A Special Reflection from Deacon Jim Krupka

I am a vigorous defender of marriage.  But I also understand that there are times when divorce is the right answer. Suppose one spouse is repeatedly unfaithful or abusive with no serious move to rehabilitate. That spouse is showing that they may never have been committed to the marriage. Often, the other spouse has little recourse but to seek civil divorce. I understand this reality and share the Church’s compassion for anyone suffering from divorce. It is essential to know that a divorced man or woman is very welcome in the Catholic Church and its sacraments. A divorced person who has not remarried still lives with fidelity to that first marriage.  Even though it has been dissolved in a civil sense, you are in full communion with the Catholic Church!

Divorce in itself is a tragedy. The moral problem happens when a divorced person remarries and enters a sexual union with another. In the eyes of the Church, the prior marriage exists. I say “in the eyes of the Church” because we believe Jesus meant what he said: “what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Matt 19:6). When a divorced person comes to the Church wanting a new marriage, the starting point is to respect the former marriage. Through the annulment process, evidence may show that a real marriage never happened. An annulment is not “Catholic Divorce.” It is an honest look at what was or was not present.

The annulment petition process provides a thorough examination of the marriage that may find that one party or both did not make a covenant, or sacramental commitment, to the marriage. The decision rests on the fact that, in many ways, what one or possibly both promised on their wedding day turned out to be a lie. In such cases, the Church may issue a decree of annulment that says the persons in the marriage were never married in a sacramental sense. This opens the door to the glorious opportunity to form a real marriage for the first time. 

If you are divorced, remarried or not, talk to a priest or me. We are here to help you begin a path toward healing and new life.