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Divorce not an option according to my priest?

Old 11-30-2008, 02:38 PM
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Divorce not an option according to my priest?

I was brought up in the catholic church. I attended catholic grade school, high school and college. I do not attend church on a regular basis but have always had and have a personal relationship with God. I have sought out the advice of priests after the death of my mom and husband. I have never sought out advice on the subject of AH. Mostly because he is a non-believer and I was ashamed to say that I was in a relationship with a non-believer.
So, I did meet with a priest from my local church (I have yet to become a member). In short I told him of all that has happened between AH and myself over the years. He was very compassionate and understanding. I told him I was ready to divorce my AH. He told me that the Bible sees divorce as an abomination. That we (I) stood before God and made a life commitment to this eachother. He reminded me of the vows I had spoken. His advice to me was that we are now one in body and flesh. And although I should not condone his behavior and way of life, I should read more into the Bible on what God says of marriage. He suggested I do this before I go and file for a divorce. I am so confused. He told me to trust in God, to remain steadfast in my commitment to my marriage no matter how painful and God promises if I follow his word as he states in the Bible He will heal this shattered relationship. Even if the sick one AH is a non-believer. UGH!!!!!!!! I am so confused.
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Old 11-30-2008, 02:55 PM
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I was raised Catholic too and understand your confusion. The big question is what is more important to you -- the rules of the Catholic church or divorcing your husband?
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Old 11-30-2008, 03:09 PM
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Blizzard,
The Catholic Church allows for an annulment,
Which this priest *should* have mentioned to you!

An annulment means that the marriage, in the eyes of G*D, never really existed.
If there are children, they are still valid children, however.
But, that the sacred vow of marrage never existed because one or both of you were unable to fully commit and make a union of the two of you.

The annulment process is not easy. It's like a divorce was back in the old days, when one had to prove fault with the other. And the Church has to approve it. And it costs. But, I've had friends who were devout Catholics and just could not go through with a civil divorce. They did, however, get an annulment and remarry, in the Church.

BTW, a divorced person cannot receive the sacraments in the church, and cannot remarry in the church, but, is still a Catholic. They are not ex-communicated. So, Chino's point is also valid. You *can* divorce and remain a Catholic.

Or you can even change your religion if you find that it's not working for you anymore. Many have. I left the Catholic Church years ago, and found one that was far more spiritually valid -- for *me.* Not saying that is for everyone; just sharing what worked for me. And it didn't entail a divorce. But, it *is* an option.

I just want you to know that you are *NOT* stuck in a marriage with an addict!
And that priest was stuck in 1950s thinking and behavior by giving you that advice. SHAME on him! Too many women ended up dead when priests and ministers told abused women to go home and be better wives to their husbands, and G*D would make it work out.

G*D helps those who help themselves.

You have choices. We're here to support you in whatever choice *you* decide is right for *you!*

G*D bless you.

Shalom!
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Old 11-30-2008, 03:11 PM
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If this man is a non believer, did he marry you in the Catholic Church? And as I recall my teachings in order to be married by a priest he would have to have agreed to convert.

I ask this because,

1. if he never converted and a priest did marry you, then you can petition Rome for an annulment.

2. if you were not married by a priest, then the church does not consider you married to begin with and really has no jurisdiction over your marriage or divorce.

Other than that, go with your gut, NO ONE, priest or not, has the right or 'authority' to tell you that you MUST stay married to this man.

J M H O based on my own experiences within and outside a Church that forces 'man made laws' versus 'god mad laws' on their members.

Love and hugs,
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Old 11-30-2008, 03:19 PM
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J M H O based on my own experiences within and outside a Church that forces 'man made laws' versus 'god made laws' on their members.
Could not have said it better. There are many man made laws in organized religions and if one studies the history of the church, the laws change depending on the climate. (obvious example is why was it a huge sin 40 or 50 years ago to eat meat on Friday and now it is no big deal?)

Religion is sometimes a sticky subject for people. I have found spirituality and peace by treating others as I would like to be treated, valuing diversity and listening for that quiet inner voice that lets me know my higher power is guiding me. Hugs.
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Old 11-30-2008, 04:35 PM
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Blizzard 77:

You are getting contradictory messages in answer to your OP. For instance, I am a divorced person who converted to the Catholic church, went through RCIA, and have always been able to receive the Body and Blood from the time i came in - and of course after the priest went over my situation with me - so i would say the a civil divorce does not exclude one from partaking but rather a re-marriage -

HOWEVER, that is not your question or your concerns right now. My suggestion is to talk to another priest. Addiction is a mental illness and is not conducive to the health and stability of the immediate family which the Catholic church finds to be of utmost importance. Again, I strongly suggest talking to another priest and doing some research within the Catholic church-approved literature - we here at this site are a bunch of lay people who, while we have the best of intentions for you and your family, are not the best suited to give correct Catholic advice - I hope you are pleasantly surprised by what you learn...
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Old 11-30-2008, 04:56 PM
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(((Blizzard)))
I am catholic, my experience has been. There are different churches and different priests, within the catholic church. For instance one church here, does gay marriages.
Has for years. They also allow the sacraments without an annullment.

I also struggled with what you are stuggling with.
One of the wisest words said to me.. from a nun.
She told me, "Honey this is not heaven, this is earth. We are born with free will, we choose. Some people simply choose not to be in Gods Plan.. there is not a lot our God can do about that. All he can do is protect you OR give you the strength to bear it."

Blizzard- this helped me- detach.
One night I had a dream, my husband was in it. He was not sick anymore, he was the man I had fallen in love with and married, had kids with. He asked me, "why didn't you take better care of my son's?? I was sick.. I couldn't."

Don't know who that guy who is walking around in his body is today!
But- that was the guy I was married to.
Take care
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Old 11-30-2008, 05:03 PM
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blizzard, I was raised a Catholic also. Completed the sacraments, got married in the church, baptized my son, etc.

I haven't been to church in a long time; I consider myself spiritual more than religious, but still value the belief system I was brought up with. When I stood at that alter and took my vows, I meant it for life. I wanted more than anything to spend the rest of my life with my husband -- in sickness and in health, etc, etc, etc. Yet....

It took me a long time to come to terms with the idea of divorce. I am still married, but now accept that if I decide to divorce, I will have given my all -- and then some -- to make the marriage work.

Here are some things I have come to understand for myself:

*Marriage takes two; if my AH isn't willing to put the same effort into it, there isn't much I can do to change that. He chooses to give up on the marriage every time he uses.
*I don't believe my HP wants me to stay in a destructive marriage, one in which I was becoming just as sick as my AH.
*Living with an addict has caused me depression, stress, and health problems. Anyone who wants me to live with that for the rest of my life doesn't truly care about me.
*I needed to stop letting guilt make me do things that are damaging to my soul.

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best...

Hugs--
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Old 12-01-2008, 06:31 AM
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I am not Catholic but was raised Lutheran which has a lot of the same doctrines as the Catholic church. I have struggled with similar issues. I dont believe that anyone can tell you what to do as far as your relationship with your HP. I did find that for me, I began to look at my relationship with HP as a personal relationship. I studied the bible and sought my answers and once i found peace in that i was able to make my decision. I myself dont believe in divorce but will be getting one soon because i have been abandoned. I do have the benefit of my church's blessing and approval under my circumstances because abandonment is one of the approved reasons for divorce so I understand your desire to have the church condone any decision. I would only suggest that you dont do anything until you have peace with the decision whether it be through your church or alone. You may want to talk to other priests who may be more helpful in your situation. I do have a Catholic friend who is in similar circumstances with you and she is seeking annulment so that may be a good way to go in your situation. Again, read the bible yourself - I have an exhaustive concordance and would be happy to send you all the passages that refer to marriage and divorce if it would be helpful to you.
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Old 12-01-2008, 07:45 AM
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Question

[QUOTE=itisatruth;2005533]blizzard,

*Marriage takes two; if my AH isn't willing to put the same effort into it, there isn't much I can do to change that. He chooses to give up on the marriage every time he uses.
*I don't believe my HP wants me to stay in a destructive marriage, one in which I was becoming just as sick as my AH.
*Living with an addict has caused me depression, stress, and health problems. Anyone who wants me to live with that for the rest of my life doesn't truly care about me.
*I needed to stop letting guilt make me do things that are damaging to my soul.


I appreciate all of your responses and sharing your thoughts and experiences on the situation. I went to see a priest at the urging of my step mom. I've talked to and have seen just about everyone else over the past eleven years but never sought out guidance from a priest. I was married in my home by an ordained minister (female) had to throw that in there, so I never thought that the church does not recognize the marriage (good point Laurie). As for the rules: I am pro-choice, I do not believe being gay is a choice nor a sin. I have a personal relationship with God that is not confined within the walls of any church. But, I haven't nourished that relationship as I should have. That is first on my list of taking care of myself. I don't know if I want a divorce yet and since we are separated by many miles I realize I don't have to make a decision right this minute. My AH is as I've said a non-believer. I've never pushed my beliefs down his throat. This last situation in which he OD'd, by all accounts he should be dead. I see this happen at least monthly in my line of work and to people who didn't ingest half as much opiates/benzo's as he did. His liver function tests were so bad as well as his kidney's. He SHOULD have by all scientific measures been dead or went into respiratory failure and on a vent brain dead. I spoke with the Doc, who said " I can't believe he survived this". Being that he is in active addiction we all know he thinks very differently than non-addicts so I don't believe he has really grasped the severity of what he had done and the miracle of surviving it. I believe it was divine intervention that saved him.
We've not spoken much since he's been gone and I haven't brought any of this up to him. I know I can't save him or make him believe but I do think God guides people through other people. Of course I have to feed myself before I can feed anyone else. I am nourishing my spiritual self for me. I can't go it alone. I need God in my life and I am renewing my relationship with him. In doing so I've felt my extreme anger lessen, I am now able to accept AH for who he is and not who I want him to be. I don't feel alone even though I live alone miles away from my family. Instead of isolating myself I have reached out to others. In short I am doing things for me. I am concentrating on myself for once. The no contact rule is for me. Yes, I've slipped up but I find the more practice I get the easier it gets. I want AH to know how blessed he is to be walking this earth. I want him to think about that, and cherish the life he has. My intention is not to make him believe but plant a seed in his head that just maybe there is a power greater than himself, that he can discover. That may help him with his inner demons that he struggles with. He NEVER had any spiritual guidance growing up from anyone in his family. So, in continuing to nourish my relationship with my God do I pray to him to guide AH or do I attempt to plant a seed that may grow or may not even be considered. I don't have any expectations that he will see the light or be saved etc. I have proven that I can set boundaries with him and follow through. That's why he no longer lives here. I prayed about this before I went to work last night. I asked God for some kind of sign. Many hours later I received an admission to my floor who had accidentally OD'd on his pain pills. Has chronic pain from a MVA several yrs ago in which he sustained multiple broken bones and internal injuries but survived. In completing his admission history he tells me the accident was drug/alcohol related. Stated he has a history of drug and alcohol abuse. I have to ask how long he's been sober for my assessment he says 10yrs. I asked him how he quit? He said I found God. "I survived for a reason" and now he helps others. I didn't mention my personal issues with him as that is unprofessional but I walked out of his room and thought is this my sign from God that I asked for?? :praying
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Old 12-01-2008, 08:13 AM
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WE seem to have alot in common. I was raised in the Catholic Church also. I am also a BSN. My 1st marriage was to a " believer " and we were married in the Catholic Church. He turned out to be a Compulsive Gambler. I spent the next 10 yrs of my life trying to make it work but it was impossible. I divorced him, remarried him then divorced him for good. I stayed alone for 8 yrs before meeting, and marrying my present husband. He was Catholic also and a widow so I went to my priest and had no problem getting an Annulment. That was in 85, it cost me only $250 at the time.
If you marry in the church and your husband doesn't live up to his duties, and committment there are grounds for Annulment. Being your AH is not a Believer I don't believe the church recognizes the marriage.
Do what is best for you. As you said you are not planning to get married right now so there is no reason to hurry with a divorce. I didn't seek my divorce the 2nd time until I was ready & did not look into an Annulment until I was engaged to my present husband who is Catholic. We both wanted to be married in the church. In 84 I had a civil ceremony & in 86 was married by our parish priest.
Wishing you the best of luck.
Try dropping that Catholic girl guilt thing...........we all have it!
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Old 12-01-2008, 08:50 AM
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Blizzard...

I'm Catholic also.
The GUILT I suffered as I contemplated divorce was overwhelming sometimes.

I did divorce my exah and I did so with a clear conscience after lots of prayer and contemplation, I truly believe that God knows what I went thru, how hard I tried, and why I finally decided to file for divorce. I believe he was with me every step of the way. Divorce is a legal act. The church doesn't recognize a civil divorce...in the church's eyes you remain married until the marraige is annulled. So even if you file for divorce to protect yourself legally, that doesn't mean a thing to the church. In my case, it was absolutely necessary to protect myself and our son from legal and economic fall out from my exah's addiction.

After the divorce became final, I still felt married in the eyes of God. In fact, because I haven't sought an annulment yet, I am still married in the eyes of the church. I went to see my parish priest about an annulment. He said the grounds for an annulment are present and that I would probably be granted an annulment if I applied for one. I haven't taken this step yet. I guess I'm just not at that point yet.

I guess what I'm saying is that a divorce is a legal process. The church has its own. They aren't one and the same. You don't have to clear both hurdles at once.

You don 't have to make any decisions today. But it might not hurt to consult with an attorney to make sure that you are not at risk financially or legally for your AH's behavior and decisions. Even if a full blown divorce isn't necessary, sometimes a legal separation will protect you from the consequences of their behavior.

Sending hugs and support your way...
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:15 AM
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How catholic are you? Do you attend mass every Sunday? Do you receive communion every week? Do you go to confession every week? You are still eligible for all sacraments, even if you are divorced. Its remarriage in the catholic church that is a difficulty. Then you need an annulment. Divorce is a legal process only. You can still recieve communion. God still loves you.

You may be getting a bit ahead of yourself. Have you moved out or do the two of you still live together? Living seperately from your drug addict husband is not the same as divorce. Maybe your leaving is what it's going to take for your husband to stop using drugs. Maybe leaving him is the best way to support him in his recovery.

Protect your sanity and your children's future.
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:19 AM
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Non-practicing Catholic here, raised in a very strict Catholic home.

Bottom line for me is when I began my journey into recovery, I had to find a higher power that worked for me, and that higher power did not coincide with my Catholic upbringing.

There was no confusion whatsoever when I left the psychotic violent EXAH.
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:25 PM
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Since you were not married in the church, the church does not recognize your marriage. Therefore, you are free to disolve it, from a legal perspective.
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by blizzard77 View Post
I was married in my home by an ordained minister (female) had to throw that in there, so I never thought that the church does not recognize the marriage (good point Laurie).

So, in continuing to nourish my relationship with my God do I pray to him to guide AH or do I attempt to plant a seed that may grow or may not even be considered. I don't have any expectations that he will see the light or be saved etc.

"I survived for a reason" and now he helps others.
Those three things stood out to me. The first one because Catholic dogma doesn't apply to your marriage since it doesn't exist in their eyes. Be aware that you if join a church you won't be allowed to receive the sacraments.

The second thing: I prayed and prayed that God would guide my daughter, that she would find a personal relationship with a Higher Power. The only thing I ever said to her about it when the topic came up, was that she made a lousy God since there was no serenity in her life without drugs. She believes in God now and her life is better.

Third: I think that man and his words were divine intervention. He's giving you hope. Whether you remain married or not, there is always hope your AH will find a HP.
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Old 12-01-2008, 07:24 PM
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I am a practicing Catholic - raised in a devout family with many relatives involved in the Church. My uncle is a priest and I have had many conversations about this very subject with him. According to him, and another priest friend I have asked - divorce is a personal decision and while the Church isn't thrilled when a marriage ends in divorce, it is not always the wrong thing to do. The Catholic Church views addiction as a disease like any other but with one exception - recovery depends entirely on the addict complying with treatment. If the partner does not comply, is not willing to comply (or seek help) and continously puts the marriage partner and/or children in danger, it is considered a form of abandonment and sometimes abuse of the marriage vows - therefore allowing the spouse to seek an annullment and divorce. Priests are allowed to explain Church laws with some degree of personal perspective. Find another, more practical priest to talk to about this and I'm sure you will find peace with whatever decision you make. Good luck and God bless.
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Old 12-01-2008, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by outtolunch View Post
Since you were not married in the church, the church does not recognize your marriage. Therefore, you are free to disolve it, from a legal perspective.
Yeap. I am getting ready for Law school and have studied canon law for quite a few years. In fact, I still may go on to get a degree in Catholic Canon Law once I finish my JD.

First, annulment only applies if you were married in a church by a priest. In the Church there are two types of marriage: a civil marriage and the sacrament of marriage. The first is a regular legal marriage, the second is a marriage inside a church.
Second, which doesn't pertain to you- one can always apply for an annulment if they were married in the Church
Third, you can participate in the sacraments even if divorced as long as you have not remarried (or you aren't having an intimate relationship)
Fourth, if you have any concerns, it never hurts to go through the sacrament of reconciliation with an understanding priest.
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:29 AM
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I am not and have never been Catholic. However, I was raised in the beliefs and traditions of Protestant churches and honestly believed that when I got married, it was forever. However, when my now ex-husband began smoking MJ daily and taking steroids - - causing rages which caused me to physically fear him - - I talked to our Pastor. This is how he explained it to me that freed me to make the decision that I needed to make without feeling guilty or condemned. Obviously there are lots of issues that we deal with today that weren't issues in Biblical times, at least not that we know of. Drug abuse is one of those. The Bible does, very specifically, talk about infidelity as grounds for divorce. My Pastor made it very clear to me that my husband was "cheating" on me with these drugs, and allowing them to defile my marriage. It amazed me, because that's exactly how it felt........like the drugs were his mistress and I was no longer willing to tolerate her in my life. Obviously, I chose divorce - - this may or may not be the choice you decide for your life, but the choice is YOURS........not the choice of some priest or church who has never walked in your shoes............

Good luck to you!!
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:49 AM
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HUGS and prayers to you my friend - sound slike you are in a very painful place.

Sending out good thoughts that thru your relationship with the God of your understanding you will know what is best for you and most of all that you will know that your God/Higher Power loves you unconditionally.

HUGS,
Rita
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