September 18, 2014

DIVORCE: WHOM DO YOU HAVE ON YOUR SIDE?

                                 
When you make the decision to divorce, you also make the decision to throw away one of the Greatest Gifts Christ bestowed – His Selfless Love, willingly given from His Cross and the same Love you vowed to your Spouse on your Wedding Day. Once given there can be no turning back, just as there was no turning back for Our Lord once his Fiat was spoken – “…but yet not My Will, but Thine be done.” You have given your personal Fiat at your Nuptial Mass; you have vowed to your Spouse and to Christ your surrender; you have promised Fidelity and Permanency. You have accepted the yoke of Marriage, whether it turns out be a rock-strewn field in which you labor ingloriously to make fertile or one filled with sweet clover that yields acre after acre of blissful harvests. You won’t know of either until after the wedding, but regardless, you have willingly consented to make it work. In the words of Fr. John J. Hardon S.J.:  “Christian marriage is a strict mystery… rationally inconceivable before revelation and rationally incomprehensible even after revelation. Don’t try to figure out the mystery of marriage…”  I might add that it would take an almost lifetime to fully understand a spouse. I never really understood mine until shortly after her divorce, was more or less complete by the time of her annulment and reached its apogee shortly after her re-marriage. Now it’s simply in maintenance mode. Mystery doesn’t even begin to describe it. But I digress…

If you continue to persist in the matter of divorce, you must also by extension persist:

- in compromising your vows to each other and to God.
- in destroying the safety and security of your children.
- in using the courage and strength of your children to shore up your own deficiencies.
- in destroying the financial security of one or both spouses for years or even decades.

In order to see your desires through to their bitter end, the above are just four of the myriad and harsh realities you will have to embrace on the road to the “fulfillment” of your marital “happiness”. In addition, there are also a few core Catholic principles you must first check at the door before you even sit down at the courtroom table:

Charity: You won't be able to maintain what was begun, nor hope to accomplish all that is wanted, unless this particular Theological Virtue is discarded. Of the three virtues, the weight of this One alone should be enough to stop what you are attempting to do. Especially as it regards any children, you must completely dismiss Our Lord's own words:


 Or this admonition:


Do you not already see the danger here? Or more importantly, do you not hear the pleading of Our Savior Himself, to lay aside your own desires in favor of the greater good of your children? Assuming there has been no abuse, what defense can be offered in continuing this travesty - to yourselves, to your children or to the Sacrament of Matrimony? “He doesn’t listen.” “She doesn’t love me like before.” “He’s a cold fish, to me and to the children.” “I’ve worked on her for 20 years and nuthin! NUTHIN! I want out!” Oh, really? You want out?? Did you sign a prenuptial agreement limiting your responsibilities and vocation? (Unless something has changed the past 40-50 years, pre-nuptials weren’t an integral – or valid - part of the Sacrament of Matrimony.) When did you stop praying for your spouse but more importantly, when did you stop sanctifying your spouse and why? Oh yes…St. Monica stopped praying for St. Augustine’s conversion long before he converted to the True Faith, she just knew it was hopeless. Wait! What??

Reason: You can't discard Charity without doing the same with Reason. They are mutually inclusive in my opinion and cannot be separated, if for no other reason than you have children to consider. It will be required that at least one of you, if not both, will need to discard any notion of reasonableness, for it is unreasonable for one or both parents to force upon the children a desire to separate when so very little has been done to help themselves out their own mess. Except, that is, to bring any children into your marital woes to help you to cope. How does it feel to sap the strength, courage and joy from the very lives you helped to bring into this world? How does it feel to violate the very fabric of your respective vocations and yet with clear Conscience, continue down the path that will forever mark your children as statistics? How can you – with all due sincerity - say to your children “I Love you as never before, but Dad and I no longer love each other as spouses.” How can you say that? If you no longer love the spouse who helped create new life – a new Soul for Christ – how can you admit that you still “Love” your children with the same intensity as before your split? Who are you trying to kid: yourselves, your children or Christ?

Selflessness:  I have no doubt the meaning of selflessness is understood, as most couples live it while dating and trying to discern their vocation. When doubts have persisted or some temporal matter concerning a future engagement seemed overwhelming, most would do the only thing possible - give themselves and their prospective spouse back to God and pray that He help sort it out. And He does obviously, for both returned to each other as the answers slowly dawned and then were vocalized at the Nuptial Mass. The selflessness shown in giving up the other; the selflessness offered in complete and Trustful surrender to Divine Providence; the selflessness in relinquishing control over your "pearl of great price" (whether that “pearl” be male or female)... has all that been suddenly “lost” because “something” died? Or was it lost intentionally? Is it really a possibility that fervent prayers were answered then, and that now – 5, 10 or 20 years later – it all was somehow a mistake? That God Himself made - or even could have made - a mistake? That two Catholic individuals permanently bound to each other were, in fact, truly meant for someone else? You must be more than naive if you now think such is a possibility. God makes no mistakes, but He does allow them to happen. God does not destroy marriages He previously blessed, but Spouses can choose to destroy a Blessed Marriage for specious excuses. Do you think it will be all smooth and amicable and everyone will be “just fine”? Do you believe everyone will be able to just “move on”? Do you believe the children will magically meld into a blended family like flies on honey? Do you believe children will be able to give due honor and respect to a step parent that they won’t give to a biological one because of a contentious divorce? Do you believe yours to be the “magical” one where all is wine and Roses? Please…naïveté doesn’t wear so well on an adult, mature Catholic spouse.

Many Catholics know that divorce is not the correct way to solve marital woes. Most probably many of your friends know it as well.  And certainly the Catholic Church knows it is not right (read your Catechism #2382 - #2385), as does any priest worth his weight and vocation. And if you should ask your children, I have no doubt of the answer they would give.  So then…how can you - with such impunity, such certainty and such naïveté - continue down this path so nonchalantly and still sleep peacefully, knowing what lies ahead not only for your children, but for yourself? Exactly whom do you have on your side that gives you such peace of mind?

Certainly not me…

Certainly not Christ in Matthew, Chapter 19

Certainly not your children, for when they become adults and gain their own life experiences, they will come to know and to understand your follies - and how you robbed them of what you were more than willing to give up (Safety, Security, and Parental Love) to satisfy singular desires.

Certainly not Canon Law (#1141, #1151)

Certainly not any Bishop, as Canon Law (#1446) states he must try to get spouses to reconcile.

Certainly not a Tribunal Judge, as he also is as bound by Canon Law (#1676, #1695) as the Bishop.

Certainly not the Catechism of the Catholic Church, for it says:

 "It belongs to the perfection of the moral or human good that the passions be governed by reason." (#1767

 "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.” (#2385)

"...charity always proceeds by way of respect for one's neighbor and his conscience: "Thus sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience . . . you sin against Christ. Therefore "it is right not to . . . do anything that makes your brother stumble.” (#1789)

"Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one's passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church's authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct." (#1792)

My Dear Friends, I ask again: Whom do you truly have on your side?



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