Catholic Marriage and Divorce

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Catholic belief is one of the oldest religions in the world. In the initial phases, marriage was regarded as a necessity for survival under religious and social circumstances, in this religion. Later, the concept of celibacy with unmarried life was introduced. Such individuals were regarded as the noble disciples of Jesus. The views towards the legalization and acceptance of marriage kept changing from time to time.

The catholic marriage and divorce concepts are very strict for the followers. From the very beginning, the Church considered divorce as an illegal and unacceptable consequence. Therefore, the Church did not accept the concept of divorce ever. If the partners wish to get separated, they were told to have an annulment, that is, to obtain a legal statement that the marriage is void.

Also, If divorced Catholics intend to marry again, the only route that is permitted by the Church is annulment. As a matter of fact, the singular body who can issue an annulment is the Catholic Church. Such an annulment is also called as a "decree of nullity".

Catholic Divorce

  • The Old Testament permits divorce.
  • During the era of Jesus Christ, divorce was disallowed.
  • The Catholic Church believes that marriage is a sacrament and it cannot be dissolved. A valid marriage must be continued till one of the partner dies. After this incident, the surviving partner is permitted to remarry.
  • The Catholic Church does not issue divorce decrees. Moreover, it does not acknowledge divorces that have been granted by other institutions or religions.
  • The Catholic Church is empowered to annul a marriage when there is enough evidence that the marriage was based on fraud. Such grounds are as follows -
    • Not having sufficient information regarding the individual. For example, if the individual lied or was a convicted rapist or was abusive.

    If the sexual act between the marriage partners was not complete, then the Church had the right to annul the marriage.
  • Those Catholics who seek divorce and remarry are permitted to worship in the Church. However, they cannot be given the Holy Eucharist.
  • The seventh and tenth commandments of Moses are related to Catholic divorce. The 7th states that "Thou shalt not commit adultery". The 10th is "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife."

    In the past, if an individual had lustful thoughts for a married person, or even glanced lustfully at a married person, it was regarded as adultery. Presently, only when a partner has been unfaithful, it is said that this partner has committed infidelity.

Catholic Marriage

Catholic Marriage has been defined as an agreement as per which a male and a female accede to a partnership for their entire life. This agreement must have the following characteristics -

  • The 2 partners must be a man and a woman
  • These partners must be free to marry
  • The partners must willingly and knowingly enter into a valid marriage agreement
  • These individuals must validly observe the performance of the contract

Catholic Canon Law controls the celebration of marriage in canons 1055-1065. A Catholic marriage cannot take place if even one of the below mentioned Impediments exist. However, considering some of these, a dispensation is possible.

  • Abduction
  • Non age (minimum 16 for males and 14 for females)
  • Conjugicide or Crimen: While the marital state exists, one of the partners conspires to marry upon the demise of the spouse.
  • Disparity of cult: One of the parties is not baptized
  • Perpetual vows of chastity in a religious institute
  • Holy Orders
  • Prior bond
  • Affinity in a direct line (i.e. relation by marriage like brother in law)
  • Consanguinity to the 4th collateral line, legal adoption to the 2nd collateral line.
  • Antecedent and perpetual impotence

This is basic view of catholic concept of marriage and divorce. Many people are yet not clear of the acceptance of divorced individuals in the catholic culture. Following are the facts regarding the provisions in the catholic law about the same -

  • The catholic religion not only accepts divorce, but also helps the person revive, who is undergone a break up.
  • If a person has received the annulment through catholic method, he or she is eligible for receiving the sacraments. But, the annulment should be on valid sacramental grounds.
  • A marriage is considered as sacramental bond. Thus, it should be retained with maximum level of efforts. But, a divorce can be obtained only by the nullification of a marriage.

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