This little Twitter exchange today between myself and Hilary White prompted me to start writing some more about the problem of divorce, specifically as it affects Catholics.
Divorce has horrified me all my life, along with a few other things, such as contraception, and physical immodesty in women. When I was very young indeed – about 5 – I first learned that parents could voluntarily stop having more babies. I didn’t know how or why, but such a thing was horrifying to me. All of these things are an attack upon motherhood, and ever since I could remember (and my memory goes back to two years of age) I wanted to be a mother.
I won’t be all confessional here (as in confessing my sins) but I was neither a deeply religious child, nor always as pure of heart as I was in my earliest childhood. But even at my worst, the old hatred of immodesty, contraception, and divorce remained. Inserted here now is the obligatory sentence about not hating the *people* who do these things. Any comments received that imply I hate people etc will never see the light of day in my comment section. I am highly dictatorial on my blog.
Holy Mother Church teaches that marriage cannot be dissolved. This is true, even though it now seems that “the Church”, via Pope Francis and others, are obviously trying to assault all the Church’s own teachings all at once. That’s another story, but in brief, we must remember that Christ is the Head of His Church, and His Mother, and the Angels and Saints are her holy members. The cretinous men currently running the institutional Church on earth can’t alter anything officially, but they can do a lot of damage to souls – at which they are very skilled.
I’m happy to report that my own childhood was ridiculously happy, and my elders were basically sensible, competent, and sane people, but even they were not immune from the vicious heresies of our time, and which caused some of them grief in their middle age onward.
My elders, born between the years 1907 and 1947, had pretty mushy views on divorce. This was due to two main reasons. One of my elders was a non-practicing Anglican, so he was not formed by the Catholic view of Sacramental Marriage anyhow, but my Catholic elders had lived in a society which had had legal divorce since about the mid nineteenth century. Divorces were still not common, however. No-fault divorce did not arrive in Australia until 1975, after which this disgusting condition – like a hideous disease – spread more virulently. This fairly putrid article gives you a bit of an overview of divorce in Australian law.
It is always the hard cases that push the boundaries. (That’s why I’m sick of them). First, your extended family knows nobody with a divorce, and the next thing you know it’s one here and one there. In the end, two of my Nan’s eight siblings were divorced, and prior to that, one of my Anglican ancestors was sued for divorce after his second marriage fell apart. His first wife had died quite young – probably in childbirth. None of these divorcees ever “remarried.”
The younger generation of elders – my parents’ generation (born between 1938 and 1947) had divorces all over the place and often “remarriages” or shack ups. One of these occurred in the early 70s, the others in the late 80s. Broadening out into wider society: at this time there was a veritable explosion of divorces as the kids finished school and the no-fault time bomb went off. Speaking of the kids – what were we doing? Wearing pastel and losing our virginity, mostly. Our generation’s kids are mostly unbaptised, and many of us never bothered to marry at all. (I am one of the few to buck the trend). Some of our generation’s kids are IVF. These kids don’t even know if they’re boys or girls and will no doubt kill themselves at a greater rate than ever before. You get the idea.
Incidentally, one of the demons responsible for these divorces was almost certainly the “noonday devil” (Psalm 90:6, Douay-Rheims) which Fr Ripperger says is the demon of mid-life crisis.
I cannot think of a single situation which requires a legal divorce. Ironically, unlike marriage, divorce really IS “just a piece of paper.” It’s quite grimly funny, if you think about it.
But now where are we? Well, as I said in my tweet, things are so bad that even among traditional Catholics, people can be very cavalier about divorce. I know veil-wearing, homeschooling, Latin Mass-going-women, who chat amiably about annulments because some marriage or other is going through a rough patch, or someone was abandoned etc. I don’t want to pick on trads, because it’s getting really old (and I am a trad), but this situation I find genuinely alarming. I don’t have any statistics on this, however.
My argument is that if divorce is permitted in law at all, that this will erode the Faith of Catholics regarding the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and that this is my best argument in favour of a Catholic Confessional State, and against the Secular State, which I consider to be an Abomination.
There are other problems too – such as Catholics marrying outside the Church. This also creates many family problems. The only immediate antidote to this is for parents to lay down the law with their children early on e.g. “If you marry outside the Church, I am not coming to the wedding and will consider your relationship to be mere concubinage.” I have already informed my children of this, and I will back it up with action, because that’s one important way to stop the rot: we need to Make Catholics Great Again.
Every Catholic MUST wrestle with this issue. You’ll all get a dodgy “wedding” invitation at some point. Are you going to contend with your spouse about not going, and not permitting your children to go? Are you going to withstand your engaged daughter’s manipulative hysterics about “ruining” her “wedding” when you tell her you won’t attend? Are you prepared to say to your children, siblings, parents and other wayward Catholic family members “Look! We were all brought up Catholic and I’m trying to be a good Catholic. WHY ARE YOU MAKING *MY* LIFE SO DIFFICULT?” Because that’s what is happening. In families throughout the entire Civilisation Formerly Known As Christendom, family members who are more hedonistic/selfish than their other family members are driving that wedge further and further towards insanity. All of us will have to find a hill to die on. And when you do stand up to these demonically oppressed people (people you love) they will be vicious. As I discovered, you have to learn not to care about their hysteria.
I think I will write a series about this topic, if it’s of interest.