Monday, December 3, 2012

How Did It All Go Wrong

Could divorce be coming soon to a neighborhood near you?  We might assume that divorce cannot touch families who attend daily Mass together or parents who serve as Eucharistic ministers.  But my friend Kristin just told me story after horrible story about serious, committed Catholic friends of hers whose husbands have left them or whose wives have betrayed them.  What could possibly have happened to tear these families apart?

1.  Porn Addiction:  No doubt about it, watching pornography breaches the promise that spouses make to remain faithful, forsaking all others.  Remember that Jesus cautioned us even against committing adultery in our hearts.  Virtual unfaithfulness can easily lead the way to an actual rupture of the marital bond. The website contains resources for those suffering from this addiction.

2.  Adultery:  Adultery can act as the ultimate escape hatch for someone unwilling to confront and solve the problems in their marriage.  Doing something "unforgiveable" may be easier than just saying "I don't want to try any more."  But the new relationship could have as many problems as the old one.

3. Reversal of Priorities:  We are called to place God as our top priority, and then family, and then work.  When the priorities get reversed, families can suffer.  We can drift so far apart from God or our spouses that it seems impossible to return.  But God always welcomes the prodigal son.

Please add to the list and help us explain how things can go so wrong.


  1. Thanks to Ken from the Catholic Professionals group at LinkedIn, who posted:

    "Well the short answer is sin. It's hard to say more without some specifics, but I've seen some things in Catholic circles that could lead that way. The first is where the parents spend so much time focused on the kids that they no longer know their spouses. Another one I have heard several priests comment on is the families that are gung-ho on living the Church teaching on birth control, but then not so gung-ho on living the parent part. So they end up with 5 kids in 5 years, but then aren't willing to put the sacrifices in necessary to raise them properly. So the kids get unruly, the parents get worn out and depressed until they end up seeking comfort in places they shouldn't."

  2. Thanks to Sean from the Catholic Professionals group at LinkedIn, who posted:

    "Could it be the culture we live in with easy divorce and even easy annulment. We all know people today who are divorced and annulled. What is good the goose is good for the gander. It is frightening so called hard core catholics are having trouble holding down a marriage, what hope is there for the rest us?"

  3. John Z. posts:

    "What could be tearing these families apart?

    If that is the fundamental question we are addressing here then it labeling these marriage failures as simply "sin" seems to minimiize a fundamental understanding of what marriage truly is.

    My father always said that there were three rings of marriage - "An engagement ring, a wedding ring, and offering," Although it was intended as a joke, sometimes humor sheds light on a cloudy subject - in this case, marriage. John Paul the Great once said that "marriage is the greatest human experiment of all time." Two different views underlying that a sucessful marriage involves WORK, sacrifice, and commitment based on communication. It is by all simple terms - a vocation.

    So what did we as a Catholic community to encourage and strenghten marriage? When we have vocation week in our parishes, do we limit the conversation to Priests, Deacons, and Consecrated Religious Life or does your parish include Marriage? Have you ever been at a Mass where successful long term marriages are acknowledged publicly or does your parish only acknoweldge the Sacraments of Inistiation?

    My wife and I have had the blessing of being involved in Marriage Prep for in excess of ten years based on FOCCUS. In that role, we are simply instruments of God's mercy and love preparing the couple to enter their marriage with "their eyes open" for the journey of marriage. What does you parish do to encourage Marriage a year after, five years after, ten years after?

    I have not answered the root question, but we must look in the mirror to determine if we as a Catholic community have encouraged and supported Marriage. In other words, we need to "remove the plank out of eye, before we remove the splinter from another."

    God Bless!"