I sat through a good part of a movie called “Diary of a mad black woman” I thought it was well written and subversive. It portrayed the main characters as Christian, yet the main character left her husband and immediately ran to marry another man. The husband was portrayed as abusive and then redeemed through the kindness of the woman…etcetera…

What got me was the movie essentially portrayed the heroine as a good christian and someone who divorced because of bad times and remarried.

Now I am just a single 41 year old knucklehead but I am still callled to chastity but desire to understand authentic married love which should be self sacrificing(?) agape?

Is divorce then permissible?
Matthew 19

9 And I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery.

What does except it be for fornication mean? Is there an instance where divorce is permissible? What did Jesus mean?

The movie upset me because it tried to fuse the idea of being a good christian with the idea of divorce and remarriage being compatible with that. I think it weakens the sacramental idea, particularly among those who do not have recourse to a magisterium.

Anyway, I am going to pray the divine mercy chaplet for all married people to have a good marriage. I may not “get it” but I can always help! :thumbsup:

Any discussion would be appreciated, though I am particularly interested in Catholic POVs on what is the essence of the marriage bond and its indissolubility or lack thereof.

God bless



I can’t answer your question but I think that the movies should be enjoyable and clearly this one wasn’t for you.
I always get annoyed when I sit thru a lousy movie, that’s two hours of my life that I’ll never get back.
As to the divorce issue, there are so many divorced Catholics, so many who don’t take their vows seriously that I wonder what happened myself.
To my understanding, fornication is fooling around in a sexual way with another person not your spouse.
I can recommend The Queen to you as a good movie.
I also enjoyed Little Miss Sunshine, and even the guy I watched with liked it so it’s not necessarily a chickflick.


The Church teaches us that in cases of infidelity one can separate from his/her spouse. But one cannot remarry. I’m 42 yrs old and my wife left me about 6 yrs ago. As near as I can tell she just didn’t want to be married anymore. I get comments from friends who don’t understand my fidelity to her even though she left me. They say things like “You need to find a women so you can get on with your life” or “You need to find a woman to be happy.” The graces I have received in all of this is that I’ve never felt alone. And I have found a great beauty and joy in the celibate life. In today’s world we go to get married and don’t think about the vow “for better or for worse”. We only think about the better. If we don’t have the greatest sex or make enough money etc. We break our vow. Believe it or not I can truly say I have a beautiful marriage. :thumbsup:


Thank you for your witness.


This was a wonderful post.


By Donald F Hudzinski

Can any see how the sundering of Matrimony

  • the Sacrament, and of two-become-one united together in and by vows, and joined-together by God -
    in divorce pre-staged all this before any could really see the horrors which have resulted? E.g., i.e., wasn’t depreciating and belittling the terrible results of divorce on children just a bit of ‘aborting’ the children, after all, by smothering their agonized cries and shocked voices?
    Think of it - the one, sole Sacrament behind
    love of two in this Sacrament of Matrimony ,
    love of family ,
    love of baby and baby-making/raising ,
    having elderly grandparents to lovingly care-take rather than shelve or ‘put-to-sleep’ -
  • indeed, at the heart of civilization -
    is trivialized as regularly as rain, for centuries now in legalized (and most especially in ‘no-fault’, which would be better termed ‘both-fault’) divorce.
    Simply . . .
    . . . if we can ‘terminate’ and ‘abort’ Mommums and Daddums at their life-giving Sacrament, why not Baby-ums at or before he breathes in life?
    If the Sacrament of Matrimony can be ended, why not contra-conceiving and/or aborting and/or infanticiding the fruits of what-would-be, in God-and-life-ordered morality, of the Sacrament of Matrimony?



Leaving an abusive spouse is not sinful and is in fact compatible with being a good Christian. On the other hand, flying into someone else’s arms is not compatible with being a good Christian. A lot of Protestants don’t think that way, though.

  • Liberian


By leaving do you mean divorce or separation? Separation implies the christian possibility of reconculiation and affirms the indissolubility of the marriage covenant. This is important to my understanding. Is Catholic divorce (sundering the sacrament) then permissible because of abuse?

In any event, the abusive spouse had clearly repented his behaviour and sought to be a christian so the reason was no loinger there when our christian heroine decided to be a good christian(?!) divorce him and follow her heart.

Is Catholic divorce (sundering the sacrament) permissible because of abuse?


When I watch movies, I just keep in mind that they are probably not from the Catholic point of view. That helps me to just enjoy them with a little understanding of the perspective of the writer.

Regarding divorce, you can never really know what somebody went through in their marriage so I wouldn’t judge divorced people or anybody else for that matter. Only God knows their heart.:slight_smile:


I would say that marrying a fellow christian and praying together would help, but alas, divorce rates are lower among atheists and agnostics then among christians, even conservative christians.

The divorce rates are:

Jews 30%
Born again christians 7%
Other christians 24%
Atheists and Agnostics 21%


My concern is not whether people sin. I know that. My concern is divorce being portrayed as an acceptable Christian solution, when Jesus says explicitly it is not. This movie teaches a lot of protestants that it is okay to refute and spurn your vow not just to your husband but to God to follow your heart if your husband is abusive. The movie is seditious and our protestant brothers not having a magisterium are susceptible to this satanic message (put yourself before your vow to God) hidden in this movie.

Am I off the rails here? I would like to hear opinions about the indissolubility of divorce.

10:2. And the Pharisees coming to him asked him, tempting him: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?

10:3. But he answering, saith to them: What did Moses command you?

10:4. Who said: Moses permitted to write a bill of divorce and to put her away.

10:5. To whom Jesus answering, said: Because of the hardness of your heart, he wrote you that precept.

10:6. But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.

10:7. For this cause, a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife.

10:8. And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh.

10:9. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.

10:10. And in the house again his disciples asked him concerning the same thing.

10:11. And he saith to them: Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another committeth adultery against her.

10:12. And if the wife shall put away her husband and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

This is explicit?

(?)Marriage is more than just being compatible, there is a mystical and temporal element here implied that a writ of Divorce is simply powerless to break.


This response is to MichaelTDoyle:

Obviously you have not had to live through the abuse that can happen in a bad marriage. I don’t intent to remarry but to say divorce is not an option when your kids are watching constant abuse it just crazy.

I’m just saying it’s not a one size fits all situation and there are circumstances when divorce may be the only option.

My grandma was murdered by my grandpa, don’t tell me that is was right for her to stay in that situation.


I agree with you that separation is sometimes necessary and prudent, but that’s not a dissolution of the marriage.

I am sorry for the pain you have experienced. I don’t mean to poke at anyone’s pain or to make light of the difficulty of bad situations.



By “leaving” I mean physical separation. Civil divorce may also be necessary to protect people from abuse of one form or another.

Is Catholic divorce (sundering the sacrament) then permissible because of abuse?

Not only is it not permissible, it is not possible. The husband and wife are still sacramentally married, and that is simply that.

In any event, the abusive spouse had clearly repented his behaviour and sought to be a christian so the reason was no loinger there when our christian heroine decided to be a good christian(?!) divorce him and follow her heart.

Well, that’s just plain sinful. Whether or not the abusive spouse repents, the spouse who leaves is not permitted to marry anybody else as long as the spouse she left is still alive. The only way to end a marriage is through the death of one of the parties.

  • Liberian


Liberian, that’s what I thought too. Thank you for confirming me in this. Wouldn’t this be true for protestants who follow the bible, too? Those teachings you describe follow directly from Jesus’ commands. If so, this movie was artistically disingenuous in setting up such a situation aimed at Christians. It’s like anti-catechesis.

Thank you to everyone who discussed this with me. I actually left that get together once the movie was over (I excused myself politely, but it was just frustrating to watch the artistic devices, music, lighting and sound all used to reinforce the idea that divorce and remarriage was an appropriate choice for a Christian)



You are very fortunate that you do not have a firsthand knowledge of the nature of abuse. I have not seen the movie that you are referring to, but I am in the process of divorcing my abusive husband.

Even if the husband’s abusive nature was not known at the time of marriage, there are nearly always little signs that were overlooked because abusers were conditioned as children to view others, most especially their spouses, as objects to be controlled and used. I knew about my husband’s meanness before we married, but felt a lot of pressure to keep my word and marry him. We weren’t Catholic and had no premarital counseling. Someone who is an abuser really wasn’t fit to make marriage vows in the first place, because they have no idea what it means to love and honor someone. From what I have heard, if you entered into an abusive marriage and later divorce and leave it, an annulment is likely to be granted.

You are fortunate that you have no idea what it is like to be abused, to be humiliated, controlled, and beat down, to have your own gentless, submissiveness, and forgiveness used as weapons against you. Do you honestly think if you had lived through hell and escaped that you would even risk going back just because the devil told you he had changed?

I pray all the time for my husband. I sincerely hope that he does change, but I could never risk going back to him. I’ve been going to weekly counseling for six months now, and have been worried that maybe it really was all my fault, that maybe the problem was me taking it and not being able to say no. My counselor has helped me see that I can and do say no, but that my no is a gentle no. My husband does not acknowledge it. He has made some big improvements in his life since I left, but his progress would not continue if we got back together. I have a restraining order against him, but even so with any contact that I have had with him, his attitude has been one of punishing me for leaving. If he tricks me onto the phone saying there is an emergency with the children, it is just so that he can insult and threaten me.

If this character’s husband appeared to change in the movie, that is wonderful for him, but his wife would be under no obligation to take him back, likely they never had a true marriage to begin with. She is not required to put herself in harm’s way again. I know I feel physically ill at the sight of my husband, and feel tremendous panic when well-meaning people try to suggest maybe we will get back together.

In your rush to judge, don’t forget that the Church issues declarations of nullity for a reason. If my husband really does ever change, then I look forward to meeting that changed man in heaven. In this life, I will keep my distance.


In your rush to judge,

Can I not speak of anything without being accused of judging someone?

Can no one speak about any difficult teaching–marriage, sexuality, salvation without being accused of judging someone? This was a fictional character in a movie. A movie disingenuously set up to deliver the notion that marriage for a practicing christian is determined solely on good times and if there are bad even abusive times it’s a-okay to divorcet. And then it’s a-ok to find another “soul mate”.

I am not judging you. This thread has absolutely nothing to do with whether a valid marriage ever took place. The question I am seeking was whether a marriage could be dissolved because of bad times or an abusive situation, not whether there was an actual marriage to begin with. Such a point was never broached in the film.

I was asking a question and trying to determine should I face a situation as dire as yours what would be the appropriate response and attitude in addition should I ever know anyone what comfort could I give to them.

I really am sorry you have suffered. May God truly bless you.

I am trying to discover and understand whether marriage is indissoluble or not and to understand its nature. If no one helps me understand, if I am ever met or peripheraly involved in a situation how am I to give Christian assistance? When I am confronted by people about such a movie what am I to say? We are not supposed to hide our Christianity or our Catholicity(?) so my friends know I attend mass. What am I to tell them when we talk? What are we to say? In a culture where few follow Him we have to be ready to understand and respond in a way pleasing to Him Who is Truth and Charity.

I came here for help, not to judge anyone and if I sound that way I am genuinely sorry I have caused discomfort, but I am not alone out here I want to learn how to understand my own feelings on such a matter and help others so that we all follow Him. That Way is love.


Sorry. I got a little bit too emotional there. I guess I just hate the thought of people thinking that I will always be married to my husband. To me, that is a really big reason to go through the annulment process, so that I can know the truth and so I can be free.

Really though you’re right. She shouldn’t have gone flying off to another guy. Even from a secular standpoint, that’s a recipe for disaster.


I guess I was posting at the same time. Sorry I shouldn’t have used such accusing language like “judge”. Just do you think there really was a marriage to begin with if someone is abusive? I think most cases really do start out with this problem, so they really aren’t “marriages.” I mean, I suppose one spouse could face some sort of a trauma at some point within a valid marriage that could lead them to become violent and act out (and in that case it would be an indissoluble union) but what we normally call an “abusive marriage” never was a marriage to begin with.


I am the 41 yr old single guy. I’m afraid I’m too ignorant to know. :slight_smile: I think I would say that if you are Catholic you can trust that Jesus gave Peter the power to bind and loose so obedience in whatever finding should not trouble your conscience at all. (That’s not to say you should not use every mechanism and aid the Church provides to work with such a situation. Remember that one Saint (Therese?) went all the way to the Pope to get in a nunnery), but I would rest assured that once the process is finished and a determination is reached by the Church, your conscience is free regardless. In fact to not trust the Church’s power bind and loose is to doubt Jesus’ promise and might be in itself a sin. Jesus was being a good Shepherd when He left us a Church.

I also think I would not make a hard and fast rule. I would agree that setting up a case by case basis is probably best. But again, I’m just a knucklhead in these matters.

God bless you and thank you for sharing with me.

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