Common Myths About Divorce
Divorce is a sin.
Not necessarily so. The Church understands that in extreme
cases is may even be necessary to separate and/or file for civil divorce for
the emotional or physical protection and safety of a spouse and the children, or
to preserve property rights. (CCC 2383) Every case is different because every marriage
invokes two unique people in unique circumstances. Not many really know what goes on behind closed
doors. Don’t be too quick to judge without a caring heart, an open mind, and
all the facts.
Now, what leads to civil divorce can be very sinful. And, yes, filing for civil divorce in many
cases is another sinful act that deeply wounds the marriage, the family, and
the whole community. But all people have the ongoing love of God, forgiveness through
the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and hope for marital reconciliation or at
least the conversion of all hearts.
The divorced can’t receive Holy
Not necessarily so. If they have
not remarried outside the Church and are in the state of grace, they are free
to receive. However, NO Catholic who is in the state of ANY serious,
unconfessed sin should approach to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion until
he/she is convicted of the wrong, confesses, and repents with a “firm purpose
of amendment”. Habitual bitterness, unforgiveness, lying, cheating, pornography,
and sexual immorality, are examples of “serious sin” that offends Our Lord. Just as we would never go to a wedding
unshaven, unshowered, and without a gift, so, too—out of love and respect for Christ in the
sacrament—we should be properly prepared
and disposed to receive him in this intimate act of love.
Children are Illegitimate after an Annulment.
Untrue. A “Declaration of Nullity” addresses the
consent of the spouses at the time of the wedding to see if there was some
serious issue that prevented a valid bond from forming. It has nothing to do with the gift of children. “Legitimacy” is a civil issue concerning a
child’s paternity. Children born of a legitimate civil marriage
which is later declared “null” by the Church are always legitimate and enjoy
full rights and privileges of the civil law. Sadly, when one spouse party petitions for annulment,
the other spouse (or family members) will try to make them look bad in the eyes
of the children by telling them, “Mommy/ Daddy wants you to be declared illegitimate!”. This is distressing to the children to say the
least and indicates ignorance and gross selfishness.
Annulments can be bought.
they can’t. Canon Law has always provided for those who cannot afford the
average administrative costs in this country ($400 -$700) by dismissing or
lowering the fees. Many dioceses now charge
nothing. And even if your best
friend is a judge on the tribunal, you can’t change the outcome. The process of
the law is still required for the protection of the parties, the community, and
the dignity of the Sacrament.
You can date after divorce.
Not unless you have a Decree
of Nullity and are otherwise mentally, emotionally prepared to marry another. Why? You are still married and married people
are not available to give themselves romantically and sexually to others. Every time a couple says “I do”, whether they
are Catholics or atheists, the Church presumes a VALID marriage bond comes into
being. If both are baptized, then it
also is a SACRAMENTAL bond. You can’t just
do what you feel like without consequences.
People usually want to date after divorce because they long to feel loved, know
they are still attractive, or want to quell the loneliness. Especially if they
have been lonely for many years in their marriage. But in a certain sense that
is using the other person. The other person
has a right, if he or she falls in love with you, to know you are completely
available and that there is no undue burden or temptation that will affect you
both. Don’t use other people; instead call your
same-sex friends, find a fun hobby, or get a pet. And take your pain to Our
Lord who truly understands the cross you carry—and will help you carry it.
more (because there is a LOT more . . . ) read the other resources on this site.