A report from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that the public’s acceptance of divorce is dwindling for cases in which the parties to a marriage just don’t work out their problems. Films exposing the negative impact of divorce and upholding the traditional family are becoming more popular according to April 26 story in Aleteia.
In a statement released by Mary’s Advocates – a non-profit that defends traditional marriage and assists couples to stay married – founder Bai Macfarlane that she seeks to enable the Catholic Church of which she is a member to “be part of these changing trends in a formal way, on a case-by-case basis.”
The statement said that Mary’s Advocates seeks to change how communities respond to marriages in crisis and thus prevent break-ups. The group also supports those who remain faithful to their marriage, even after being reluctantly divorced.
On the Mary’s Advocates website, a template petition is available for downloading to assist Catholic couples to seek help from their Church to intervene in a marriage crisis by utilizing the church’s Code of Canon Law.
In the statement, spouses in a trouble marriage can ask the Church to instruct both to participate in expert mediation in the hope of reconciliation. “If one spouse is unwilling to work on improving the marriage, the canon law still shows the bishop has authority to determine what kind of separation plan would be in accord with divine law. He also can instruct parties of their obligations,” writes Macfarlane in the statement.
The elements of the laws of the Catholic Church equips each diocese to direct the parties in a trouble marriage to seek mediation with a reputable person. Macfarlane points out that Pope Francis, in his recently-released apostolic exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia’, writes about mediation too. The pope noted that the bishops who met late last year in the synod on marriage and the family said how important the pastoral care of those couples who have “unjustly endured separation, divorce or abandonment,” for example. The pope wrote, “Pastoral care must necessarily include efforts at reconciliation and mediation, through the establishment of specialized counselling centres in dioceses’."
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.