Towards divorced people

The church as Mater ET Magistra

Towards divorced people

What is marriage?


is that relationship between man and woman

in which the independence is equal,

the dependence is mutual,

and the obligation is reciprocal.

---Louis K. Anspacher.

A successful marriage

Requires falling in love many times,

Always with the same person.

-- Mignon Mc. Laughlin.

What does the Church say about Marriage?

It is commonly said that marriages are made in heaven but lived on this earth.

In the Catholic Church Marriage has been held as a Sacred, Permanent and Sacramental union.

X God Himself instituted Marriage and confirmed it by His laws ( Gen 1:27-28 & 2:18-24)

X For the purpose of preventing unsuitable marriages, it can regulate marriages by its own laws. Thus the marriages of Catholics are governed not only by Divine Law but also by Canon Law.

X Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) ordained that Marriage should be celebrated in the Church.

X Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) wrote the first series of encyclicals on marriage: “Arcanum Divinae Sapientiae” on February 10, 1880. In it he provided the foundation for a new appreciation of married love.

Marriage Makers:

Ø Accepting oneself as he / she is.

Ø Nurturing Good Values

  1. Value of Appreciation
  2. Value of Team Work
  3. Value of Encouragement
  4. Value of Adjustment & Tolerance
  5. Value of Persistence & Effort
  6. Value of Discipline
  7. Value of Service
  8. Moral Value.

( The New Leader June 16-30, 2010.)

Marriage Breakers:

According to Civil Law under the Matrimonial causes Act of 1857

a) Wrong choice of partner: (later feeling of having been deceived)

b) Lack of sufficient preparation and guidance. ( Army man)

c) Dominant

d) Emotional deprivation due to neglect by partner.

e) Sexual incompatibility (psycho – sexual problems like homosexuality, lesbein

f) Serious physical and mental illness.

According to the Canon Law:

Diriment Impediments Kwpay; jilfs;

1) Non – age: குறைந்த வயது

i. c. 1083 Man-16 & Woman- 14

ii. Civil (Indian Child Marriage Restraint Act 1978 &1954) Man-21 & Woman- 18.

2) Impotence: பாலுறவு கொள்ளும் ஆற்றலின்மை

(C. 1084 & 1098) When he is unable to act sexual intercourse, based on cheating the marriage becomes invalid)

3) Previous bond: (முந்தைய திருமணம்;)

(C. 1085) If a person is married already and tries to marry once again then it is invalid. Because it is remarriage is invalid

4) Disparity of cult: (திருமுழுக்கு பெறாதவரோடு திருமணம்;)

A marriage between a catholic and an unbaptised person is invalid, unless the bishop dispenses from impediment. (C. 1086)

5) Sacred Orders: (C. 1087) (திருப்பட்டங்கள்)

A priest cannot marry. If a priest attempts a marriage, it is invalid unless he has received a personal dispensation from the pope. In getting ordained, a priest voluntarily gives up the right to marry.

6) Public vows: (C.1192, 1& 1088) (பகிரங்க கற்பு வார்த்தைப்பாடு)

A religious brother or nun who has made a perpetual public vow of celibacy cannot marry unless dispensed from the impediment.

7) Abduction: (C. 1089) (பெண்கடத்தல்;)

If a woman is forcibly abducted, no valid marriage can take place. No dispensation will ever be given from this impediment. According to civil law 366 sections, 10 years of imprisonment is given for this act.

8) Crime: (C..1090) (கொலைக்குற்றம்;)

If a spouse is murdered to pave way for new marriage, then that new marriage is invalid. No dispensation will ever be given from this impediment.

9) Consanguinity: (C.. 1091)

Marriages of very close relatives are invalid unless a dispensation is given. A dispensation would not be given for a brother to marry his sister.

(i) Degrees of the direct line whether ascending or descending.

Ascending à Parents à Children à grand children

Descending à Children à Parents à grand parents

(ii) A brother and sister are related by consanguinity in the second degree

Marriage between brother and sister makes invalid.

(iii) 3rd degree

Uncle and Aunty are related by consanguinity in the Third degree

(தாய்மாமன் அக்கா மகள் அத்தை அண்ணன் மகன;)

(iv) 4th degree

First cousins are related by consanguinity in the Fourth degree.

(மாமன் மகள் அத்தை மகள்;)

Dispensation is given only for very grave reasons. C. 1091


10) Affinity (C. 1092)

A person cannot marry deceased partner’s parent, or child. No dispensation would be given.

11) De facto relatives: (C. 1093).

If couples live together, then neither of them may later marry the mother or daughter, father or son of the other person.

12) Adoption: C.1094)

A person may not marry an adopted son or daughter or brother or sister.

13) Force and fear (C.1103)

If a person is forced into marriage by someone else, even a parent against his or her will by means of serious threats, then the marriage is invalid.

14) Deceit : (C. 1098)

Hiding serious illness, Homosexual.

15) Ignorance:

a) Fidelity: (C. 1096)

Marriage is union between one man and woman with a vow of fidelity. If

a person has the intention of being unfaithful then the marriage is invalid.

b) Permanence:

Marriage is a permanent union. If a person intends only a trial marriage and the clear intention of going his or her own way whenever desired, the marriage is invalid.

16) Insanity:

If a person is so mentally ill as to be quite incapable of the logical thought necessary to consent to marriage, the marriage is invalid.

17) Simulation: (C.1101&1099)

Acting as he loves the partner.

18) Error of person/ Error about t he quality of the person (C.1097)

19) Condition (நிபந்தனைகள்;)

Marriage cannot be validly contracted subject to a condition concerning the future.

Ex. MCA.

canon law

nullity of the marriage

civil law



It is a sacrament between two baptized couples.

It is not a sacrament.


It is a covenant, permanent and sacramental union.

It is an agreement like. ஒப்பந்தம் பரஸ்பர ஒப்பந்தத்தால் பிரிந்துக் கொள்ளலாம்


No divorce at all

Divorce is available


Annulment can be given.

It makes the marrage is invalid. (செல்லா நிலையினதாக)

It makes void

(இல்லா நிலையினதாக)


C.1154 (ஜீவனாம்சம்இல்லை)

(ஜீவனாம்சம் உண்டு)


Degree of Nullity has the effects

It has no the effects.

The Divorced and Remarried:

Pastoral Care: Pope John Paul II has written:

Let these men and women know that the church loves them that she is not far from them and suffers because of their situation. The divorced and remarried are and remain her members because they have received baptism and retain their Christian faith.

Origins 26(1997)

Ø The divorced and remarried are not excluded from the pastoral care of the church.

Ø Pope John Paul II called on the pastors, especially parish priests, “with an open heart to guide and support these men and women, making them understand that even when they have broken the marriage bond they must not despair of the grace of God, who watches over their way”.

Origins 26(1997)

Mk 10: 11-12. 1Cor 7: 10-11. To those now married, however, I give this command( though it is not mine; it is Lord’s); a wife must not separate from her husband. If she does separate, she must either remain single or become reconciled to him again. Similarly, a husband must not divorce his wife”.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that, “divorce is not an injury against the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign”.

In Familiaris Consortio Pope John Paul II says, “the divorced and remarried cannot be admitted to the holy communion because their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the church which is significanc3e and effected by the Eucharist.

In the post synodal Apostolic Exhortation “ Reconciliatio et Paenitentia” (1984) Pope John Paul II said, “ the church can only invite her child who find themselves in these painful situations to however through the sacrament of penance and Eucharist, until such time as they have the required dispositions”.

Page 11

In 1999 the congregation for the doctrine of the faith reaffirmed this teaching. It pointed out that the exclusion of the divorced and remarried from the Eucharist was not “a punishment or discrimination… but rather expresses an objective situation that of itself renders impossible the reception of Holy Communion”.

The situation of the divorced and remarried is often painful, but the Church, faithful to her understanding of her own nature as communion and of the implications of both the Eucharist and the sacrament of matrimony, is unable to compromise on fundamental principles.

The church is also bound to respect the nature of the Eucharist as the “Sacrament of Unity”. The church will accompany and encourage those who find themselves in difficulty and will help them to avail of other sources of grace until such time as they are able to receive Holy Communion.

In this way, the church attempts to be faithful both to its own teaching and to its task of embodying Christ who reaches out to heal the broken – hearted.

Stages of the procedure and jurisdiction:

1. You speak to an advocate whom you trust.

2. He advises you whether they appear to be grounds for a degree of nullity.

3. The advocate presents necessary documents with witnesses to the tribunal.

4. A Judge will be appointed to hear the case.

5. The Tribunal will ask your former husband or wife whether he or she agrees with or opposes a decree of nullity.

6. The evidence of the two parties to the marriage is taken separately.

7. The evidence of the witness nominated by the two parties is taken.

8. All evidence is made available in written form. The advocates and defender of the bond inform the judge whether they are satisfied or wish further evidence.

9. The judge decides whether further evidence is to be admitted.

10. The judge then declares that evidence is complete.

11. The advocate and defender prepare written submissions arguing their respective sides of the case.

12. The Judge gives a decision.

13. This decision is reviewed by a national tribunal of appeal. If necessary, further evidence can be taken at this stage.

13 Pg.

Since a decree of nullity means that a marriage was invalid from the beginning, does not it means that a person would then have no obligations at all towards a former partner and any children of the marriage?

X The union that existed created very real moral and legal obligations towards the partner any children born.

X If a person seeks to remarry after a decree of nullity, the church would insist on the fulfillment of obvious moral and legal obligations and would not allow a new marriage to take place in the Catholic Church unless they were being fulfilled up to that time.

X If there were doubts concerning the future, the church would insist on a solemn written promise in this regard from both parties to the new marriage.

X This element of moral judgment has to enter in base otherwise the Church could become a party to the immoral ignoring of serious obligations by allowing a wedding to be celebrated in the church which those obligations were being ignored.

The Christian Faith:

N.D. 1853

Pastors have the duty to remind these faithful that it does not mean that church does not take the heart the situation of the faithful but she is concerned to accompany them pastorally and invites in the measure.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

No: 2384: Divorce is also a grave offence against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign.

No: 2385. Divorce is immoral because it introduces disorder into the family and into society.

N: 1650: They cannot receive Eucharist as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ and who are committed to living in complete continence.

John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio ( The Christian Family in the Modern World) on 22 November, 1981, No: 84

I earnestly call upon pastors and the whole community of the faithful to help the divorced, and with solicitous care to make sure that they do not consider themselves as separated from the church, for as baptized persons they can, and indeed must, share in her life.

They should be encouraged

X To listen to the word of God

X To attend the sacrifice of the mass

X To persevere in prayer

X To contribute to works of Charity and

X To community efforts for justice

X To bring up their children in the Christian faith

X To cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God’s grace.

Let the Church

V Pray for them

V Encourage them

V And show herself a merciful mother

V And thus sustain them in faith and hope.

With firm confidence she believes that those who have rejected the Lord’s command and still living in this state will be able to obtain from God the grace of conversion and salvation, provided that they have preserved in prayer, penance and charity.

By acting in this way, the Church professes her own fidelity to Christ and to his truth. At the same time she shows motherly concern for these children of hers, especially those who, through no fault of their own, have been abandoned by their legitimate partner.

Albert Pushparaj

I Year Theology

Good Shepherd Seminary, Coimbatore

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