Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Letters to the Editor
(From the July 21, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)
“I’m Catholic, and I don’t believe in divorce.” So many people who have attended my Catholic’s Divorce Survival Guide program have made this very statement. Finding a way to come to terms with the beliefs and promises they hold sacred while facing the reality of a damaged marriage is extremely challenging.
Recently, Pope Francis stated that he believed, “Many sacramental marriages today are not valid because couples do not enter into them with a proper understanding of permanence and commitment.” I have found this to be very true in my experience of providing the five 12-week sessions of The Catholic’s Divorce Survival Guide in our Diocese of Spokane.
There are no easy answers for people who don’t believe in divorce yet find that their marriages have ended. Even when it seems they have exhausted every possible means to make their marriages work, they are powerless if the other spouse decides it’s over. Whether for reasons of infidelity, abuse, addictions or finances, when one of the spouses decides he or she is moving out, what are the solutions for the one who feels committed to their vows? How true the statement that it takes two people to make a marriage, but it only takes one to end it. When only one of the marriage partners holds true their marital vows, divorce seems inevitable. And enduring pain prevails as a myriad of questions go unanswered.
Someone who attended one of my past sessions was searching for a way to describe her feelings about her marriage ending. She used the imagery of a person left holding the string when the balloon flies away.
A gentleman, over a period of time, found some answers that made sense to him and expressed his feelings, stating, “You can only achieve a solution through a relationship with a loving and forgiving God – a loving God who will guide you to forgiveness of yourself and your spouse.” Reconciling himself to the fact that he did all he could but could not keep his shattered marriage together, he noted that we are not perfect individuals. Therefore, our marriages are often imperfect. His statement reminds me that salvation is ours for the asking through our Lord, Jesus Christ.
To find support and answers to the questions you have – help is available. You can contact me through my website – www.catholicdivorced.org – or by phone: (509) 468-8429.
Donna Petrocelli, Spokane
Recent events have made it clear that our nation – like the Israel to which the prophets have been preaching in recent weeks’ readings or the lake-towns Christ condemned in today’s Gospel (Mt 11:20-24) – is in desperate need of conversion. Perhaps some in our community would consider joining me in pleading for that conversion by occasionally saying the following prayer. Attributed to a Rhode Island minister, George Lyman Locke, it first appeared in an earlier version in the (Anglican) Book of Common Prayer in the 1880s.
Almighty God, you have given us this good land for our heritage.
Bless our land with honorable endeavor,
Save us from violence, discord, and confusion,
Defend our liberties
Endow with the Spirit of wisdom
In time of prosperity
We ask all of this through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
What more could we ask for our country – now, or ever?
Michael Cain, Spokane
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