Monday, January 29, 2007
Get Out of Jail "Free"
The Holy Father has spoken on the scandal of Catholics who divorce their wives or husbands and then receive annulments for the flimsiest of reasons.
My first response is, "Well it's about time." and my second is that until annulments are refused and Catholics do not expect a "Get out of my marriage" free card and permission to attempt another "marriage" no one will pay attention to the Pope's exhortation.
And beyond that the best we can do is pray for strong Catholic marriages or even weak but permanent Catholic marriages. A friend who was instrumental in bringing the Latin Mass to a large North East city once confided in me that he was considering divorce. He and his wife had "grown apart". She didn't attend the Latin Mass. I rebuked him very strongly and said that that was no excuse. His wife was a good woman. She was the mother of his children and that he would be setting a terrible example for us "younger" Catholic families. I offered him no sympathy and hope that he took what I said to heart.
The other important response is to value and esteem the first, sacramental marriage. Forget about "keeping the peace" and winning popularity contests. If an acquaintance or family member gets the brilliant idea of trading in their spouse for someone new you do not have to recognize it. You can support the real family- the children and the spouse. You don't have to go along to get along. You can support Catholic marriage. You must.
It is sobering to read the books on marriage written in the 40s and 50s about how much children of divorce suffer. These books also explain how delinquency in children is caused by divorce. You will hear not a peep about such things now. Delinquency is inevitable. Divorce unavoidable. The future of marriage and family life dire.