One of the comments made by orthodox Catholics is the decline of marriage and the rise of divorce. In America, more than half of all marriages end in divorce. The number of annulments being granted in the United States has ballooned since the end of Vatican II. With “no fault” divorces, marriage has become an institution that is trivial and unimportant. It is no longer a Sacrament blessed by God, but a marriage contract given by the government that can be broken for any reason whatsoever.
The rise of divorce in this country has as much to do with religion as anything else. When God instituted marriage, it was not meant to be something that people entered into for three, thirteen, or thirty years and then threw away. Marriage was and still is a commitment that is made for life. When a marriage ceremony is performed in a church in front of God it signifies a bond that cannot be broken.
It is important to realize that when two persons marry, there is also a Third Person there. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote an excellent book many years ago called Three to Get Married. In it, Archbishop Sheen describes the role of God in marriage and why it is so important that He have a place in both the marriage and the family.
In our secular society, God does not have a place in the home. His place, many people believe, is in the churches and convents. Yet God is the king of all creation and every creature living on this earth. All of us are commanded to obey Him because it is His right to rule over us. Therefore, God must be the center of our homes and families.
I am not talking here about putting Bibles in every nook and cranny of the house. Nor am I talking about having a large and gaudy statue of Sacred Heart on your front lawn. Rather, it is important for us to constantly remember that God is in charge. In marriage, the couple must always remember that God was the one who joined them together in matrimony and that it is His will that rules over both partners.
Divorce, it seems to me, is an easy way out of complicated problems. Rather than work through their issues, many couples find that it is easier for them to divorce rather than discuss them. The upheaval that this causes to families is immeasurable. On A&E, for example, there is a series called Intervention. If one closely follows the lives of some of the participants in these documentaries, one will find that divorce was one reason why some turned to drug and alcohol abuse. Indeed, divorce results in broken homes and broken families that have many wounds that cannot be healed.
I am not saying in this article that divorce is bad or that it shouldn’t be done at all. I know people for whom divorce was the only way out from abusive partners and others who did not feel safe with their spouses. In those situations, divorce was a God-send and a blessing. Yet those cases do not necessarily form the majority. Indeed, most divorces happen for no reason at all or, in the case of celebrities, “irreconcilable differences.”
The homosexual marriage movement that has been gaining more and more steam in recent years seems to be capitalizing on the idea of marriage as a contract before the government. A civil union is a civil union that is recognized by the state. However, marriage is something completely different. A marriage is a Sacrament as I have said before and no priest or minister in his right mind should give the same treatment to homosexuals as he would to heterosexuals because God cannot bless an abomination.
Whether we like it or not, marriage is something that is entered into for life. No matter how hard the going gets, couples have to find a way to stay together. Successful marriages last because God is there in the midst of them working together with the couple. If only more people realized this, then we wouldn’t be in the fine mess that we are in today.
Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!
Archangel Raphael, pray for us!