Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Patron Saint for Victims of Spousal Abandonment?

As per Dr. Hilary Towers,
  • "There is abundant research to affirm the dire consequences of divorce for children: much higher likelihoods of poverty, teen motherhood, school expulsion, conduct disorders, physical abuse, incarceration, cohabitation, divorce, and even suicide....As Catholics who believe in the sanctity and permanence of the marriage vow, we can understand why things go drastically wrong when that vow is breached. As rational human beings we recognize that when marriage – the foundation of civilized, lawful society – is undervalued on a wide scale, the long-term repercussions will be catastrophic. What we may not know is that most divorces are situations in which one person wants to end the marriage while the other is fighting to save it....

  • "what is our obligation as Catholics who uphold the sanctity of lifelong marriage? We must fight our tendency to look the other way in the name of discretion or a false sense of charity....As Catholics, we have moral obligations when we know someone who has abandoned his or her family in order to seek a divorce. We have a duty to stand in solidarity with the spouse who has been left behind, and with any children who might be involved....

  • "The Church teaches that marriages are comprised of two flawed individuals whose job is to love one another unconditionally: 'Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.' (I Cor. 13: 5-7)....

  • "The message to the abandoner must be this: 'What you have done is contrary to God’s plan for you and your family. We are praying you will return home and seek the counseling needed to heal your marriage. Once you decide to return to your family, you will have our full support. Until then, please do not expect us to condone your action by pretending it hasn’t happened'....

  • "We need a renewed effort on the part of bishops and priests to recognize that spousal abandonment is a crisis in our Church. Church leaders need to acknowledge this — and they need to encourage new, more effective responses in our parishes and chanceries....In a world that would have us believe that divorce is just an opportunity for a new start, the Church’s message must be loud and clear: We will hold fast to our ancient teachings on marriage – for the sake of our souls, our families, and our civilization."

Perhaps the most famous spousal abandonment took place nearly 500 years ago. The world was torn apart by the selfishishness of an unchaste king, who tried to coerce the Church into granting him an invalid annulment. The king's sin changed the course of history, as he outrageously tried to set himself up as head of the church. In that place and time, Bishop John Fisher and Sir Thomas More courageously defended Truth and are now recognized as saints. As per an article in Our Sunday Visitor ("Catherine's Cause: Steps to Canonizing a Saint," 7/24/11), less has been said about the courageous, virtuous woman, who was the original victimized by that spousal abandonment.

As per Gregory Nassif St. John,

  • "Katharine’s defense of the sacrament of marriage is perhaps her tie and relevance to the modern world. In an age where the sanctity of marriage is all but disregarded, she stands – 475 years later – as the model defender of the sacrament of marriage. She died in her defense of it....her faith , her belief in God, His Church and the Sacrament of Marriage were what truly defined her life....From everything history tells us we know that Katharine of Aragon lived a model life of piety, patience and faith. She proved herself a worthy daughter of the Church. Her example of faith and perseverance should no longer be forgotten.... surely she has earned recognition by the Church – some title that would honor her faith and her defense of the sacrament of marriage."

Gregory Nassif St. John is inviting people to add their names to a petition: "I do believe that if a significant number of people sign this petition, the Bishop of East Anglia will be compelled to take some form of action towards the process. Many causes are a result of a groundswell of support based on faith in a holy person’s life. I hope you will join me in helping place Queen Katharine of Aragon – Good Queen Katharine – among the Blessed."

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