Jesus clearly teaches that marriage is intended to be for life. There is to be no divorce. Yet any church today is likely to include members who are divorced as well as those who know someone who has suffered the pain of divorce.
Modern society tends to seek instant gratification, instant pleasure and so commitment, marriage and family tend to be ignored, misunderstood or attacked leaving behind single parent families, broken spouses and hurting children.
Unfortunately, some marriages can run into unforeseen trouble and difficulties. Sometimes what starts out as a seemingly idyllic relationship can run aground due to problems with addiction, emotional problems, mental or physical abuse or a myriad of other reasons. In these circumstances the Church will consider if a truly Sacramental marriage took place in the first place, even though the parties involved were married in Church. If not, a decree of nullity (an annulment) will be issued and healing can begin.
The Church is aware of the hurt and harm caused by divorce. As Jesus was always compassionate so too is the Church as it lovingly and tenderly reaches out to help and comfort all those affected by divorce and constantly seeks ways to restore them to full participation in the Church and its Sacraments.
Jesus was well aware of the weakness of our human nature. He became one of us and was crucified that our sins could be forgiven and so that his love and grace, freely given, would always accompany us on our journey to his Kingdom.
Jesus knows that all parties involved in a divorce suffer. Perhaps that why he called the little children to him and put his arms around them. He wants us to know that we too are always invited to share in and be encouraged by his loving embrace.
- Fr. Stephen Haslach, C.P.