Nope, I don't advocate for abuse
The good Lord knows I did not set out to become an anti-divorce activist (a term which should accurately describe all Catholics, by the way). As I have said many times, divorce is not in my experience and it was not on my radar screen before two years ago, when, on a whim, I compiled Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak. Like virtually every other American Catholic today, I had just assumed divorce was a part of life—a sadly common thing to which we are all resigned. My response to the whole process was to feel bad about it (mostly for the suffering friend who wanted out) and to help facilitate the “moving on” process (“I’m sure you can get an annulment”), assuming that the children involved would adapt to their new normal.
However, once I did open the Pandora’s Box that is divorce, I was slammed with a world of pain and suffering that, for purely selfish reasons of blissful obliviousness, I wish I had not investigated. To say that I occasionally lose sleep over the continual, heartbreaking stories of the children of divorce and the abandoned spouses is an understatement. I’m not complaining about that, because I needed to be made uncomfortable, but I’m letting you know that my fight against divorce, and all forces that facilitate it, is here to stay.
But for this post, I want to address one specific charge against me, just to get it on the record.
In my fight against the evil of divorce, I have been accused, time and again, of advising spouses in real danger to stay in the home ...and be beaten and killed, I guess? Well, that’s the implication. “She doesn’t care about women being abused! She doesn’t care if they are in danger! She protects abusers!”
Well, I don’t know how many dozens of times I can say the same thing the Church says, but I’ll say it again: If there is danger, a spouse may leave the home. Of course. That’s a no-brainer, and it’s oft-repeated by me. The Church permits physical separation in those cases, and I’ve repeated it time and again for almost two years now.
Even Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute took notice of how often this unfounded accusation occurs and recently wrote a piece about it.
Here’s the truth: When I write on the specific subject of divorce and separation of spouses, I am careful to quote and link official Church sources.
So here we go. Read carefully, and you’ll know my position—which is not “my” position at all, but a reiteration of Christ’s teaching:
^^ That one I had vetted by a female tribunal judge.
^^ That one includes the thoughts of a now-adult child of an abusive marriage, one who is tired of her type of situation being used to silence the general discussion of the harms of divorce to children.
And here are some basic teachings of Christ and His Church about divorce—teachings that I had nothing to do with ordaining or implementing:
A huge part of this new blogging platform of mine is to drive home an understanding that we must make distinctions, we must be able to discern, and we must return to critical thinking and use of our reason.
To that end, please carefully note what people do or don’t say in defense of their positions. For example, when challenging my anti-divorce work for my supposed “protection of abusers,” my critics—who are fellow Catholics—do not speak out against the sin of divorce (in fact, it’s never referred to as a sin at all), nor do they voice outrage or profound concern for the millions of children devastated by divorce, a devastation that doesn’t just “go away” as they grow through the decades (check the social science, which backs up Catholic teaching on that point). The only times I’ve heard a “we don’t like divorce” sentiment from them, it’s quickly followed (and overshadowed) by a “…but we need it because…” or “…but God would never want…” or even “…but really there is not too much divorce, just too many bad marriages and not enough annulments.” No official Church teaching on divorce and separation cited.
We will discuss all of that in time, for sure. Stay tuned.
But in the meantime, let me be clear:
I have never advocated that women (or men for that matter!) stay in a dangerous home. I have said the opposite, too many times to count. And I say no more and no less than Christ and His Church teach on this very issue. If you have a problem with what I say, then your problem is with your Creator, not me. And if you want to show where I am wrong in what I say on divorce, please use Church teaching specifically on the subject of divorce (Christ’s words, Scripture, the Catechism, canon law) to challenge me, not vagueries, generalities, insults, or appeals to emotion.
Of course, this post and any disclaimer, as always, will not satisfy my opponents. So be it. But I don’t want people of good will to be confused, and it’s only for people of good will that I write.
So much more to come on the revamped site! So glad you are aboard!
And as always, just like in the Bubble, respectful conversation welcomed in the comment section. :)