regarding Catholic Marriage, Divorce and Annulments: catholicbridge.com/catholic/marriage_divorce_annulments.php

Of course, I thought that went without saying.

My wife and I have had a number of conversations since my revert back to being a practicing Catholic. If I was attending Church every Sunday, like I do today, she says she would have never started dating me.

My wife and I have talked about it chastity for our kids. I believe its imperative to reinforce my kids to be chaste and she doesn’t see the importance. My wife doesn’t see an issue with adults / college age kids (even our children once they are adults) having “safe” sex before marriage.

She even claims that if I would have refused to have sexual relations due to moral reasons before marriage, then she would have viewed me as too religious for her. Also, had I wanted to remain chaste during/after college, I would have most likely been going to mass regularly so she would have not been interested in me.

Once I reverted, she would not agree to a con-validation, so I had to receive a Radical Sanation in order to come into good standing with the Church.

My marriage is a little rocky since my revert, but I love my wife and I believe she still loves me. I pray that one day her heart will open up to God (if not Christ). I also pray that I can set an example to inspire my kids to want to be Catholic, so my wife will allow them to be baptized.

Again, I love my wife and ask that you all pray for me, my wife, and children.

God bless.

That is tough. I am happy you still love your wife. As someone who isn’t married yet and not ready, this is inspiring. Marriage is tough and seeing someone that doesn’t give up through what is obviously hard, is great to see.Thank you for that example. I will pray for you.

The problem isn’t that too many seek annulments, it’s that too many divorce. Plus, too many couples have invalid marriages due to a number of reasons, most of which are related to sexual sin.

The process should not become less strict or stringent. It must remain strict and stringent. But it can become more efficient and with proper catechesis more people will not afraid to seek an annulment (even if one isn’t granted).

But the number of annulments will go up as the number of people who continue to engage into invalid marriages increase due to our sick culture.

Thank you very much for you kind words and prayers.

Absolutely. Peace friend!

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