September 12th  Annulments.  Inez realised that she could no longer remain in the abusive relationship and for her own sake and her children decided to divorce her husband. They had married very young because she was pregnant but she believed she had done her best to create a stable environment.  She had not really   understood annulments and said that they had married to make their son legitimate and she didn’t now want to make him illegitimate. When Fr Sam explained to her that was not the case she felt more at peace. An annulment is a declaration by the competent authorities of the church that a particular marriage was null and void from the beginning. It is not a dissolution of an existing marriage.  It is not a judgement about the state of mind of the couple and does not make the children illegitimate. From Catholics and Divorce.  Fr S Wales, CSsR.

Pope Francis:  My two recent documents have simplified the procedures for the declarations of matrimonial nullity.   The bishop himself in the Church over which he has been appointed shepherd and head is by that fact the judge of those faithful in his care. AL 244                                                                                  September 13th . Divorce mediation.    “If the Church doesn’t recognise divorce how can it condone divorce mediation?” This was being  discussed at their weekly group meeting. Many of the women expressed their views about all aspects of divorce as they had heard from friends and relatives.  Finally Mrs Peyton made her contribution. “When I knew that our marriage was doomed because of Paul’s continued unfaithfulness I was encouraged to seek counselling about the best way forward. I was hurt, he was angry, we fought all the time and the children were suffering too. I am very pleased that with the help of the an outside mediator we reached an agreement that we both could live with and I am at peace that I did the best thing I could.   It sure wasn’t easy but….”  In the reflective silence that followed Patience squeezed her hand. I praise all those who help people wounded by the breakdown of their marriage by showing them Christ’s compassion and counseling them according to Christ’s truth.  John Paul II  New York 1982. 

Pope Francis: Couples will gain from receiving help in facing crises, meeting challenges and acknowledging them as part of family life. AL 232                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      September 16th . WEEK 4. 24th Sunday.  Carrying one’s cross is unconditional love. Is. 50:5-9a. Mk 8:27-35, Phil 2:6-11.  John 3: 13-17.   When Fr Peter brought in a large cross the congregation didn’t realize at first that the feast of the Triumph of the Cross occurred at this time and that the readings spoke of a cross too. He reminded the congregation that undoubtedly every individual, couple and family has their cross to bear, large or small. It may be a personal weakness, a disability or something in the other person, in particular a spouse. Are you able to acknowledge the crosses in marriage, recognise them even as gifts to accompany Jesus, but that there is triumph awaiting us at the end of the journey?  Married life can be compared to sharing in the Paschal Mystery with him.  Crises need to be faced together. Neither spouse can expect the other to be perfect.  Each must set aside all illusions and accept the other a she or she really is, an unfinished product, needing to grow, a work in progress.   AL 217 /234

Questions for SHARING AND ACTION  – for those who are married, couples, individuals or groups

  • Share lovingly what your particular cross is at this time, how you are coping with carrying it and what your feelings about this are. The intention is to share this and focus on the communication rather than put pressure on the spouse to do something about it. Change may come with deeper understanding.
  • For others in the community. Discuss the crosses that are common in marriages and pray for all couples for the strength to continue on the journey.

Conclude with a moment of prayer.

MARRIAGE AND THE  PASCHAL MYSTERY is a reflection booklet available from MARFAM  R20 plus postage




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