Divorce Question


#1

Hi, what is the Catholic’s view on divorce? I ask as a friend of mine was telling me that catholics can’t divorce, that its a sin etc.Thats not right though, is it.
I’m in RCIA and still learning our faith, my friend seems to enjoy trying to pick holes in catholicism:(.
But really would appreciate a simple answer and a reply to give him. Thanks x


#2

Congratualations and best wishes on your desire to enter the Church!

Personally I would not worry too much about arguing with a friend at this stage, especialy if he just wants an argument. Nevertheless, you ask a good question. The best way to answer these sorts of questions that you will naturally have as part of the RCIA process is to get a copy of The Catechism of the Catholic Church and browse through it, making good use of the index. It's a wonderful resource that often explains things more clearly than parishoners or clergy can summon up at a moment's notice. You can also find it on the Vatican.va website, from where I have taken these extracts:

Online Catechism index on Divorce

[quote=]V. THE GOODS AND REQUIREMENTS OF CONJUGAL LOVE
**
The fidelity of conjugal love **
**1648 **It can seem difficult, even impossible, to bind oneself for life to another human being. This makes it all the more important to proclaim the Good News that God loves us with a definitive and irrevocable love, that married couples share in this love, that it supports and sustains them, and that by their own faithfulness they can be witnesses to God's faithful love. Spouses who with God's grace give this witness, often in very difficult conditions, deserve the gratitude and support of the ecclesial community.
**1649 **Yet there are some situations in which living together becomes practically impossible for a variety of reasons. In such cases the Church permits the physical *separation *of the couple and their living apart. The spouses do not cease to be husband and wife before God and so are not free to contract a new union. In this difficult situation, the best solution would be, if possible, reconciliation. The Christian community is called to help these persons live out their situation in a Christian manner and in fidelity to their marriage bond which remains indissoluble.
**1650 **Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil *divorce *and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ - "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery" the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God's law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.

[/quote]

IV. OFFENSES AGAINST THE DIGNITY OF MARRIAGE **
Divorce **
*2382 **The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble. He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law.
Between the baptized, "a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death."
**2383 **The *separation *of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law.
If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.

**2384 *
*Divorce *is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery:If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery, and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another's husband to herself.
**2385 **Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.

**2386 **It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.

Sometimes people will say that divorce itself is OK, but that remarriage is the problem; as you can see, this isn't the Catholic view. While making note of situations where separation is the only way of protecting people, and where it may therefore be "tolerable" for the individual concerned, the Church believes that divorce is nevertheless bad for society because it presents marriage as a destructible, merely human institution.


#3

[quote="velvetsky, post:1, topic:222517"]
Hi, what is the Catholic's view on divorce? I ask as a friend of mine was telling me that catholics can't divorce, that its a sin etc.Thats not right though, is it.

[/quote]

More or less.

The Catholic Church believes in the permanence of marriage. Divorce is a civil action which does nothing to change the bond between a couple.

The Catechism says:

2384
Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery

However, the Church also recognizes that there may be situations where a couple can no longer live together and need the civil action of a divorce to protect the parties:

2383
The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law.177

If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.

The divorced couple is not free to remarry. They can petition for a declaration of nullity if they believe there was something essential missing at the time of their marriage.


#4

Thankyou both for the answers:)


#5

The Catholic's View on Divorce is that yes, the Lord says it is indissouble, before death. Catholics hold to what the Lord says here. Also due to the "hardness of our hearts"--this is why it happens. This is the reason today, just as it was yesterday and in all time.

Marriage is a covenant, an outward sign of God's covenant to His people, US ALL.

This is why, I think, I would never be the one to initiate a divorce with my unfaithful husband. If he desires to go out on the marriage vows, this will have to be his doing to file a legal paper.

Although I am in a rough spot now, if you've read my threads. This is how I feel still today.

I still pray the Lord will restore my husband, and restore my marriage. All in His plan though. Out of my hands. I put my life, my future in the Lord's hands.

:D


#6

[quote="velvetsky, post:1, topic:222517"]
Hi, what is the Catholic's view on divorce? I ask as a friend of mine was telling me that catholics can't divorce, that its a sin etc.Thats not right though, is it.

[/quote]

Divorce is grave matter. It is a sin against the Sixth Commandment. From the Catechism:

*2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery:

If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery, and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another's husband to herself.177
2385 Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society*.

However, the Church does recognize that an innocent spouse can be wronged due to permissive "no fault" divorce laws", and also that a spouse might need legal protection and physical separation from an abusive or otherwise dangerous spouse to protect themselves and/or their children:

2386 It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.

And from Canon Law:

*Can. 1151 Spouses have the duty and right to preserve conjugal living unless a legitimate cause excuses them.

Can. 1152 §1. Although it is earnestly recommended that a spouse, moved by Christian charity and concerned for the good of the family, not refuse forgiveness to an adulterous partner and not disrupt conjugal life, nevertheless, if the spouse did not condone the fault of the other expressly or tacitly, the spouse has the right to sever conjugal living unless the spouse consented to the adultery, gave cause for it, or also committed adultery.

§2. Tacit condonation exists if the innocent spouse has had marital relations voluntarily with the other spouse after having become certain of the adultery. It is presumed, moreover, if the spouse observed conjugal living for six months and did not make recourse to the ecclesiastical or civil authority.

§3. If the innocent spouse has severed conjugal living voluntarily, the spouse is to introduce a cause for separation within six months to the competent ecclesiastical authority which, after having investigated all the circumstances, is to consider carefully whether the innocent spouse can be moved to forgive the fault and not to prolong the separation permanently.

Can. 1153 §1. If either of the spouses causes grave mental or physical danger to the other spouse or to the offspring or otherwise renders common life too diYcult, that spouse gives the other a legitimate cause for leaving, either by decree of the local ordinary or even on his or her own authority if there is danger in delay.

§2. In all cases, when the cause for the separation ceases, conjugal living must be restored unless ecclesiastical authority has established otherwise.

Can. 1154 After the separation of the spouses has taken place, the adequate support and education of the children must always be suitably provided.

Can. 1155 The innocent spouse laudably can readmit the other spouse to conjugal life; in this case the innocent spouse renounces the right to separate.*


#7

My understanding is that there are also places where the nature of the way the civil law is written requires that a couple obtain a civil divorce before a tribunal can start any investigation into the validity of the marriage, so that the tribunal will not be liable to a charge of alienation of affection.


#8

Hi! I converted to Catholicism five years ago and I am still learning. It's a constant process. :) I strongly recommend looking at the Ask An Apologist section on CAF:

Here is a list of the frequently addressed topics:
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=214374

Here is the forum itself:
forums.catholic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=4
(I like to go to the above link, then click on "Search This Forum" and enter the topics that I'm interested in.)

Reading the apologist answers has helped me better understand the intricacies of things. I'm sure your friends next arguments will be "What if one spouse is abusive?" (answer) or other extreme cases. If you want to engage in debate with your friends, I recommend preparing yourself.

(I personally refuse to engage in debate with my acquaintances most of the time. I don't personally find debating very "fun" and feel like if someone wants to be my friend, they can focus on topics in which we have common ground.)


#9

This is a great video explaining divorce, remarriage, annulment:

Catholic Divorce and Remarriage


#10

Hi Velvetsky the question of divorce in the catholic church is a complicated one.

When two people marry in the catholic church in a valid sacramental marriage then there 'should be' no divorce.However,there are many divorced catholics,for one reason or another.Perhaps one partner was abusive,or the other partner left them & filed for divorce.Divorced catholics are very welcome to attend Mass and may receive Holy Communion and reconciliation for as long as they are not in a further marriage.
Where a divorcee remarries without having first sought annulment and having found no impediment to their marriage they commit sin of adultery but may still attend Mass but NOT receive Holy Communion.However if they decide to live as brother and sister (having remarried) they can still attend Mass and receive Holy Communion.

I expect my answer has confused you more rather than helped you.It is quite a complicated answer! My sister for example was divorced by her 'ex' husband 4years ago.She personally has comitted no sin & attends Mass daily & receives Holy Communion.Her 'ex' however was not catholic & is in a further relationship.If my sister seeks to enquire about the validity of her marriage to her 'ex' I feel she may have good grounds for annulment.She is not at this time formally seeking this yet as she is still hurting from the divorce.

There are quite a few catholics I know who are divorced and it is sad .When we marry in the catholic church it is intended we should never be parted.

[Some Pharisees came and tested Jesus by asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" "What did Moses command you?" he replied. They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away." "It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied. "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female'. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Mark 10 v 2-12]

When an annulment has been granted it means that no valid marriage ever took place and that person is free to marry again! So if my sister was granted an annulment she would be free to marry again.It is never a given that annulment would be granted and it would be thoroughly investigated but nonetheless if my sister eventually seeks annulment and it is found that her marriage was invalid and she is granted an annulment then she is free to marry.If it is found she has been validly married then she cannot marry again.

I hope I have tried to clarify some of this more for you & I hope I have not complicated things for you ! It is so difficult when people question us about our faith and want to knock us! I pray you will have the strength to overcoem these difficult questions from enquiring friends God bless my friend.


#11

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