There has been no religious teaching, except the doctrine of eternal punishment which has caused more human misery than the Christian Church’s doctrine on marriage and divorce. It has caused untold mental, emotional, and spiritual suffering. It is also the cause of much physical pain and suffering due to physical abuse. Many women have been and are being physically abused due to having been taught and believing that the only way out of a Christian marriage is death. Many Fundamental and Evangelical Churches preach and teach that the only Biblical basis for divorce and remarriage is adultery while the Roman Catholic Church preaches and teaches that not even adultery breaks the bond of “holy” matrimony! What starts out as holy matrimony often turns out to be unholy matrimony. Holy wedlock becomes unholy deadlock. Religious officials, whether Catholic or Protestant, preach and teach that their doctrine is exactly what Jesus taught. But can such legalism actually be what was taught by our loving Lord who was God in the flesh—the source of all love?
Why would it be impossible to get divorced and remarried under grace while it was easy under the Law of Moses? Jesus, himself, said that he did not come to destroy the Law of Moses but to fulfill it (Mt. 5:17). Such restrictive teaching on divorce would be totally inconsistent with everything else which Jesus said and did, since he was full of grace and truth and practiced it.
Must good Roman Catholics, who get divorced after many years of marriage and having children, also get an annulment from the Catholic Church in order to get remarried without God casting them into hell for all eternity? Readers, what is your opinion? In the name of commonsense, what do you think that Jesus would say about this situation?
As a hospice chaplain, I ministered to those had been reared Catholic, who had been excommunicated 50-70 years ago for marrying Protestants or others outside the Catholic Church. They had not attended mass for many years and were afraid that they would go to hell. I assured them of salvation by grace and they were able to die in peace. Among others who encouraged me to write this book was a Catholic priest. He read a manuscript, in an early stage of the writing of my book, and told me that I needed more recent information on the Catholic Church’s position on divorce and annulment. He sent me the book Where Do You Stand With the Church? The subtitle is The Dilemma of Divorced Catholics and it is authored by Father John T. Catoir, JCD. I was really glad to get this recent information. I explained the loving message to Catholics by Father Catoir in Spiritual Terrorism. This is really good news for divorced and remarried Catholics who have not gotten an annulment from the Roman Catholic Church.
There were, of course, many hospice patients who were Protestants who were terrified of going to hell since they had been married, divorced, and remarried. One elderly patient told me that his mother had warned him and his fiance, since both of them had been divorced on grounds others than adultery, when they were in thieir twenties that if they got married to each other that God would burn them in hell forever. They had gotten married and had attended church regularly and had reared their children in the church. After about 50 years of being happily married, he looked up at me from his deathbed and asked if I thought God would condemn him to eternal hell fire. I shared God’s unconditional love, amazing grace, and infinite mercy with him and he was able to die in peace.
Spiritual Terrorism: Spiritual Abuse from the Womb to the Tomb
Excerpts from Chapter 8, “Until Death Do Us Part”