Friday, August 4, 2017

Divorce

"Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery." Luke 16:18

Considering the sheer number of couples in the country who have filed, I'm sure you've come across this at some point in your life.  Maybe it's family member, a friend, or a co-worker. They saddle themselves up to you and say "I'm getting a divorce." It's awkward. What exactly do you say to that?

I told my friend a week ago. "Oh, I'm sorry." and her response was "Don't be." Well, I really can't be overjoyed. The friend in question is a non-Catholic married to a Catholic who procured a special dispensation for the marriage.  So it's a valid one. I don't know what his side of the story is, but she was miserable. There was no affair, no abuse, no serious reason to avoid seeking help. But they didn't work on it and fell apart as far as I can tell. So no I can't feel anything but sorry.  It's sad.

In that same vein, I ran into an awkward situation in which a divorcee is getting remarried. He's a non-Catholic Christian and like a deer in the headlights I had no idea how to react. My thoughts were "he's divorced. Should I be celebrating this?" Instead he flashed a ring looking for some sort of approval or something and all I could muster up was "Oh, okay." and nod my head. If he were Catholic it would be slam dunk, no annulment therefore can't remarried. I'm sure many of you have run into those moments yourselves. In his case, he went through a pseudo-annulment process for his particular denomination, but does this make his marriage invalid? I can't tell you.

I actually sent a direct message to an online priest who I trust his opinion and asked for help. What if they ask me to the wedding?  What do I do? His advice was to treat it as a case of annulment and since the couple in question isn't Catholic, this isn't a strong case of no-annulment=still married.  I'll probably go a step further and see if I can speak to one of my parish priests about the matter. I have a feeling that he will tell me the same thing.  This isn't a case of a "gay wedding" invite.  This isn't a case of a "no-annulment" Catholic. So we have to weigh it differently.

I wish life was less messy and that these things were clearer. I wish black was black and white was white. I wish that when people made vows they took them seriously. I wish I didn't have to go seeking spiritual advice for what to do about situations that others place me in rather than seeking spiritual advice for more personal decisions.  But here we are. Life is messy and I'm sure Jesus understands. 

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