Attention! You are Now Entering the Second Phase of History

First Phase: No Fault Divorce and Normalization of Single Motherhood.  What could it hurt?

Second Phase: Far-Reaching and Disastrous Consequences!  How were we supposed to know?

  • carlamariee

    My decision to leave my husband had nothing to do with the lifestyle provided. It was the abuse and violence. Abuse is more widespread that most readers here know, and the Catholic Church has been complicit, patting women on the head and sending them back to a brutal existence. Cathloic teaching on divorce has left many women believing that they have to edure abuse as long as their husband lives. Thank God women now have the resources to get out, and children don’t have to grow up thinking that normal behavior includes dehumanizing others. Father Daum is one of a few that get it, the USSCB has issued a statement in recent years, but in the minds of most pastors, it doesn’t exist. There are worse things than divorce.http://www.uscatholic.org/church/2011/08/lets-stop-ignoring-domestic-violence

    • Beadgirl

      I’m glad you got out, carlamariee. I worked quite a bit with domestic violence victims in my previous life as a lawyer, and I take it very seriously. There will always be jerks who blame the victim or claim she (or he) must try harder to make the marriage work, but most reasonable Catholics recognize that violence is a legitimate reason to separate from or even divorce a spouse.

      Whether one can then resume dating or remarry is a separate issue, of course.

    • Paul

      Carla,

      While your situation is saddening, you should be aware that Catholic teaching permits civil divorce for exactly this situation as long as divorcees do not remarry. The fact that your pastors did not understand this is not excusable; however, I would not blame “Catholic teaching” when it is not the culprit here.

      • Bob

        “As long as divorcees do not remarry.”
        So you’re a 25-year-old woman, you don’t have kids yet but you’d like to (or maybe you have one but would like to have more). Your husband is abusing you. Let’s have a look at your menu of choices:
        1. You can just suck it up and take it. Hope it doesn’t get worse. Hope he doesn’t kill you. Hope he doesn’t start in with any kid(s) in the home. Pray for him. Who knows, maybe he’ll change.
        2. You can leave him and pursue a civil divorce if you wish for legal purposes, but if you do this you are consigned to a life without romantic companionship, ever. You may not have any sort of physical intimacy, or have any further children (unless you adopt, unlikely without a partner).
        3. You can seek an annulment, which would free you from this prison. If that fails, you’re back to options 1 and 2.

        Did I miss anything?

        • vox borealis

          free you from this prison

          Because sexual intimacy (because the ONLY form of intimacy that matters is physical, and the only form of physical intimacy that matters is sexual) and having children is a RIGHT, dagnabbit, and if I can’t have one or the other for whatever reason, I am in prison. Nay, my existence is worthless!!

          • Bob

            “the ONLY form of intimacy that matters is physical, and the only form of physical intimacy that matters is sexual.”
            That’s not what I said. The reason you think I said that is because, being Catholic, you are totally obsessed with other people’s sex lives, and believe that any human yearning for love or affection must be some sign of weakness. “Hey, abuse victim, don’t like being told that because you married the wrong guy, you are now consigned to life of — your choice — abuse or spinsterhood? You’re a crybaby!”
            My goodness, the sheer cruelty and deadness of spirit that is just — I’m sorry — typical of Catholics of a certain generation. No wonder people can’t get away fast enough.

            • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

              I’m Catholic, and not only am I not obsessed with other people’s sex lives, I turn the color of red cabbage and flee whenever I feel cornered by a discussion of other people’s sex lives.

              I’m probably older than just about anyone here. We *never* even referred to other people’s sex lives. People who did were probably drunks and/or lunatics.

              Catholic teaching on marriage is very hard. No doubt.

              • Mark Shea

                It is weird how people grab us by the lapels and insist on dragging their sex lives into the public square and then complain that you are interfering with their sex lives. It’s like the people screaming that I can’t tell them what to do in the bedroom just before they stick a gun in my ribs and force me to pay for their contraceptives.

            • Jon W

              Bob,

              I have nothing to say to carlamariee because I don’t know her situation, but I call bullsh*t on all your “compassion.” It’s an easy “compassion” that leaves millions of men and women twisting in the wind when the other partner decides for one reason or another they don’t want to work on a difficult marriage when it would be so much easier to just get out. It leaves millions of children feeling abandoned, scared, and alone in the world.

              If divorce is a normal option (and it is) then the society doesn’t put much effort into saving marriages. Why waste a lot of resources trying to save what doesn’t have to be saved? So the society sees no reason to give people in difficult (read: nearly all) marriages the annoying, and costly support they need to make their marriages better, and as a result everyone’s marriage is in significant danger.

              This bullsh*t, bullsh*t compassion is the compassion of the euthanizer who recognizes that it would cost him a whole lot less in taxes and insurance premiums if the sick and old just got a little help shuffling off this mortal coil.

              Violent and dangerous situations are awful, and there should absolutely be a way to deal with those situations, but your solution has been tried, and psychological corpses of my students – MY STUDENTS – are the result. Your easy divorce is not compassion. It’s hard, cold, indifference.

              • carlamariee

                Check out the Department of Justice statistics on violence against women. Under age 45 the most likely cause of death for a woman is homocide at the hands of her intimate partner. For women who endure physical abuse, 80% begins during pregnancy. I know no one personally for whom the decision to end a marriage wasn’t absolutely heart wrenching, nor is divorce from an abuser ever easy. Jon W., you have no idea, but at one time, I didn’t either and shared your views.

                • Jon W

                  I’m not saying that there are not situations people shouldn’t get out of. Obviously, there are. What I’m saying is that no-fault divorce like we have in our society now is not the answer.

            • dpt

              Actually, its the modern secular world that is obsessed with people’s sex life.
              Free love, abortion, contraception was to usher in a new era of humanity, yet abuse, disease, children living in poverty, etc. remain rampant in a world with some much openness and technical progressive to liberate us sexually.

              With all of our wealth and progress we have seen divorce rates rise over the past decades, increasing number of children living in single parent households, the nation spending $15B to $20B to treat new cases of sexually transmitted diseases.

              For abuse cases, the reasons and motives are complex, and do cover a gamut of cultures, religions, family situations, etc. To point at Catholic teaching as enabling–in a broad brush–such abuse is inane.

              • Bob

                Yes, I figured this would happen.
                Someone points out that for an abuse victim, the Church offers a full menu of sh*t sandwiches.
                When this is pointed out, the responses are as follows:
                * “Anyone who doesn’t like this menu of sh*t sandwiches is big crybaby who only cares about s-e-x.”
                * “Your so-called compassion for abuse victims is not compassion at all. What about those poor babies who won’t get to feel the loving embrace of their abusive daddy? The real problem here is ‘easy divorce.’ ” And you don’t come out and say this, but the subtext is clear: Better for that abused spouse to go back and figure out how to be better wife so that poor man won’t have to hit her anymore.
                * “We’re not obsessed with sex” something something “free love” something something “contraception” something something “modern secular world.”
                * But we are compassionate to abuse victims. We say things like this: “For abuse cases, the reasons and motives are complex, and do cover a gamut of cultures, religions, family situations, etc,” and also this: ” Violent and dangerous situations are awful, and there should absolutely be a way to deal with those situations” without actually saying what those are.

                But what nobody does — nobody — is say, “actually, it’s not a menu of sh*t sandwiches. There are more options than what you’ve laid out.” Nobody says that, because nobody can.

                • Beadgirl

                  ” Better for that abused spouse to go back and figure out how to be better wife so that poor man won’t have to hit her anymore.”

                  What part of the following did you not read?:
                  ” I worked quite a bit with domestic violence victims in my previous life as a lawyer, and I take it very seriously. There will always be jerks who blame the victim or claim she (or he) must try harder to make the marriage work, but most reasonable Catholics recognize that violence is a legitimate reason to separate from or even divorce a spouse.” (written by me)
                  “Catholic teaching permits civil divorce for exactly this situation” (by Paul)
                  “Violent and dangerous situations are awful, and there should absolutely be a way to deal with those situations” (by Jon W)

                  Please, cite a single person in this thread who has ACTUALLY said that an abused woman should stay with her husband and learn how to be a better wife.

                  • ivan_the_mad

                    Bob depends on studiously ignoring what has actually been written in order to wail on a straw man. Normally, repetita iuvant, but in this case it’s more repetita est inrita.

                  • Bob

                    I wasn’t referring to anything you said, Beadgirl.
                    As for “Catholic teaching permits civil divorce for exactly this situation,” I did read that — and I kept reading: “as long as divorcees do not remarry.”(That’s what prompted my own response.) I also did cite Jon W’s remark about how “there should absolutely be a way to deal with those situations,” but I noted that he doesn’t say what that way is.
                    I also noted that no one came out and actually said “that an abused woman should stay with her husband.” No one would actually SAY this. That’s why, as I said, it’s subtext.
                    But speaking of misquotes, when did I say a woman’s life is worthless without a man? That’s silly. There’s nothing wrong with being single by choice, but we’re not talking about singlehood by choice.
                    Being in a committed, mutually loving relationship is simply better than being single. I’m sorry, it is. Humans, basically, are designed to couple up, and we’re happier that way when the relationship is a good one.

                    • Beadgirl

                      I didn’t say that you said it, I said that you were inadvertently reinforcing that idea. Yes, being in a committed happy relationship is better than being single and lonely. But saying that a woman’s life is a “sh*t sandwich” if she is not with another man isn’t the same thing.

                      There are all sorts of reasons why people end up alone, sometimes by choice and sometimes by circumstance. There are some things the Catholic Church says you cannot do to be in relationship, even if your singleness is not your fault — e.g., remarry without an annulment. You may disagree with the details, the reasons why, but I don’t think you disagree with the premise that there are moral limits when it comes to getting that relationship (for example, kidnapping someone to be your spouse). Correct me if assume too much about your opinion.s :>

                    • Jon W

                      Whatever, Bob. My point is that your solution is no solution. No matter what crap people of your generation bought from Woody Allen, the consequence of no-fault divorce is not a breezy society of well-adjusted, happily married couples, but a blasted landscape of broken promises and miserable kids (and parents). No one believes in promises, anymore, because no one thinks promises can be kept because we never bother to help anybody keep them.

                      You can point out the hard cases all you want – and everyone here admits they’re hard – but that’s not the point. The point is no-fault divorce is not the solution. You’re saying there’s a big problem (violent spouses) and it calls for a solution. We agree. You propose an utterly inadequate solution and we call bullsh*t. You wrap yourself in the mantle of compassion and ignore all the destruction – the awful, horrible, evisceration of childhood and social trust – that your “solution” has created.

                  • Theodore Seeber

                    I think I came the closest- below- and what I said is she should have had him arrested and committed for criminal insanity.

                    I don’t like the current attitude that divorce can fix abuse. It can’t. And as bad as abuse is, I sure as heck don’t want a man who would abuse his wife running around free in society.

                • Beadgirl

                  Now, if your claim that anything that does not allow a person divorced but without an annulment to remarry or have sex with someone else is a “sh*t sandwich,” may I point out that you are inadvertently reinforcing the notion that if a woman does not have a man in her life, her life is worthless?

                  • Darren

                    May I point out that the original source of denigration by Mark was “single mothers”, not “single mothers, unless they had a really good reason for leaving an abusive relationship because of course I would never say there was anything wrong with them”?

                    • Beadgirl

                      Fair enough, but I have been reading Mark long enough for me to think that his heart is in the right place, and he recognizes there are in fact all sorts of “valid” reasons for being a single parent, and even if it came about for an “invalid” reason that does not mean we should shun the parent and the children; but all of that is a lot to type, and I have come to accept that not everyone will heavily qualify and make precise their language the way lawyers do. So I give Mark the benefit of the doubt.

                      Mark, of course, is free to confirm or deny or ignore this as he sees fit.

                    • Mark Shea

                      You are, of course, right.

                    • Jon W

                      Mark didn’t denigrate “single mothers”. He decried the normalization of single motherhood. When our society sees a single mother now, it thinks, “Good for her: what a strong woman,” when it should say, “There’s a problem, here, that needs to be taken care of.”

                      That doesn’t mean it’s her fault or that she should bear the brunt of people’s opprobrium, just that we should acknowledge that it’s not a good thing.

                    • Darren

                      Indeed, the “normalization” of single motherhood. Not the exaltation, but the attitude that it is normal.

                      What does normal mean? If it is normal, then there is nothing wrong with it, nothing shameful, no strong reason to avoid it. The furthest one _might_ be permitted to go is to point out that something that is perfectly normal may not be optimal, but that would be about it.

                      I, too, suspect Mark to have a good heart, but I would like to see him choose his targets more carefully.

                    • Jon W

                      If it is normal, then there is nothing wrong with it, nothing shameful, no strong reason to avoid it.

                      Yeah, that’s exactly the point. And therefore people in the surrounding society don’t try too hard to avoid it. But that’s a terrible thing, because single motherhood is a bad thing, something to be avoided. That’s not to say we ought to blame her or treat her like a pariah, but we shouldn’t engage in a bunch of bullsh*t happy talk about her situation, either.

                    • The Deuce

                      Do we have to write entire dissertations every time we make an assertion that most people should be able to figure out the context of on their own, lest the hypersensitive take offense?

                    • Theodore Seeber

                      Single motherhood isn’t to be denigrated, that’s true- there are many legitimate reasons for it. But why should we jettison the help for single mothers, and jettison traditional marriage along with it? I don’t know any single mothers who WANT to be in their situation at all.

                • Bob

                  OK, Beadgirl. If I did imply that a person’s life is worthless if they’re not coupled up, let me correct that for the record. I don’t think that.
                  But what I do think is that the church’s options for people in impossible relationships — accept what you have to accept or consign yourself to a life of never being able to have a fulfilling romantic relationship (barring annulment) — are definitely sh*t sandwich-type choices.
                  You don’t have to believe that singlehood = ruination to appreciate that removing from someone even the possibility of future romantic fulfillment is a lousy thing to do them.
                  As for the “solution,” John W, how about this: If your marriage is indeed abusive, we’re just going to assume that you qualify for an annulment. Provided we don’t have any evidence that you’re lying about the abuse, we’re pretty much gonna rubber-stamp that annulment.

            • vox borealis

              YOU claimed that the now civilly divorced woman could have no other chance at physical intimacy if she followed Church teaching. How is that possible, as the Church clearly does not outlaw hugging or a gentle hand on another’s hand, etc. The only way for your statement to make sense is if you meant sexual intimacy, which is the only form of intimacy restricted (i.e., to those who are married). So, you may retract your statement as factually incorrect, or you may own up to its obvious implication, that you meant physical intimacy = sex.

            • InsaneSanity

              Bob,

              You are an ass for generalizing all Catholics. Actually, you’re more than an ass – you’re a bigot.

        • L. Legault

          It is always possible that a woman in this situation would today be eligible for an annulment from the Church: it could be argued that he was too immature to understand the nature of marriage – which might well be true in such a situation; or that he married under false pretenses, having assumed the facade of a kindly man. While the annulment process today is sometimes abused (most often by complicit or corrupt Catholic officials), it is generally now more sensibly interpreted than it was 100 years ago. The bar for a legitimate marriage used to be set too low by the Church, but that is less true today, and I am glad of it.

      • Sagrav

        “…as long as divorcees do not remarry.”

        So you found a nice guy who treats you well? Too bad! Archaic marriage traditions trump silly things like love or the pursuit of happiness.

        • Imp the Vladaler

          “Archaic marriage tradition”? You lack understanding of what a Catholic marriage is, and what God does in that sacrament. God creates a bond between husband and wife that cannot be broken, no matter how badly the spouses sin. And sin they will. Against each other. Perhaps greatly.

          • Psy

            Yes, that is what Sagrav, “Archaic marriage traditions”.

          • Psy

            Yes, that is what Sagrav said, “Archaic marriage traditions”.

          • carlamariee

            Perhaps greatly, Imp, perhaps mortally. Men who think so little of hurting their wives are also men who hurt their children.

        • Paul

          Re: “archaic marriage tradition”

          Jesus’ call for life-long marriage was a radical departure from Judaism’s permission for a man to divorce his wife for any reason. So, following your logic, as divorce is another “archaic marriage tradition,” it too should be rejected.

          You call divorcing a spouse, attempting an fake marriage with another person, and living in concubinage “love and the pursuit of happiness”? I see some love there, but misguided love in the midst of falsehood and brokenness.

      • carlamariee

        What you say is true. However for myself and other women in my circumstances I’ve met, the advice we were given when we sought spiritual guidance on these issues was, “Well, marriage is hard and takes sacrifice”, “Keep your eyes on the crucified Christ”, “But your marriage vows are sacred”, “St. Monica prayed her husband and son to God, follow her example.”, “Think of the children”. When I went to the shelter, it was assumed when I told people how long I had been in this “marriage” that I must be Catholic. The huge stigma against divorce keeps many women and children captive. We as Catholics have a lot of work to do.

        • Theodore Seeber

          And so I repeat my response- was the law enforcement system so broken in your community that it was YOU who needed to go to the shelter- instead of HIM needing to go to jail and perhaps be committed to a mental institution? After all, the standard for criminally insane is “a danger to self or others”- and an abusive spouse certainly fits that description.

          In my community- yes, the law enforcement system is broken- and several cases much like yours have ended in murder-suicides over the past 5 years or so, often taking the children as well as both spouses. I want to see a change. Divorce is not a solution in this case- not nearly adequate.

          • carlamariee

            Yes, actually. Do some reading up on domestic violence. There are laws on the books, but they are seldom enforced. About 3 women die every day, it is very difficult now to get a restraining order and even harder to get it enforced. When men are brought to court, it’s usually a slap on the wrist.

            • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com Beadgirl

              carlamariee is right; the laws are not adequate (although they have vastly improved over the last few decades), and they are seldom enforced as the should be. In addition, abusers tend to be master-manipulators, and will 1) convince authorities it’s no biggie, 2) isolate the abused partner from friends and family who can help, 3) take over the finances so the abused partner has no financial resources, 4) play on the insecurities of the abused partner until she becomes convinced that she deserves it or it’s hopeless or this is what love looks like, 5) threaten to get custody of any children and never let the abused partner see them again, or 6) just flat out threaten to kill the abused partner if she tries to leave.

              So: not easy.

    • Theodore Seeber

      Why didn’t you have him committed as insane?

      That to me would seem to be the loving response to an abusive spouse.

      • carlamariee

        Dr. Darald Hanusa, who has worked with abusive men for over a decade, estimates that about 3% of the men he has dealt with are mentally ill. Most just have a sense of entitlement that allows them to think of women and children as property. As for calling the cops, at best he’s gone for the weekend, then he’s back and MAD. There are no good options for women, because there is too little or no accountability for men.

        • rose1929

          @L. Legault — what you describe is exactly what happened to me and what I did. Decades ago I married a “good” Catholic, he turned out to be abusive (we did not have premarital sex, and many of my friends said I should have ‘test driven’ him before marrying as if that would have revealed the problem). Two children were born out of this sexual abuse. We sought counseling wherein the husband laid the groundwork for his custody battle a year later, “she’s crazy etc”. I did in fact get away to another state, divorced him and yes, I sought and was granted an annulment for another reason. I was the very first annulment the parish priest had ever worked on, but it was granted. Still, my children bear the scars of being children of divorce. Try as I did I could not support them and remarried, again, Catholic. No, they didn’t “blend” with the other family. By all accounts it has been a disaster. But I am still a faithful Catholic, our combined children? No not one is still Catholic. I think their lesson was that the Church had failed us, and our example wasn’t a good one for them to learn from. It’s a mess. There’s no such thing as a good divorce, no matter how justified. Mine was necessary for the physical survival of myself and my kids. I wish I had found a better way. But was there one? I can’t say. I pray every day for women who were in my situation. People shouldn’t blame the Church or the Magesterium. And no, i could not get him arrested or committed. In fact, years after the divorce and my remarriage, my ex kidnapped the children while on a visit, and took them back to our original marriage state, where he found a judge in 2 hours who was willing to ignore and invalidate the custody agreement of the neighboring state which had been in force for four years. Despite much effort, treasure and time, we never got them back until they returned on their own as young adults when their father was interested in unloading them to make room for his new bride. Yes, families are messy, even when one has the Law, the Church, etc. on their side. And the children never ever recover. See the Patheos blog “Faith on the Couch” for ample evidence of this. (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithonthecouch/2013/03/dear-dr-greg-dont-be-a-bigot-letter-from-a-child-of-a-gay-father/)
          My children were forced to be adults in their dad’s universe of being a non-parental parent….yes, I’m still upset after 25 years of therapy too. But I don’t blame the church, I blame the man, and the dumb choice I made. I pray to St. Monica too as most sad mothers do….

          • carlamariee

            Rose, I am so sad. Please don’t blame yourself. When domestic abuse was first given serious attention, the prevailing theory was one of codependency, but as more and more studies have been done, the only thing women in abusive marriages have in common is their relationship to an abuser. They are predatory by nature. We don’t see them for what they are because most poeple aren’t so mercenary in their relationships. In case readers think that you are an outlier for loseing your kids, between 70%-83% of abusive fathers get full custody when they pursue it depending on the study you read. In fact abusers are more likely than non-abusers to get the kids. Family court is a nightmare for women and kids. My oldest have left the Church too, and I also pray.

  • Benjamin

    It has little to do with single motherhood and everything to do with the economic choices we’ve made in the last 40 years. You don’t see this kind of stuff in Sweden or the Netherlands despite even more liberal family arrangments there.

    • The Deuce

      Yeah, the Scandinavians have chosen the childless decline into extinction route instead.

      • Darren

        And this is a problem? In a couple more generations Lutheranism and Liberal Socialism with destroy itself, leaving a pristine chunk of prime Europe open for re-colonization by the Irish, Italians, Spaniards, or Portuguese.

        Sounds like a win to me.

        • The Deuce

          A problem for Scandinavians certainly, and for anyone who cites them as an example to be followed.

          • Sagrav

            The Scandinavians aren’t childless, they just have a declining birth rate as of right now. Do you really think that this trend will be permanent?

            I really don’t understand why so many people on Patheos seem concerned with a decline in the human population. There are about 7 billion of us, and this planet isn’t getting any larger! It would be best for mankind in the long run to get our population down to a more easily sustained level. However, that is apparently anathema to most traditional religious thought, so I guess we’ll just reproduce until we smack up against Earth’s carrying capacity. Woohoo.

            • Christina

              The “we’re overpopulated we’re all going to DIE” mantra has been repeated so many times in the last century that it’s essentially reached the point where it’s like the boy who cried wolf. And given that the “drastic” increase in population was correlated with a drastic increase in innovation, research, development, and knowledge it would seem this wolf has no fangs.
              You should take a look at the “Overpopulation is a Myth” videos.

            • The Deuce

              The Scandinavians aren’t childless, they just have a declining birth rate as of right now. Do you really think that this trend will be permanent?

              No, it’s the extinction that’s permanent. They will continue in this manner, however, sans a drastic change in metaphysical worldview and accompanying social and fiscal policy (at which point Benjamin will no longer recommend them).

              • Darren

                No more Lutefisk and Volvo’s… Oh, the humanity!

                • Andy, Bad Person

                  So it’s not that people are causing the extinction of their nations, it’s that you don’t care. Got it.

            • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

              Earth’s carrying capacity is rising. It is not a constant. We currently divert about half the US’ corn crop to vehicle transport and we still manage to feed the world nonetheless. Significant chunks of the world do not use best practices to raise agricultural productivity, yet we still have greatly reduced famine while global population continues to rise.

              It is right to be concerned about a decline in global population because all our societies have embedded massive assumptions that population will grow to the point where we don’t think about it anymore and a reversal will cause a lot of stuff to break. That’s pretty scary, especially since the political elite seem to have little appetite to tease out the assumptions and figure out what the cost would be of a population level reversal.

              • Darren

                TMLutas makes valid points regarding the assumed growth factors.

                It would be fair to note that current population and agricultural production levels are unsustainable with current technology. Dry up fossil fuels and shut down the nitrogen fixation plants and the carrying capacity of the Earth drops to around 4 billion, and that is with a vegetarian diet and subsistence calorie levels.

                Yes, we can feed 7 billion, and we can certainly feed 8 billion when the time comes, but at the cost of relying more and more on technology and our industrial infrastructure. It makes sense for the man in the iron lung to be very concerned about the lights going off…

                • Theodore Seeber

                  We can currently feed about 15 billion; the amount of food going to waste is half of what is harvested.

                  Even more modern methods are coming. By optimising mult-crop vertical farming to take full advantage of available sunlight and water, we could easily raise more than enough food for 80 billion people- and still live as good as current Bangladeshis do.

                  But we’ll never reach there. Current population curves will peak at 9.75 billion and then we’ll see a drastic die off due to old age and atheists who don’t breed anyway.

            • Pammy R

              Only a flesh wound, eh?

        • Arnold

          That assumes that those ostensibly Catholic population groups haven’t depopulated themselves out of existence in the meantime. You may not be aware that the birth rates in most of those countries are at or lower than those in Scandinavia.

          • Darren

            Impossible, when the teaching of the Church is so clear.

            Oh well, I here Nigerians love Fjords.

            ;)

            • Theodore Seeber

              Better make that Ugandians, Nigerians are now below replacement rate. Uganda is getting there though- they’re down to 3.1 children per family (10 years ago they were at 8 children per family).

  • Darren

    Given that it is a problem, what do we do to correct it?

    Divorce and annulments – those can just be banned outright. Start working on that.

    Normalization of single motherhood? We can’t legally deny them services or discriminate against them overtly, but normalization is a social factor to begin with. So, how do we go about shunning single mothers and driving them back to societies margins (where they lived up until 40 years ago)?

    I think it can be done, though; look at how smokers have been turned from normal members of society into social pariahs in only one generation. In the other direction, we have homosexuals being transformed from diseased sodomites into upstanding citizens in the same period.

    Outlawing divorce and driving single mothers out of society will take a concerted effort over decades, but Catholics do have a formidable 25% of the populace to work with, and growing. Let’s start with getting them all onboard.

    • Beadgirl

      I think what Mark is talking about is the out-right celebration of single motherhood as a great thing to choose on purpose (as if the second parent is extraneous). When the statistics came out recently that more children are now being born to unwed mothers than to wed mothers, sites like Salon and Slate had multiple articles praising this as a victory for feminists, and ignoring that many of these children were not planned and are being born to women who are young, undereducated, underemployed, and without the social and familial safety nets most upper-middle-class women enjoy.

      It’s a tough line to walk. Many single parents (whether by choice or by fate) do a heroic job raising their children, but it doesn’t change the fact that in general, two parents are better than one.

      • kenneth

        Who has ever “celebrated” single motherhood? This mythology in neo-conservatism arose from a fictional television character 20-some years ago (Murphy Brown). The man who proclaimed that this was the new norm among American women was none other than Dan Quayle. His creation of this myth was his crowning achievement in the public arena. Conservatives delighted, because it gave them the perfect scapegoat for the decline of civilization (aka the unquestioned paternalistic authority of old white dudes). It filled that decade-long gap between Welfare Queens, which was getting a little un-PC by 1991, and immigrants, gays and Islam, which would take up the slack in our time.

        Seriously, does anyone know any single mom who would recommend that path to someone as a first “lifestyle” choice? The only places you see it taken as a choice is in poverty, where there are virtually no fatherhood grade men, and among the quadrillionaire Hollywood set.

        • The Deuce

          Short version of kenneth: “Murphy Brown never happened”

          • Sagrav

            Wow. The right still blames a sitcom from the nineties for the failure of the nuclear family structure.

            Personally, I blame those darn horseless carriages for society’s woes.

            • The Deuce

              No, genius, I cite Murphy Brown’s celebration of single motherhood, and the Left’s collective freakout that anybody would speak against the celebration of single motherhood, as an obvious illustration of the Left’s celebration of single motherhood.

              You folks are schizophrenic. I see my liberal friends mindlessly toss out cliches like “Wherever there’s love, there’s a family,” and claiming that any configuration of people who “love each other” is equal to any other, while simultaneously feigning incredulity that they or anyone else celebrates single parenthood.

              • kenneth

                You and your liberal friends are arguing past each other and scoring points in a battle that has nothing to do with the world on the ground outside.

              • Psy

                The Deuce is right, single parents like me should be hated, scorned, demonized, persecuted and their children taken away and redistributed by the Church.

                • InsaneSanity

                  It’s left’s position that your children do not belong to you but to the community – MSNBC said so – blame them.

                  • carlamariee

                    I don’t see this as a “left/right” issue. Besides, MHP was refering to the responsibility of community to the next generation. In that context, it’s a very Catholic point of view. Not entirely surprising as she was raised Catholic.

                • The Deuce

                  Thanks, Psy, for another example of left-wing schizophrenia.

                  On the one hand, we’ve got lefties playing stupid and saying “What normalization of single parenthood? I don’t know *anyone* who wants that!”

                  On the other hand, any suggestion that normalizing single parenthood is not a good idea is met with frenzied shrieks that the person suggesting it wants single mothers to be “hated, scorned, demonized, persecuted and their children taken away and redistributed by the Church.”

                  You’d think you guys would get together or something and try to avoid doing both on the very same thread.

                  • Psy

                    The fact is single parenthood is a reality and I have no idea who Murphy Brown is or care. But hey go ahead and mock single parents who deal with the real world with your rhetoric.

                • Theodore Seeber

                  I’ve got a totally different suggestion:
                  Single motherhood should be shown for how hard it is, and the Church should *actively* help single mothers raise their kids, up to and including introducing them to eligible spouses.

                  • Jon W

                    This. So absolutely this.

            • http://www.usmc.mil S. Murphy

              Well, look, if we had drunks driving pony carts instead of cars, the pony would know how to get home, and the drunk probably wouldn’t manage to kill innocent bystanders nearly as easily. ;-}

        • Beadgirl

          Well, like I said, several articles in Salon and Slate did in fact praise single-motherhood, and one writer went so far as to say it was better than having a partner because this way you could make all the decisions about the child without anyone else’s imput, and your child would have a super special bond with you and nobody else. So yes — people have celebrated it.

          See here: http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/01/single_moms_are_better_kids_raised_by_single_mothers_are_sturdier.html

          and here: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2012/02/single_motherhood_by_choice_i_don_t_want_the_complication_of_a_partner_.html

          In fact, Slate ran a whole series on how great single-parenthood is.

          Again — there are single parents who do a fabulous job, but I maintain that in general two parents are better than one.

        • Beadgirl

          I don’t know if my previous comment with links will go through, so here is my response again, kenneth:

          Well, like I said, several articles in Salon and Slate did in fact praise single-motherhood, and one writer went so far as to say it was better than having a partner because this way you could make all the decisions about the child without anyone else’s imput, and your child would have a super special bond with you and nobody else. So yes — people have celebrated it.

          See the Slate article by Jessica Olien, where she discusses how much better parenthood is if you don’t have to worry about a husband who might have an opinion on child-raising, and how she wants a super-special bond with her child that no one else can share.

          Also see the Slate article by Pamela Gwyn Kripke, about how children of single mothers (no discussion of single fathers) are sturdier and grittier and better able to handle adversity than children with two parents.

          • kenneth

            Charlie Sheen and Warren Jeffs also celebrated their particular views on family structure. That doesn’t mean it’s a significant social movement in the real world.

            • Beadgirl

              You asked “who has ever ‘celebrated’ single motherhood?” and I gave you examples.

            • Beadgirl

              Sorry, hit “post” too soon.

              If your argument is that it is not popular enough to constitute something to worry about, fine, but that was not the argument you made in your comment.

              • The Deuce

                You could give him all the evidence in the world, and he’d just play dumb and move the goal posts. But note how elsewhere in the thread, despite claiming that nobody wants to normalize single motherhood, he reacts against any disapproval whatsoever of single motherhood.

          • Psy

            Oh no, someone wrote a stupid article. Tell us about your experience as a single parent.

            • Beadgirl

              Several someones wrote several articles, and more that I did not cite. Psy, please point to any comment I made that “single parents like [you] should be hated, scorned, demonized, persecuted and their children taken away and redistributed by the Church.”

            • Jon W

              Beadgirl offered very mainstream examples. I offer another:

              In the first season of Frasier, there was an episode in which Lilith (Frasier’s ex-wife) comes to Seattle and at some point breaks down and talks about how scared she is raising their (her and Frasier’s) son all alone by herself in Boston. Frasier, who is portrayed throughout at as a thoroughly decent (if pompous and occasionally absurd), mainstream man, turns her to the mirror and talks about how strong she is and what a good mother she is.

              This is while Frasier spends all his time on the far side of a continent from his son and ex-wife, seeing the kid maybe twice a year, spending all his time bedding (or trying to bed) random girlfriends and going to exlusive restaurants with Niles. I’m sure he’s paying child support, as if mere money could substitute for his son having a father in his life, but the whole thing is treated as though the day-to-day care for the kid is just one of the parent’s responsibility. And, like in nearly every single situation, that one parent is the mother.

              That was a lot of bullsh*t happy talk about divorce and single parenthood that was mainstreamed on the most mainstream sitcom of the 90′s.

              • Psy

                It sure would have helped if my children’s mother paid child support or at least spent time with them, I’d rather not have someone on drug around my kids. But who cares about some TV show, everyone’s circumstances are different an we each have to deal with it on our own. this thread about what the Church wants or the article about how women are getting educated, Gasp!, and taking away men’s rightful jobs and almost making as much as men is ridiculous. Then the impending crisis in this thread about how its the end of mankind because women aren’t staying home barefoot and pregnant.

                • L. Legault

                  Holy shishkebabs, Psy. Have you not heard that single motherhood is rising exponentially among the white working and middle classes, that something like 42% of babies born to mothers under 30 in the US are now born to single mothers, and that most of these are born into unstable, impermanent family units from which the fathers are soon detached, to go drifting off to have more babies whom they will eventually abandon to their mothers? Have you not heard of Charles Murray’s Coming Apart?

                  Don’t take this all so personally, Psy. There’s a difference between being a single parent as the result of a marital breakdown or a tragic early death, and becoming one in a fit of absence of mind. Children resent the latter substantially more, thus becoming alienated from their parents, who are themselves too filled with resentment to be of much help.

                • Jon W

                  Who are you talking to, Psy? Your characterization of the Church’s position is absurd in the extreme. This is not the way the Church talks or things. It just isn’t.

                  It’s not.

                  Not at all.

    • ivan_the_mad

      Is this … is this satire? It’s horrible regardless.

      • Beccolina

        That was my reaction. I was looking for the sarcasm. I think no-fault divorce is damaging, but I wouldn’t ban all divorce outright. Serial infidelity, addiction, abuse and abandonment happen and there needs to a way to legally protect one spouse and the children from the other spouse. The idea that someone has to stay married to an abuser is horrid and disgusting. That’s exactly the attitude Carlamariee is referring to above.

    • Darren

      Thank you Ivan and Beccolina, exactly the reaction I was hoping for.

      My comment was simply taking Mark’s goals as stated in the post, and carrying them through to their logical conclusion. This was my attempt to show that, when stripped of euphemism and vaguery, what was being suggested was actually quite horrible. So, yes, satire.

      It is easy to rail against the evils of divorce and single motherhood. It is harder when one realizes that one of the factors that allows our current system is the ability of women to sign contracts, own property, and generally function in society independently of a husband or father. Another factor is the social acceptability for a woman to work outside the home, allowing her to, in need, provide a bare minimum existence for herself and her children independently of a man. Another factor would be the existence of child support laws, again enabling a woman to choose an independent life instead of making _any_ sacrifices and accommodations required to induce her husband and the father of her children to continue supporting her and them. We could go on, if needed.

      My father happened to be the unhappy child of a single mother in the 1940’s – paternal abandonment, so not _quite_ as bad, socially, as a divorce, but he was certainly not spared the crushing poverty. After what I can only presume to have been an extended binge of Limbaugh, or O’Reilly, or someone similar, he recently launched into a tirade against the evils of divorce and single mothers. He was a bit taken aback when I suggested to him that the only reliable way to roll back the clock on such things was to undertake a concerted effort to return divorces and their children to the hellish poverty and social ostracism that he had endured in 1940/1950’s Tennessee.

      • The Deuce

        This is moronic. There’s a fair amount of space between celebrating and encouraging single motherhood, and condemning all single mothers everywhere as horrible people who cannot be forgiven. To acknowledge that single motherhood is worse for kids than a married family, and that the deterioration of the family is having disastrous consequences, is simply recognition of reality.

        • kenneth

          In the real world, people don’t stigmatize social and economic conditions in the abstract. They stigmatize the people living in those conditions.

          • ivan_the_mad

            There is, sadly, much truth to this. It is good to bear this admonition in mind when treating with these problems.

          • Beadgirl

            Unfortunately, yes, which is why in my earlier comment I pointed out that it is a delicate balance we all too often fail.

          • Darren

            Nicely said, Kenneth. I will remember that one.

            And I am pleased, and _not_at_all_ surprised, to find Ivan and Beadgirl taking a nuanced and compassionate approach.

          • The Deuce

            Yeah, and having one’s harmful and selfish actions disapproved of is the worst thing that can happen to a person.

            • kenneth

              The one or ones doing the harmful and selfish actions are never the ones disapproved of. The guy who leaves his family to trade up to a younger woman never feels the bit of social disapproval, and never has. The kids get to bear society’s conception of them as likely delinquents and their moms get treated to presumptions that they are not looking after their kids properly because they can’t be home every day after school.

              • Darren

                Certainly my grandfather and his second family had a much easier time of it than my grandmother, father and his siblings.

      • Amy

        Darren,

        No, it’s not the logical conclusion. How about requiring a waiting period and (better) preparation classes before marriage? We don’t get “how to be married” lessons from our parents as much anymore, so we need more preparation to make it work. Or more support and programs to help marriages? A general societal attitude that sees divorce as a last resort rather than one that says spouses are like pancakes, there’s no shame in throwing the first out? You can identify something as objectively problematic without demanding that the people involved are shunned or shamed.

        • MountainTiger

          Who are these people who regard “spouses like pancakes”? I’ve never talked to one. I do know many people who acknowledge that people make mistakes in their relationships, which isn’t exactly the same thing.

          • The Deuce

            You’re right. There is no frivolous divorce problem, no growing trend of fatherlessness, and no social consequences of these nonexistent problems whatsoever. It’s all a figment of peoples’ imaginations and math.

            • MountainTiger

              What percent of divorces are frivolous?

              • kenneth

                All of them, except one’s own…..

              • The Deuce

                That’s a stupid question meant to evade having to face the reality of your ideology. When 40% of children are born out of wedlock (nearly 75% in the black community) and growing, and when the statistical evidence of the poverty and misery associated with this is abundant, you have to have your head stuck in the sand (or somewhere else dark) to think that there’s no problem of people abandoning their spouses (or the mothers/fathers of their children that should be spouses) without sufficient cause.

                • Beccolina

                  How many single parent families were married in the first place, though? I think part of the rise in single-parent families is people who aren’t getting married at all. They get “together” for a while, then break up. I have nieces and nephews who live that lifestyle. It’s not healthy mentally or spiritually for anyone involved, especially the children, but the adults can’t seem to make the choice to change. It’s easier to find a new bf or gf than find a reliable spouse.

                • MountainTiger

                  I don’t see how attempting to ascertain the scope of a problem is stupid. Divorce is a rather unlikely culprit in non-marital births given their concentration among younger women; low marriage rates seem more likely to drive those numbers. If you have data to the contrary, though, I am genuinely interested.

                  • The Deuce

                    I don’t see how attempting to ascertain the scope of a problem is stupid.

                    It’s a stupid question (I should rather say “dishonest”) because he’s challenging me to read peoples’ minds and give him a number, and using the impossibility of doing such as pretext to bury his head in the sand about the fact that we’ve got serious problems with family dissolution brought on by selfish and frivolous behavior.

                    Divorce is a rather unlikely culprit in non-marital births given their concentration among younger women; low marriage rates seem more likely to drive those numbers.

                    It’s a distinction without a difference. We have people engaged in married behavior (having children together), then splitting.

                    • MountainTiger

                      The situation Beccolina describes (which fairly accurately matches my understanding) calls for different remedies than one in which people readily pledge undying love before God and the law and then walk out. Which is not to say that nobody divorces for bad reasons, only that understanding the circumstances behind out-of-wedlock births is the first step in reducing them and/or improving outcomes for the children.

          • Beadgirl

            There’s the whole “starter marriage” phenomenon. Plus I have had the unfortunate experience of talking with young women who cared far more about their “special day” of a wedding than the actual marriage, or even whom they are married to.

            • Darren

              Well, I am all for getting rid of the starter marriage idea. I think it is silly and counterproductive in the same manner as the starter home.

          • Beadgirl

            Ooh! Here’s another example — the infamous story from the NYT Vows section, where the couple admits their marriages were perfectly happy, but then they met each other and decided they liked each other better. The husband said he had a choice between making himself unhappy and making his wife and children unhappy :

            “As Mr. Partilla saw it, their options were either to act on their feelings and break up their marriages or to deny their feelings and live dishonestly. “Pain or more pain,” was how he summarized it. ”

            Guess which one he chose! This is exactly what’s wrong with marriage today — it’s all about me me me, my poufy white dress, my sex drive, my happiness, my fulfillment. Spouse and children come second.

            • Beadgirl
              • Darren

                Thanks for the link.

                Yeah, that article looks pretty darn familiar.

                Who needs to be happy, though. That’s why God made Gin, and one’s liver need only hold out until the youngest graduates…

                :}

                • ivan_the_mad

                  Ha! Aquinas already answered this. To wit:

                  Article 42. Whether gin is necessary for either happiness or the martini?
                  Objection 1. It seems that God did not make gin to ensure happiness, because gin by itself is not a happy thing.
                  Objection 2. It may be admitted that vodka is a ready substitute for gin in a martini, for many drink of the appletini and the chocolatetini, therefore gin is not necessary for the martini.
                  On the contrary, the Apostle did say “When thou hast had a most difficult run of it, thou shalt imbibe that most perfect drink, yea, the very Potus Dei, the martini, and whoa, thou shalt be tickled pink and most pleased thereafter” (Booze 1:1).
                  I answer that gin is insufficient for happiness; however, when combined according to the ritual of happiness to produce the martini, it can in fact produce happiness. As venerable Goshthatdidthetrick wrote, “Man, gin is good, but … this martini, wow, it’s *really* good, ya know?”
                  Reply to Objection 1. Gin by itself is not a happy thing and therefore cannot produce happiness, it is merely drink. But the martini transcends mere drink by means of its combination with vermouth in the perfect ratio, roughly seven to one, and with citrus zest. The Council of Stirrednotshaken did admit olives as an alternate garnish.
                  Reply to Objection 2. Vodka in anything that has the word martini in its name is rank heresy. I’m not going to sit here and write down an actual objection for this ridiculous crap because it’s so bleeding obvious. If you do that I will come to your house, all six hundred pounds of me, and sit on you until you recant, Philistine! ANATHEMA SIT!!!

                  • Beadgirl

                    Ha! Awesome.

                    Now I want a gin and tonic.

                  • Darren

                    That is a thing of beauty!

                • Theodore Seeber

                  Happiness and love are decisions. They don’t just happen.

                  • carlamariee

                    Both have to have that commitment. One can’t carry that commitment themselves.

            • The Deuce

              I know several similar situations from people in my own life too.

            • MountainTiger

              That is a nasty story. It also seems unusual and not entirely novel; men abandoning wives for another woman is a common thing in much of history. This is why data is important; I doubt that 0 or 100% of the late twentieth century increase in divorce is due to situations like that.

              • Psy

                Yeah, its always the man who ran off??? Why has that mantra been repeated over and over in this thread?

                • MountainTiger

                  Because in the last few centuries, women with the economic and social power that made leaving a marriage possible were quite exceptional. This has changed for the better in the last 50 or so years.

                  • Psy

                    “Because in the last few centuries, women with …”
                    Yeah I was a single father in the last century and my daughter and I acted as foster parents in this century. I’m only in my mid 50′s, how many centuries old are the people in this thread?

                    • Beccolina

                      You’re right, there are situations where the woman runs off, to wit, my husband’s first wife. I can think of other examples I know personally as well. It doesn’t bode well for children that women have started abandoning families too. It’s become very popular to talk about how kids adjust to divorce, how resilient they are, how they’ll understand how mommy or daddy had to do x,y, or z to be happy. It’s a bunch of bull puckey. I’ve yet to meet a child who told me how happy they are to their parents divorced, except in cases of addiction and abuse. Even then, the children usually want the family healed. They want mommy or daddy back without the addiction/abuse.

                  • The Deuce

                    Why is greater convenience in leaving marriage automatically “better”?

                    • MountainTiger

                      Because a relationship which one person can easily abandon and the other can only leave at the cost of economic and social marginalization will frequently leave the less powerful person with no recourse in case of abuse.

                    • Psy

                      It was better for my ex-wife so she could party all the time, it was better for me and my kids so we could focus on the family, helping them with their homework buying food and clothing instead of her drug friends and drama. You know how those Christian girls are.

            • Darren

              ”This is exactly what’s wrong with marriage today — it’s all about me me me, my poufy white dress, my sex drive, my happiness, my fulfillment. Spouse and children come second.”

              I agree with you completely on this.

              The reason, IMO, that divorce rates have been rising for, I dunno, since the end of WWII is due to the changing expectations of marriage. No longer a commandment from God, no longer a means to breed workers, no longer a source of loyal subjects for the patriarch and matriarch, no, now we are expected to be happy in our marriages. Since we expect our spouses and our marriages to make us happy, why not quit when they fail to do so?

              The societal expectation changes first, then the laws to allow people to do what they want to do already, then a new norm is born.

              I am curious why suffering abuse at the hands of a spouse and a person’s desire no longer to do so does not count as the pursuit of happiness? How often it this just an excuse when someone is “unfulfilled”? You might like the book, “Created to Be His Helpmeet: Discover How God Can Make Your Marriage Glorious” by Debi Pearl.

              • Beadgirl

                I’m not entirely sure I understand your last paragraph, Darren. Of course wanting to end abuse could be seen as pursuing happiness, but I’m not sure I would define as that, primarily. It is more about keeping oneself and/or one’s children safe, and escaping evil.

                There’s nothing inherently wrong in pursuing happiness, of course; it depends on how we pursue it, and how our pursuit affects other people, and whether we really understand what will make us happy, and what “happy” means to us, and how we balance it against our responsibilities to others and our responsibility to live good/holy lives (or to at least try).

                • Darren

                  Never mind, did not come out right.

                  Debi Pearl is pretty much of the “its not abuse, its you not doing your job well enough to make him happy” school, which I already know you are _not_, but I thought you might find her work interesting in a horrifying way.

                  Libby Ann on the Patheos: Atheist channel talks about her _a_lot_, if you are interested.

                  • Beadgirl

                    Now that you gave me some context, I do recognize the name. I have no interest in reading her crap or about her crap, because it fills me with too much anger. It’s such bull, and I wonder if she’s ever actually talked to a woman who has cigarette burns on her arms, for example. Gah! I’m getting mad just thinking about it.

                  • Theodore Seeber

                    Maybe it is still a typo and should really be “Helpmeat”?

              • Theodore Seeber

                I hope that is really “Helpmate” and just a typo

                • Darren

                  Nope, her title. It does look like a space got dropped; “help meet”

          • Theodore Seeber

            I have. My great grandmother. Of course, she was never divorced- none of her 6 husbands survived more than a decade with her.

        • kenneth

          I’ve never met or even heard of anyone who thought of divorce as a “first resort” or something to be done lightly just because we don’t impose Puritanical shame or onerous legal barriers anymore. Even a relatively amicable divorce cost thousands of dollars. Most are not so amicable, and set both parties back 5-10 years financially, in addition to complete upheaval of their lives, relocation, disruption of friend networks etc. I’m not sure waiting periods and classes are the answer. When they marry at all anymore, most people are in their late 20s when they do so. Most have lived with their partner for some period of time, often years. That doesn’t prepare them for the long-haul challenges of life, but it’s not like they have no idea what to expect. What classes would we make them take? We can’t impose CANA on people who don’t share those beliefs. If we add more hurdles like that, any decrease we seen in subsequent divorce rates will happen largely because fewer people will get married. Marriage rates are at all time lows. Making it much more difficult to enter and impossible to leave will drive those rates into the single digits within a generation.

          • Theodore Seeber

            Within the first three months, no-fault divorces in my state are available as “state annulments” for a $150 filing fee if you don’t bother with a lawyer.

            • kenneth

              Those work IF you don’t own your home or have any real assets to speak of, or children. I’ve known exactly two couples where that was the case in the split, and they were able to do it this way (I think it’s $300 in this state). For all that, I’m quite certain neither of them or anyone who knew them would term the experience an “easy” divorce. It’s still an enormous financial drain. Someone gets stuck with a rent they can’t afford alone. Someone no longer has health insurance, or a car. That’s to say nothing of the emotional upheaval, which takes two full years just to get through in the acute stage.

              For those advocating getting rid of “no fault” divorce, let’s be clear what we’re really talking about. We’re talking about going back to an absurd and archaic system in which the state attempts to sort out who the “bad guy” is in the split. That means tens of thousands of dollars for attorneys, and private investigators, and lots of Watergate era dirty tricks to dig up each other’s dirt or frame them in incriminating situations. Making people feel “trapped” in this way will not nudge them to reconcile. It will create the perfect conditions for domestic abuse and homicide.

              • carlamariee

                Very well stated. Thank you.

        • Darren

          Amy;

          I am all for education, and waiting periods for that matter. Heck, far as I am concerned, put a minimum age of, say, 25 on marriages. That would probably help, though not in the way Mark might like.

          But, lets look at how existing educational programs work. How about the educational requirements to be married in the RCC? And the divorce rate / annulment rate for Catholics is lower than, say, Baptists, but it is in a dead heat with Lutherans and Atheists…

        • Bob

          Amy, I think you’d find more support for your waiting period and mandated classes idea with liberals than with social conservatives. If you put barriers in front of marriage, even sensible ones, some people will choose not to do it, which is not the way social conservatives want to reduce the divorce rate.

          • Theodore Seeber

            I’m very much a conservative in most circles- and I personally think the required six months of pre-cana and Engaged Encounter weekend in my archdiocese is a very good idea. Of course, I was engaged for 18 months and in addition to that, she went through RCIA classes. We’re coming up on 14 years this June.

      • Theodore Seeber

        It occurs to me that quite often, stigmatizing the single parent for the divorce is blaming the wrong person.

    • Claude

      Wow. Here we have the unabashed religious authoritarian position: a determination to control women’s sexuality and punish women for having sex. Good luck with that in the 21st century.

      • Claude

        Never mind; I did wonder if Darren’s post was satire; hard to tell!

  • Steven Cass

    I think the article misses the point, massively, about boys. One of my favorite writers on Salon, Camille Paglia, has written many times on modern cultures war on boys. I’m not able to write as eloquently as her, but if you are so inclined I encourage people to look her up.
    However, I will comment on my own that I think a lot of the reason video games are so popular among boys AND men is because they get to do things that society tells them are not the true ways of the world but deep down all boys long for- questing, fighting for a cause, deep strategy games like the Civ series or Paradox games. Of course many games are now excessively violent, and I wouldn’t let my boys play them, but I think it’s because boys more and more are withdrawn from a society that tells them to not be boys.
    Anyway, I’m certain that was badly reasoned, but it’s my two denarii.

  • Will J

    Maybe there is some issue with how people view the education system. One group enacts stricter high school graduation requirements and another group wants to degrade them.

    http://www.freep.com/article/20130413/NEWS06/304130120/Debate-on-Michigan-graduation-requirements

  • Thomas Tucker

    Bob, are you implying that a single life without romantic affection is a living hell? Really? Isn’t that rather demeaning to single people?

    • Bob

      A living hell, no, of course not. But anyone who has been in a fulfilling loving relationship knows that it beats being single. I’m sorry — it just does. Now, that said, being single is also WAY better than being in a lousy relationship that has no chance of improving and INFINITELY better than being in an abusive relationship.
      I was happily single for a long time. Now I’m even more happily coupled.
      But here’s the deal: You tell a young person in an abusive relationship that her options (barring an annulment) are to remain in the abusive relationship or to remain single for the rest of her life, she’s not going to jump for joy at her choices.

      • vox borealis

        But she (or he) does not have to remain “single.” They can have companionship with others, including of the opposite sex, so long as they do not remarry and/or engage in sexual relations. That is what the Church teaches, nothing more or less.

        • Bob

          Vox, that’s called having a friend.
          Friends are great. Friendship is incredibly important to human happiness. I don’t think humans can be happy, or even fully human, without friends.
          But having a platonic friend of the opposite sex is not the same thing as having a romantic partner. Anyone who has at least one of each knows the difference.

          • carlamariee

            Actually, Bob, Pope Francis has already spoken about speeding up the anulment process. I think women in particular would be grateful as we have a narrower window for having children in our lives.

            • MaryMargaret

              carlamariee, I have not seen that about Pope Francis. Can you tell me where you saw it? And, btw, I am glad that you got out of your abusive marriage, and am so sorry that those (priests, I assume) from whom you sought spiritual guidance indicated that you should stay in such a situation. Abuse is a terrible and dangerous situation. God bless you

              • carlamariee

                I am mistaken. It was an article ABOUT Pope Francis and his changes at the Vatican, but the actual quote I remembered was Cardinal George on his hope for more responsiveness from the hierarchy for Church members. He said, “Take marriage cases: People shouldn’t have to be asked to wait three, four, five, six years to get a response for a request for an annulment.”

          • Bob

            If I didn’t know better I’d think we were making an argument against sacramental marriage.
            That’s great news about a streamlined annulment process. But it won’t be long before we’re being told that those “easy annulments ” were the beginning of the end of civilization.

          • Thomas Tucker

            In an ideal world, particularly the one that Hollywood provides the images for, that may be true, Bob. In reality, I think there are many people wh would be happier in a sinle life. In fact, there is nothing lonelier than being lonely in a relationship. But most people assume they just “gotta have a man”, or a woman, for their lives to be complete.

        • Beccolina

          And that’s ONLY if they had a sacramental marriage to begin with. It doesn’t apply if they only had a civil marriage.

  • Michael Matthew

    This article echoes the resulting pain of Adam’s sin, namely this:

    The root of all evil is male passivity. As Adam was not there to protect his bride, Eve, and their home, the garden from Satan, the serpent was able to wedge a divide between the man and the women. This article only points to the reality that at as men stand on the side lines, sin will abound. Come on men, get your head in the game!!

    • The Deuce

      Patriarchal abuser who wants men to control women!!!!1!!1!!

  • Michael Matthew

    From an individual perspective, studies suggest that men who lack a masculine imprint from their fathers and then are s*xualized at an early age are more prone to develop homos*xual desires. From a cultural perspective, we are seeing this unfold before our eyes as the culture is emasculated. With a weak masculine influence and the early s*xualization of boys through pornography and a hyper sexual culture, it seems obvious to me why we see an increase in homosexuality and now a push for same s*x marriage. This further emasculates men in society leading to more men dropping out of sight and off the radar of cultural influence.

    • kenneth

      Yes, that’s it. All the good marriageable men turned queer! In honor of this comment, I propose to create the George Alan Rekers Prize. The prize shall be awarded annually for the most ludicrous, homophobic and unsubstantiated speculations in the fields of social science and psychology.

    • Theodore Seeber

      So it’s homosexual desires that lead a man in his 50s to trade in his wife on two 20s?

      That’s got to be the stupidest thing said in this thread yet.

  • Andrew

    None here mention that Catholic marriage has a sacramental nature to it. You are married as a covenant between your spouse and God. Just as God is present in the Eucharist, so is he present in the sacrament of marriage. Not sure if this is 100% theologically correct but just as whether or not you believe Christ is present in the Eucharist, whether or not you choose to believe it, your marriage vows were sealed with the blood of Christ. You don’t walk away from just your spouse, but God. Believe that yourself, and teach this rigorously to anyone getting married in the Church, and while you might not eliminate the chance of divorce, you certainly will diminish it. I can’t comment or opine on the divorce culture outside the Church. But inside, the failures rest on most other failures – the failure to properly catechize. Whether it’s the lack of participation in confession, or a lackadaisical attitude about the Eucharist, or marriage, most times you’re not dealing with individuals willfully violating church teaching, but ignorant of it.

    Now, of course, humans are fallen and do stupid, selfish and evil things. Abuse and similarly-related awfulness means one partner is choosing to willfully nullify their part in the covenant. Just my tiny opinion but in a case like that I would hope that if the other partner has not willfully violated their marriage, and we know Christ can’t/wont, then rest on Divine Mercy that just as Christ would not want one to stay in an abusive or harmful situation, Christ wouldn’t exclude one from any further relationships in the future. I would like to think the Church would agree.

  • Susan in WA

    Just to point out … the article that Mark has referenced and linked to is in the NEW YORK TIMES and has nothing to do with the concept of Christian marriage much less Catholic marriage. The subject is of American marriages in general … currrently most of which have little to do with any religious orientation. Because Mark’s blog represents a Roman Catholic point of view, the response completely overlooks the actual point of the article and is hijacked by carlamariee’s personal experience and resentments with the Catholic Church’s understanding of a sacramental Catholic marriage as opposed to the secular legal marriage. Here’s the thing … if you do not believe what the Church teaches, leave, find another Church that better represents your beliefs and get married again. That is at least honest. And … Bob, Bob, Bob … get a grip. Any Catholic woman can choose to get married again if she wants to as long as it does not violate the rules of the USA. Her relationship with the Church is entirely up to her. Last I looked, there is no church with a basement full of captive women who want want to remarry but can’t because they cannot get an annulment. Nor does the Church stop a woman from seeking a divorce or seeking an annulment. Where there is domestic abuse, the Church is going to grant an annulment these days. (That assumes that there is some evidence of recognizable abuse.) Let’s deal with reality here.

    • Bob

      “Here’s the thing … if you do not believe what the Church teaches, leave, find another Church that better represents your beliefs and get married again.”
      Well, right. A lot of people have done just that. That’s the existential problem the church faces.
      “Any Catholic woman can choose to get married again if she wants to as long as it does not violate the rules of the USA. Her relationship itch the church is entirely up to her.”
      Well, right again, as with any non-Catholic woman or man. The problem is that she’s been raised to believe that if she does hat she’s an adulteress who deserves to go to Hell.

  • Adolfo

    It isn’t fair that a woman suffering domestic abuse and gets a civil divorce but not an annulment is denied re-marriage. I agree with that wholeheartedly. It isn’t fair in the slightest that a person has to suffer for the sins of another. That’s life, though, isn’t it? If my wife and kids are killed by a drunk driver, I am left to suffer for the sins of another and that’s not fair either. The price of living in a fallen world, I’m afraid. So we who call ourselves Christians ought to support and lift up others who are suffering unfairly. Lord knows, they need it.

  • Ben.M.

    When taking the vows, “for better or for worse”, what does “for worse” mean from the Church’s viewpoint?

    • carlamariee

      It means whatever your shared fate in the world, not whatever your partner does to you. The annulment process made that very clear.

  • http://revertedxer.blogspot.com/ Gen X Revert

    ” Last I looked, there is no church with a basement full of captive women who want want to remarry but can’t because they cannot get an annulment. Nor does the Church stop a woman from seeking a divorce or seeking an annulment. Where there is domestic abuse, the Church is going to grant an annulment these days. (That assumes that there is some evidence of recognizable abuse.) Let’s deal with reality here”

    Agreed – I also think we Catholics have to do a better j0b of making men into good husbands, because I do not believe we have done a good job lately.

  • Michael Matthew

    I assume Theodore’s and Kenneth’s last comments are directed at my last entry. Obviously my point was not well communicated. Here is what I am NOT proposing as you suggest in your comments:

    That “all the good marriageable men turned queer” (Kenneth) nor ” homos*xual desires that lead a man in his 50s to trade in his wife on two 20s” (Theodore.) I am not proposing that married men are turning queer and thus are dropping out of the marriage scene. (although technically, as more men “marry” other men, then yes, they are dropping out of the heteros*xual marriage scene.)

    What I am proposing is this: From a male heteros*xual perspective, as the culture at large neutralizes or downplays heteros*xual masculinity through same s*x marriage, the ever growing population of women assuming formerly male roles in the work place, and the general emasculation of the concept of marriage, it appears that more male heteros*xuals are dropping out of the marriage scene all together. I suspect many just throw in the towel as the see no uniqueness nor compelling reason to be married. Why bother if you are a male heterosexual?

    I am not blaming nor castigating women and homos*xuals. I am just making the observation and opinion that as the role of women increase and more men marry other men, the role of heteros*xual males decreases. I also know that this is not some universal trend that all heteros*xual men follow. I often say and truly believe that women rule the world. They just let men think they do.

    And Kenneth, I am so homophobic as you suggest, that I personally treat and take care of numerous homos*xual men in my medical practice. I probably know these men on a more personal and intimate level, and have great love and respect for them than most people in our culture. I not only interact with them as patients, but have wonderful friendships with them from church, my workplace, and the general community.

    • kenneth

      Why would the existence or greater freedom to live openly or marry by gay men have any influence whatsoever on a hetero man’s decision to marry? “Since my gay friend married a guy, I just don’t see any point in marrying a woman”? How does that follow? Even if straight men were somehow modeling their gay peers, one would think the opposite would be true. LGBT folk are just about the only group left with a high level of enthusiasm for the institution of secular marriage. Your ideas of what causes homosexuality are Victorian, at best, and not something I would have expected to hear from a medical man. If absent fathers, exposure to porn and early loss of virginity caused men to be gay, we would not be having a debate about gay marriage. They would hold a veto-proof majority in Congress.

  • http://www.unholysilence.com Father Kevin Lee

    Hi Carlamariee, your story reminds me of what I hated about my role as a Catholic priest. We used to sit in judgement over those whose marriages had failed for reasons not of their doing and we were expected to tell them to refrain from entering a new relationship or if they did, refuse them Holy Communion!
    The Catholic Tribunal process was much more damaging to the faith of the victim in a violent relationship as they were re-traumatised by having to re-tell their story to a total stranger..and often get no positive outcome from the process. I wrote my experience in my book Unholy Silence which also talks about the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable people who came to priests looking for spiritual guidance when their relationships or lives became so complicated they looked upwards for God. It is the greatest tragedy to see so many people lose their trust in God because they thought they could meet Him in the persona of a priest, many of whom were damaged goods themselves!

  • al

    I want out of this madhouse…

  • Michael Matthew

    Sarcasm alert. Please turn on your sarcasm detector.

    From Theodore Seeber to Michael Matthew

    “So it’s homosexual desires that lead a man in his 50s to trade in his wife on two 20s?

    That’s got to be the stupidest thing said in this thread yet.”

    At present, it appears that I hold the title of “The stupidest thing said in this thread yet. ”

    I am honored for such a worthy title but I know the competition is tough but feel confident I can win this award. The winner will be presented the coveted “Seebie” trophy in honor of Mr. Seeber. Nominations are still be taken and will close at the discretion of Mr. Shea.

    Also, from a previously deleted post from Kenneth to Michael Matthew

    He apparently nominated me for the newly established annual Alan Rekers Award for saying “homophobic” remarks and for alluding to research from NARTH, that horribly discredited organization that dares to look into the psychological origins of same sex attraction.

    Nominations are still being taken for this great honor. All nominees should possess the charism of hypocrisy (ie: say one thing and do another such as Dr. Rekers), be descendants of Adam with original sin, and have St. Peter, the patron saint of hypocrisy as there intercessor. Nominations are still being taken for this award but will close at midnight tonight, Pacific time.

    St. Peter, patron of hypocrites, pray for us.

  • Michael Matthew

    Kenneth: your comments are appreciated. Sorry for the sarcasm. It is My feeble attempt at trying to be humorous, not malicious. I am not saying that gay marriage, pornography, and absent fathers CAUSES homos*xuality, but it could be an environment where a man is more likely to develop, express, or however you want to describe it , go down a path of SSA. Admittedly, In my very small world of medicine I can not draw large conclusions. But coincidently, all the homos*xual men I know in my practice had crappy or nonexistent fathers and had very young s*xual encounters as early as 6 years of age. I know this does not extrapolate to all homos*xuals Whether one likes the research and discussion at NARTH, there is reasonable science and theory proposed through them. I hardly would call it Victorian if you have not at least reviewed their research and writings. And I assume you are familiar with NARTH. If not, check it out at NaRTH.com. I am not int the medical business of converting homos*xuals to heteros*xuals. What I am though trying to do is help people find healing and understanding. I am not specifically a psychologist , but I am always counseling patients and try leading them to better understanding of who they are. It is naive to think that our s*xual experiences early in life do not profoundly affect us as Human beings. This applies to hetero and homosexual encounters and I think that is at the heart of NARTH, not Victorian attitudes trying to change the homos*xual world.

    • kenneth

      I’m well aware of NARTH. It’s junk science institute which has never produced any original research that would pass muster with ordinary standards of statistical integrity and peer review. It has no standing as a professional organization and some of its leading members or former members like Rekers have been thoroughly discredited as expert witnesses before courts on the issue, including courts in conservative jurisdictions. The outfit doesn’t even have a tax-exempt status anymore. NARTH’s “science” on human sexuality and pyschology has as much science behind it as homeopathy, radium water and coffee enemas for cancer. Whether you believe homosexuality is a bad thing is of course your business, but I’d be very careful about trusting your treatment decisions and license on NARTH’s literature. A plaintiff’s lawyer or a licensing board would make hamster bedding out of it in about five minutes.


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