US Catholic Faith in Real Life

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Thanks for taking our poll. Click here if you're not rerouted to our full survey on domestic violence.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

There is no opinion involved here. If anyone disagrees with this they are unaware of the facts. I know this to be true first hand. My hope is that this is increasingly less true as time goes on. Belief in the sanctity and permanence of marriage should never institutionalize abuse.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

The domestic violence section of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops indicates that the church views men as abusers and women as victims. When pressed, they refer you to help outside the church. I am a man who was in an abusive relationship. My pastor counseled that even if she took medication people like her generally stop taking medication when they feel well. The church counseled ending the marriage rather than try to find a way to help an abusive woman. The church's views on domestic violence need to be updated, but in my experience they do not counsel maintaining an abusive marriage.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

It is quite true that the Church does not counsel to remain in an abusive relationship. I never said they did. The question was not about pastoral counsel -- it was about the "church's teaching". There is no question that the Catholic culture surrounding the Church's teaching on divorce has caused people in an abusive Catholic marriage to feel 'stuck', to feel guilty, and to avoid, or at least delay, separation and divorce - despite the USCCB statement. I am pleased to know of your experience but my experience, too, is first hand. Not everyone has the ability or courage to seek counseling when trapped in an abusive relationship. Not everyone has the benefit of such good counsel. Not everyone can accept that counsel as long as abuse is not grounds for for an immediate, automatic, incontestable annulment. The USCCB statement does not change the ban on remarriage without an annulment and is, therefore, of limited value in the larger picture, of limited value toward truly changing the culture that generations of Catholics have accepted. Counseling civil divorce is not authentic change when, in the eyes of the Church - one would still be married. Certainly that long-held cultural tradition has an affect -- can and does cause undue hesitation in some, at times most certainly to the detriment of health and well-being. As I said before, it is my hope and belief that the fact of this question is lessening over time. You have validated that hope. No single experience can be extrapolated to universality, but the answer to the question posed is still yes. Nothing in the question refers to quantity. I believe in the permanence of marriage - but I also believe exceptions, such as abuse, should be clearly defined, articulated, implemented and universally accepted.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

I think you misunderstand the question. The question is about the church's teaching on divorce, not the church's teaching on marriage. The two are quite distinct. Abandoned or abused spouses can find support within the current teaching of the church - which most do not understand. Accusations of abuse/violence should not be an easy out for people tired of marriage. First things first. The violence needs to be handled as a criminal and/or civil matter, this will protect the victim. Then the matter of the marriage can be addressed - Safety first, then worry about what to do with the marriage. Even on the civil side a protection order can be granted in a matter of hours, a divorce can easily take 2-3 years.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

Teaching on the dissolution of marriage can not be removed from the teaching on marriage - not in the real world. Such survey questions are always subject to interpretation and are typically understood differently by different people. I'm not going to re-make my arguments. I understand and agree that the Church tries to mitigate, absolutely values and tries to protect to protect the safety of the abused. The Church is clearly moving in the right direction regarding the issue of abuse and this was not intended as an argument over Church teaching. None of that changes the fact that, in my own experience, the answer to this question is yes. There is nothing you can say - no teaching you can cite - no scripture you can quote that can change the fact of that experience.

That there are false accusations in the world does not and can not change the right way to deal with the truthful accusations. If an accusation is true, it is no longer an accusation -- it is fact.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

They are two separate issues. The fact - you seem to like that word, fact - that abuse sometimes happens does not invalidate the church's teaching on marriage. The church's teaching on marriage is at odds with the world. Spirit vs flesh. We need the church's teaching on marriage more than people in the world care to admit or acknowledge. There exists a rather large ministry to work with those who are divorced, those who are suffering in their marriage. Most do not know what the teaching of the church is - on divorce or any other subject - and this is not surprising. The world gets in the way all to often.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

I never advocated or implied -- nor do I believe that the Church's teaching on marriage is invalid. I have been in a sacramental marriage for 31 years. I readily acknowledge and praise the Church's efforts to deal with the issue of abuse. I am well aware of the Church's ministry to those suffering in their marriage and laud those efforts, as well.

"In the world God created"? Well - since you seem to know God's intent I can not and will not argue. It is a moot point when, in the world God created, real people sometimes feel trapped and powerless in an abusive marriage -- when, in the world God created, those feelings are sometimes amplified, rightly or wrongly, informed or misinformed, by centuries of Church teaching and tradition that is only recently, much to the Church's credit, being changed for the better. I am not blaming the Church for this phenomenon - I'm just recognizing the fact of its existence... yes "fact". Not sure what you meant by that "fact" comment and will not guess. I am simply using the word correctly.

It seems we are really only disagreeing semantically and not on substance. I think we've both made our points.

I always tell my clients that Protection Orders are only made of paper. They cannot stop fists or bullets. The real answer to "what should one who is being abused do about it" is to LEAVE and go to a safe haven - a shelter or the home of a friend where someone is present all of the time to protect from the abuser.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

Is there more than one story a month in this magazine that is critical and undermining of Catholic faith and the Catholic Church? This month is no exception.

Stories on how Republicans, (who generally are very pro-life, love God, free exercise of religion, country, and personal responsibility), are evil and unions are the only hope of the public. Stories about how gay pride parades and Masses should be acceptable. What is next? Masses of acceptance for pedophiles and serial killers?

Now we have a question that implies a wrong in the church and suggests the faithful think about how wrong the teachings related to divorce and marriage may be.

I have a groundbreaking idea. Stop writing stories each month about women Priests, accepting the sins of homosexuals, slamming church teaching and being so soft on the idea of murdering babies through abortion and I may renew my subscription. Until then, I will continue to warn anyone I know about your magazine. I find it offensive.

You can much more clearly write stories on the same topic by explaining a bit of the church teaching and pointing out what people need to know so they avoid danger and pitfalls. Instead, US Catholic seems to try to correct Church teaching each month and stir up unrest among the faithful where none is needed.

It truly is offensive to proud Catholics who understand the dogma and theology of the Roman Catholic Church.