Q. 1. For the past couple years, my husband and I have been separated. This week, my greatest fear came to past. My husband informed me that he is proceeding with a legal divorce. What am I to do? How is this going to affect my life?
A. 1. “I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “because the man who divorces his wife covers his garment with violence.” [Malachi 2:16] "Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." [Matthew 19:6] God has spoken!
Every year, thousands of Catholics are victimized by divorce. One of the spouses breaks the Sacred Oath that was sworn before God in the Church during the Sacramental Marriage. How does one react to the chain of events that is about to take place?
There are many issues involved here. A few of them shall be covered.
1) The individual who implements the divorce, that person is guilty of a great sin before God. The other party to the marriage is a victim.
2) When the victim of the divorce will be required by law to appear before a Judge, that person must do so. All respect must be shown towards the legal authorities. At the same time, the person is not required to sign any documents, legal or not, that supports the process of a divorce. By doing so, the victim now becomes guilty by "agreement" of the sin of the spouse who initiated the divorce against the Divine Will of God.
3) Considering that the Church does not recognize a legal divorce as being equal to a Marriage Annulment, both parties to the marriage are still considered married in the eyes of the Church, and as such, they must abstain from any and all sexual relationships.
4) After the required waiting period, if the victim wishes to do so, that person should proceed with an application to annul the Sacramental marriage. Please consult your parish priest for information related to this matter.
5) Throughout the entire process, beginning with the moment when the legal papers are served, as a Catholic, the victim of the divorce is expected to behave in Christlikeness. God is love. As true children of God, we are called to display love. In the end, that love will save us!
6) On a daily basis, the victim of the severed marriage should pray for the spouse who has fallen from the grace of God.