DIVORCE: THREE QUESTIONS, THREE ANSWERS
1) How do you answer spouses who claim they just want “to be happy” that’s why they are seeking a divorce?
Instituting divorce will, in the long run, cause more, not fewer, unhappy couples. It will doom many already-unhappy couples to even greater unhappiness. It will create a new temptation for marriages that are experiencing problems, but are not marked by abuse and incapacity. It will also represent an opportunity for men and women who do not have the maturity to be married, to more easily jump from one marriage to another, wreaking havoc as they go. We have a saying that goes, “two wrongs do not make a right”. Divorce, by extending false hope to some troubled marriages, will end up harming the entire institution of the family. Children too will suffer, for from divorce will inevitably come the phenomenon of fatherless families and children who are subjected to the instability of multiply family realignments.
2) What will be a major effect of divorce on Philippine society?
If passed and not repealed quickly, the effects of the divorce law will be far-reaching and, humanly-speaking, irrevocable. We only have to look at Western societies, especially the USA, to behold the effects of normalizing divorce. Like in other cultures, Filipinos tend to think that if it is legal then it is already morally acceptable. Once divorce becomes legal I predict that it will be seen as normal very quickly. Fatherlessness, the break-down of the family structure, the feminization of poverty and the reduction of relationships to sex: these effects have been well-documented in the USA. Given how much our culture mimics that of the US these problems – which are already present in our country – will significantly worsen.
A culture that is focused on entertainment and on satisfying the emotions has given us a situation where many couples jump into marriages with little real thought given to the meaning of the marriage vows. Right now, our system, with all its imperfections, makes it clear to people that there is no easy way out for a marriage. Couples entering into it know that they are embracing a daunting commitment. Once marriage acquires the backdoor exit of divorce, more and more immature and unready couples will tie the knot, knowing that if they “make a mistake” they can back out.
3) What is the prolife movement planning to do about the divorce bill?
The pro-life movement will be relentless in pushing back against this bill. During the annual meeting of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life from February 21 to 24 this year, it was agreed that all family and life ministries and organizations in the country will strive to come out with their own statements against the divorce bill. Because divorce pertains to marriage, it is we laymen who must take the lead in speaking out. Bishops and priests will also speak out because it is their duty to give moral guidance to our people, to teach truth and to condemn error. However, it is we laymen who must take the lead in arguing against divorce and in favor of more pro-family solutions to the existing problems with marriages. We are already seeing on social media that many Catholic laymen are coming out against divorce. On Facebook and Twitter we can see many posts with the hashtag #NotoDivorce.