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MARRIAGE and DIVORCE




DIVORCE IS FORBIDDEN BY THE LAW OF GOD

We live in an age where people go to preachers who preach doctrines that will tickle their ears, specially, those teaching that marriages which are indissoluble can be annulled. Of course, they cite bases which are man made, and therefore, unacceptable to God. Such people, both preachers and victims are deplorable in the sight of God. And so through the fault of these ignorant preachers, and also of the listener who seek such preachers, many live in adultery.

Unlike in the Old Testament where divorce is allowed for any reason that would endanger, for instance, the life of the wife, in the New Testament separation is allowed only if a spouse commits fornication or adultery but without the possibility of annulment and of remarrying at all. All the present bases for annulment are unacceptable to God.

Let us listen to the voice of Holy Tradition, a source of Christian Revelation aside from Scriptures with regard to divorce (or separation) for any other reason. Divorce is against the law of God and all the annulment cases today are nothing else than divorces and not annulment or separation as they claim. Holy Tradition shows that everything practiced in present day divorce or separation or annulment is against the teachings of Christ in the New Testament.

St. Ambrose states: Do not divorce your wife, lest by doing so, you deny God, the author of your union. Even if her behavior puts you off, you ought the more to tolerate and gently correct it. Hear what the Lord has said: "Everyone who divorces his wife. . . makes her an adulteress" (Matt 5:32).

The desire to sin can creep up unawares on the woman who cannot remarry because her husband is still alive. But it is the husband, as origin of the fault, who is to blame.

Where can the pregnant wife go when she is sent away with her little ones? Where can the old woman go with tottering footsteps when she is driven out? If you send away your wife and hold on to the children you are abusing charity and insulting piety. On the other hand, you are being cruel if you drive away your children along with their mother through no fault of theirs, since children need to be looked after by their father if their mother has gone wrong.

How dangerous it can be if you bring vulnerable youth face to face with wrongdoing. How wicked it is to reduce to destitution in her old age that woman whom you exploited when young.

Does the general dismiss his veteran soldier, dishonored and without pay and sacked from his post? Does the farmer drive away from his fields his farmhand exhausted by work? Is it, therefore, acceptable to do to an equal, your wife, what you are not even allowed to do to your subordinates?

You think you have a right to leave your wife because today it is not seen as a crime. You think you can do it because the law of man allows it. Well, it is forbidden by the law of God. Fear God, you who obey human authority. Listen to the law of God who is obeyed even by those who make our laws. "What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matt 19:6)

The indissolubility of marriage is not just a heavenly teaching to be followed but a work of God to be performed. Do you want your children to be looked after by a stepfather while you are still alive? Do you want them to be under the control of a stepmother while the real mother is still living?

Suppose you divorce her and she does not marry again. Surely as her husband you would have been displeased by the idea of her being loyal to an adulterer. Suppose she does marry again. The crime she is forced to commit is your responsibility, and what you think of as a marriage is in fact an adulterous liaison. What does it matter whether you openly admit your crime of adultery or conceal it by the appearance of a new marriage, except that to conceal it is worse because it involves deception.

Perhaps you might say, "Moses said that we could divorce our wives if we give them a writ of dismissal" (Deut 24:1). Anyone who says this is simply following Judaism, not Christianity. Christ said that Moses allowed this because of the hardness of their heart, but this was not so from the beginning. What was it from the beginning? "A man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh" (Gen 2:24). That means that the man who divorces his wife is cutting his own flesh in two and splitting his body.

St. Ambrose, Commentary on Luke, 8, 4-8

 

 

 

 

(10-21-04)

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