Virtually all Christian religions other than the Catholic Church allow for divorce and remarriage. Their reasons may differ and they may preach vehemently against it, but ultimately they allow it.
Most Catholic apologists will point to the protestant misinterpretation of Matthew 19:9 where Jesus seems to allow divorce for reasons of “fornication” or “adultery” depending on which version you are reading. Whereas Protestants take this passage as permission to divorce and remarry, the Catholic Church, while allowing for the physical separation of the spouses for a variety of good reasons, still does not allow for remarriage.
(Some scholars point out that the original Greek word used in this passage – and still used by some translations- is “pornea”, and that “pornea” does not refer to adultery but to illicit union such as a marriage between two close relatives.)
Dr. Robert Morgan, in his recent visit to Guam, pointed out that the further away one gets from Catholic truth, the further one gets from the true understanding of the person of Christ. As evidence of this he pointed out that most Protestants will not refer to Mary as the “Mother of God”. To not accept Mary as the Mother of God and address her as such is to deny the fundamental truth of the Trinity: that there are three persons in one God, that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Blessed Trinity, and that Mary is His Mother.
So what does this have to do with divorce? The Catholic Church teaches that though a full understanding of the Trinity is not possible in this life, there are some things we do know:
- That God is a community of persons: Father, Son, & Holy Spirit
- That it is the Father eternally loving the Son that begets the Spirit
- That we are made in the image of the Trinity (Gen 1:26-27)
There is only one other reference in Scripture to a community of persons comprising a single being and that would be Marriage: “…and the two shall become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). This union physically manifests itself in the birth of a third person and thus images the Trinity in an earthly way.
Because the Trinity is indissoluble, Marriage is indissoluble. The Godhead cannot be broken and reassembled. Neither can Marriage. Jesus reminds us that this in fact is God’s design when, commenting on the leniency of Moses to allow divorce, He says “from the beginning it was not so”. (Mat 19:8) Emphasis is on the word “beginning” which is the word “genesis”.
It follows then that if one does not accept the Trinity as an indissoluble community of persons, then one can easily allow for the dissolubility of that other community of persons. In fact, this is exactly what happens. The willingness to allow for divorce and remarriage evinces a fundamental denial of the nature of the Trinity.
Protestants will argue otherwise but the litmus test remains whether or not they can address Mary as “Mother of God”. “Mother of God” is more than just another affectionate title, it is our guarantee that Jesus is in fact: “God with us”, God Himself. To deny that Mary is the “Mother of God” is to deny that Jesus is God. To deny that Jesus is God is to deny the Trinity. To deny the Trinity is to deny all that God has revealed to us about Himself…including His Son.
Divorce then is both symptom and cause: symptom in the sense that divorce evinces a fundamental misunderstanding of the Trinity and God’s design for Marriage; and cause in the sense that divorce, because it negates the indissoluble community of persons signified by the words “one flesh” inevitably and logically leads to a negation of the ultimate community of persons upon which Marriage is modeled.
This fundamental error also inevitably leads to the ultimate manifestation of the denial of the Trinity by also admitting contraception which completes the denial of the Trinity by negating a “third person”. Is it any wonder that the same religions that allow divorce also allow artificial contraception? Having denied Mary her rightful title as “Mother of God” they have inevitably denied the Trinity, rendered the marriage vow void, and the nuptial act sterile.
This is why our Church CANNOT change its teaching on the indissolubility of marriage or the sacred openness to life in the nuptial act. She would first have to deny the Trinitarian God.