What are the implications of divorce for my family?


Full Question

My wife and I are considering divorce after a long and unloving period of our relationship. She considers us roommates. The reason we haven't divorced is that she couldn't live alone on her salary plus trying to raise our son. She is unwilling to go to counseling. What are the implications of divorce for practicing Catholics? Can we still receive the sacraments? Where can I learn about the annulment process?

Answer

The loser here is your son. I would think long and hard before inflicting a divorce on him. You and your wife chose to marry each other. He didn’t choose to be born. He deserves a home with a mother and a father. I’m not trying to lay a guilt trip on you. These are simply the facts. If it is absolutely impossible for the two of you to remain together, then the Church allows civil divorce for the equitable division of goods that have been held in common. I know of an instance where the child remained in the home and the parents would alternate every other week living there so that the child wouldn’t be shuttled here and there for the rest of his childhood. I commend the parents for obviously being more concerned about him than about themselves. If you do separate you may both receive the sacraments so long as you are in the state of grace. But you are still married, and dating other people is out of the question unless and until you are able to have the marriage annulled. This book will give you all that you need to know about annulments: Annulments and the Catholic Church by Edward Peters, available on shop.catholic.com or by phone: 888 291 8000.


Fr. Vincent Serpa O.P.