RE Margaret Smith’s letter, ‘Reality of divorced Catholics’ (CL 27/6/04).
Indeed divorce is a ‘reality’ for many people today, but that does not mean that it is right.
Evil and sin, also, are a ‘reality’ in the world (ie in the lives of each and every one of us) today, but would you have the Church change its teaching on these just to satisfy the whims of individuals or minority groups?
Truth does not change and therefore, the Church’s teachings do not and cannot change – it is a pillar of truth and a beacon of light for the entire world.
A Church that changes its teaching on issues of faith and morality, in doing so, admits that its former teachings were erroneous. The Church is guided by the Holy Spirit – the spirit of truth, not the spirit of popular opinion.
The world may despise the Church for this and other unpopular teachings such as the evil of fornication, contraception/abortion, but Our Blessed Lord said to his holy apostles (ie Church) at the Last Supper: ‘If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you’ (Jn 15:18).
But, even more to the point of this discussion, the Lord went on to say: ‘If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they have kept my word, they will keep yours also’ (Jn 15:20).
Margaret stated in her letter that divorce can be an option ‘consistent with true integrity’.
In a sacramental marriage, the Lord binds together the man and woman, with their consent, in a holy covenant that deems their union even closer than a ‘flesh and blood’ relationship. Their lives are integrated in a profound and mystical way.
Divorce disintegrates lives, the lives of children and loosens the threads of the fabric of society. The evil one takes a firm hold of the remnants of those lives and many, particularly the children, wind up emotionally confounded and searching for the true meaning of love in their unravelled lives.
It hurts children to see their parents fighting with each other. Their worst nightmare, however, is to see the two people whom they love most in the world, the two who are supposed to represent God’s unconditional and self-sacrificing love, give up on their commitment, walk away from each other, and very often ending up bitter and scornful towards each other. What does this teach our children about love? It teaches them that it is conditional, self-serving and temporary, and that it is impossible to live out true fidelity and obedience.
Every marriage is difficult. It is a path to holiness – a cross which, when carried with courage, commitment and prayerfulness until death (in accord with the nuptial vow), will lead to salvation.
Our spouse, whom we embrace, is our cross which we embrace. All the hardships, challenges and pain of the journey are allowed by God so that we may practise virtue and grow in holiness.
Through the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, God promises to be right there in the centre of a marriage, pouring out his graces to strengthen and help spouses to stick together, even throughout the toughest trials.
The ‘reality’ of divorce is that it is society’s great emotional disease – an infestation that is nourished by feminism, individualism, moral relativity and the outright failure to adhere to God’s commandments.
It is the great tragedy of the modern age and a cataclysm with far reaching degenerative consequences.
It is rupturing our families and our Church and it is breaking the lives and hearts of our children.
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