On the Mary's Advocates website is an essay by Dr. Donald Asci, a professor of theology at Franciscan University at Steubenville. It is titled The Evil of Divorce and the Dignity of the Human Person – Understanding the Immorality of Divorce through St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Also available at the website is a 3-minute video synopsis by Dr. Asci.
 
In 2000, Asci earned his Doctorate of Sacred Theology Summa Cum Laude, Specialization in Moral Theology, from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.  He also has a Masters degree from JPII Institute for Studies in Marriage and the Family, and his Licentiate in Systematic Theology. 
 
At the non-profit organization Mary’s Advocates, I work to reduce unilateral no-fault divorce and support those who are unjustly abandoned. In unilateral no-fault divorce, those who control the split of everything, view marriage obligations in a way that is diametrically opposed to the Christian and Catholic understanding. In no-fault divorce, no distinction is made between the party who reneges on the marriage promises, and the party who is counting on those promises to be upheld. In 2015, I presented a paper in Rome at a symposium with welcome letter by Cardinal Raymond Burke.
 
Below, are shown some excerpts from Dr. Donald Asci’s essay.
 
… the basic Catholic doctrine on the immorality of divorce seems to have faded from the consciousness of Catholics and from the pastoral work of the Church in recent years. In my work over the past two decades I have certainly encountered a prevalent ignorance among Catholics regarding the immorality of divorce, with many sincere people even expressing the belief that divorce is not immoral but only becomes immoral when coupled with a civil marriage to a second person. 
 
… With this notion of divorce in place, key distinctions can be drawn between divorce and civil divorce, separation, and annulment in Catholic doctrine.
 
… The considerable difference at the level of divorce could also lead to a considerable difference on the moral, spiritual, and sacramental situations of those involved in the divorce, for the victim innocently suffers the immorality of the divorce while the other commits a gravely immoral act by the choice to divorce.
 
… the spousal meaning of the body leads away from the notion of an extrinsic, instrumental, or limited value of the human person. In other words, the spousal meaning of the body precludes treating the person as something that proves useful for fulfilling one’s desires so long as those desires last.
 
… By claiming to “break the contract, to which the spouses have freely consented,” divorce contradicts the truth expressed by the spousal meaning of the body since this truth is the basis of that consent and contract whereby the spousal identity is given and received. Just as “I take you as my wife/husband” affirms the spousal meaning of the body, to claim “You are no longer my wife/husband” negates the recognition of the spousal meaning of the body of the wife or husband. In this way divorce contradicts the intrinsic value of the person against whom the claim of divorce has been made. If the spousal identity can be revoked, the value upon which that identity is based can be lost. Since it claims to revoke the spousal identity, divorce claims, at some level, that a person has lost his or her value or worth. Claiming that someone has lost his or her worth is a clear affront to the inherent dignity of the person.
 
… Attempts to justify divorce invariably center on so-called insurmountable difficulties that lead to irrecon­cilable difference among the spouses, and divorce is presented as the logical solution to this supposedly irreparable situation. However, the rationale of this approach to divorce depends upon the notion that marital difficulties can be insurmountable, and this runs directly contrary to Catholic doctrine on the grace of the sacrament of marriage.
 
… divorce aligns itself closely with the culture of death by its method of discarding those spouses who have lost their value, and likewise divorce must be opposed by Catholics as a matter of opposing the culture of death.
 
… divorce aligns itself closely with the culture of death by its method of discarding those spouses who have lost their value, and likewise divorce must be opposed by Catholics as a matter of opposing the culture of death. 
 
… The Church would appear hypocriti­cal if it turned a blind eye to the consumption and discarding of a spouse through divorce but then tried to speak out against the consumerism of sex trafficking and pornography.
 
Watch the 3-minute video or read full essay HERE.

Spero News columnist Bai Macfarlane is the founder of Mary's Advocates. 



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