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Divorce as a grave injustice

Q. I read your recent answer concerning divorced Catholics and their standing in the church. You and others fail to remind Catholics that the Catechism (No. 2384-85) calls divorce a grave injustice to the abandoned spouse and the children and also introduces disorder into society.

 

How can you (and, it seems, most spokesmen) say that someone who inflicted this can still receive Communion? In order to be forgiven in the sacrament of confession, don't people need to repair the damage they have done? Isn't the abandonment of sound Christian moral teaching the reason the church is in the mess it is right now?

 

How many spouses who have abandoned their marriages would return to their families (and maybe wouldn't have left in the first place) if the church clearly taught — as Christ did 2,000 years ago when speaking to the Pharisees — "What God has joined, no man may sever." (Suburban Cleveland)

 

A. In the column to which the reader refers, I was asked whether a divorced person, never remarried, may serve as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion in the Catholic Church. I responded that he or she can — and is encouraged to — participate in all aspects of parish life, including as a minister of holy Communion.

 

I mentioned that sometimes it can happen that a person winds up in a divorce through "little or no fault of their own." I stand by that answer because it is the solid and consistent teaching of the church.

 

But I run the reader's question because it makes the valid point that divorce can bring considerable pain to families and should be avoided, using every opportunity for counseling, if at all possible.

 

Truly, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church points out, children can be "traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them" (No. 2385). The view of the Catholic Church on the permanence of marriage, besides having been taught by Christ, represents wise social policy.

Questions may be sent to Father Kenneth Doyle at askfatherdoyle@gmail.com and 30 Columbia Circle Dr., Albany, New York 12203.

 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019