May 28, 2014

Divorce and the Church

"The tradition of the Church has understood the sixth commandment as encompassing the whole of human sexuality."    
-- The Catholic Catechism, 'Love your neighbor as yourself'

Kryie Eleison
version by Mr. Mister
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Recently in the news the Roman Catholic Pontiff Francis is again making waves on the internet as a result of statements he has made. The latest on the dissolution of marriage front, as divorce attorneys like to call it, is the Pope's statement that a large percentage of Roman Catholic marriages are invalid--yes, invalid!

What does that mean? It means several things and that possibly a lot of people can get a divorce and start over again. But doesn't everyone know that Roman Catholics can't get a divorce, not so simple you say?
 But this topic makes more sense if one understands that in the Catholic view, an invalid marriage is one which from the very beginning, something was lacking that was necessary for this relationship to be called a marriage.
 She, the Church, does not expect the Body of Christ to be taken advantage of, abused or otherwise grossly mistreated in the name of marriage, thus divorce is indeed possible for some reasons, but not for what is viewed as self-centered, petty reasons of the ego: he dresses like a slob, she talks too much, we don't like the same movies or vacation spots, he snores, etc.

So some marriages may indeed be invalid. The general criteria is that a marriage is not valid or is null when the partners do not enter into the marriage of their own free will; that one or both partners refuse to support or abandon the marriage; that one or both partners refuse to freely accept what children might be born of the marriage; that there is insanity, or other physical inability to freely contract the marriage such as age, drug abuse, alcoholism or drunkenness; if one or both partners enter into the marriage without the intent or belief of its permanence, all are examples of cause for a Roman Catholic to divorce within the Church. Any one of these reasons support the claim of marital nullity. You see, they are specific and limited.

So exactly what did Pope Francis say? A Simple Mind is unable to confirm any recent statements via the Vatican web page or any major Catholic news outlet such as Catholic News Service regarding this point. However the Pontiff has convened a meeting scheduled to take place in Rome in October of this year. From that meeting there is likely to be much more about divorce  along with other family life issues.

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