On January 1st, Mary's Advocates published an open letter to a canon law professor at Catholic University of America challenging his teaching that the Catholic Church is not interested in divorce courts’ determinations about the obligations of a man and woman toward each other and their children.
Rev. John Beal essentially said that the Catholic Church has relegated all those judgments to the divorce courts. This is absurd. The shortsightedness of Fr. Beal’s position is even more apparent when considering the practice of U.S. divorce courts.
American political science professor, Stephen Baskerville, spoke recently at a seminar in Serbia about the injustices prevalent in divorce. He’s the author of Taken into Custody, the War Against Fatherhood, Marriage and the Family, published in 2007, and the new book The Politics of Sex. The seminar topic was: “Politics of divorce, about the problems of family law based on Baskerville’s book, Taken into Custody.”
Baskerville originally had the mistaken impression that divorce occurs when both parties wanted it. If both parties didn’t want divorce, he thought the courts would administer justice against the person who was guilty of wrongdoing, such as adultery, abandonment, or abuse. When he heard about the problem of “deadbeat dads,” Baskerville used to think that those dads were guilty of marital abandonment and doubly-guilty of not supporting their family thereafter. He at least thought the dads had wanted divorces and agreed to pay support, and were guilty of failing to pay.
According to Baskerville, he had no religious upbringing and believed that marriage was an important two-way agreement wherein both parties were bound to uphold their promises.
He later learned the truth. The divorce system is a vast legal underworld based in a political power grab, full of human rights violations. Most divorces are filed against an innocent party who is not guilty of any transgressions (criminal/civil or against the marriage promises). The divorce Defendant finds his children and property are taken away and he can be jailed without the protections required in a just court system.
When Baskerville made these discoveries, he was met with disinterest when he contacted organizations that purport to work for justice. He contacted the Church which he figured would care because they marry people, but he was disappointed by the Church’s non-response.
Stephen Baskerville, Patrick Henry College
Because of his political science background, Baskerville believes he had an advantage over most divorce defendants. He could, at least, articulate what was wrong. He knew that no one was supposed to be summoned to court unless he or she had been accused of some wrongdoing or transgression; otherwise we have the right to be left alone by the courts. The divorce courts are the only courts in existence in which defendants can be summoned and have their rights violated with no accusation of a wrongdoing.
Baskerville explains how divorce in the U.S. has become a systematized practice of extortion, and even kidnapping. “The courts are stealing your children and forcing you to pay for it.” There is a political power grab occurring. The concept of no-fault justice is poisoning the political system. “Virtually every article in the American Bill of Rights is routinely violated in family court.” The U.S. constitution forbids states from making laws impairing on the obligations of contracts but Baskerville sees, “The marriage contract, of all, was simply abrogated, simply ignored, simply violated. Not simply not enforced by the state, but violated by the state.”
False domestic violence accusations are made in the courts all the time, says Baskerville, for the purpose of getting control of the household after the father has been forced out of his own home. He says, “It is quite clear there was an ulterior motive here. It wasn’t just to punish transgressions. It was a ploy to grab power … a grab for the children, a grab for the property.”
While Baskerville was ignored when he contacted the Church about the injustices in divorce, Mary’s Advocates has worked to change the Church’s reaction.
Mary’s Advocates publicizes the Catechism and Canon Law teaching about separation and divorce and works to educate Catholics in positions of responsibility to correct Catholics who force divorce on their families. The Catholic Church in the U.S. never relegated to the civil courts competence to judge obligations of Catholics in cases of separation, divorce, or annulment.
Catholics need to recover from the Church’s power grab that was orchestrated by those inside pushing the Church to embrace the sexual revolution.
Bai Macfarlane is the founder of Mary's Advocates.