help me help a friend!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-11-2003
help me help a friend!
Tue, 06-15-2004 - 10:16pm
Hi. Usually I am posting over at Survivng Middle School, but I have had an entirely new issue that I am hoping someone on this board can help with. I have a very good friend (really- not me!) who has struggled for years in a very bad marriage. Her husband without going into detail, is very unsupportive and selfish, and not a great father. She has tried to straighten out her situation as best as she can, but the husband refuses to go to couseling or to taken any steps to try fix all the problems they have. She has reached the end of her rope, but the two things holding her back are her two children, and the fact that she is Catholic. To be honest, she is afraid that if she gets divorced, she will not go to heaven and be with her kids in the afterlife. I tried to assure her that I am quite sure God would not want her to be miserable, and her kids have stated that they wish she would leave the husband as well. I am trying to be a good friend to her, and hate to see her suffer so. Does anyone know the church doctrine on divorce...are people excommunicated if they divorce? I know this all may sound a bit crazy, but I trying to reassure her that she is not a bad person if such an event takes place in her life. Thanks for all your help.
Avatar for munchies
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-12-2003
Tue, 06-15-2004 - 10:49pm
She can divorce her husband and still go to heaven.

Kim mom to Brad, Matt, Emma, Sarah, and Meagan

Avatar for mending
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2003
Wed, 06-16-2004 - 12:48am
I looked up (

One entry found for "excommunication"

Main Entry: ex·com·mu·ni·ca·tion

Pronunciation: -"myü-n&-'kA-sh&n

Function: noun

1 : an ecclesiastical censure depriving a person of the rights of church membership

2 : exclusion from fellowship in a group or community.

Sounds like the community does "it". I've never heard of the process in a divorce. You're not saying much about DH, just that she wants a divorce, so I don't see (why not). They can sleep in separate beds, if he's against it.

Hope this helps. I pray your friend finds what she needs in her life. An good church is sometimes a better option, like a prayer group meeting vs. a one-to-one counseling session.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 06-16-2004 - 1:27am
Here is the skinny on divorce and the Catholic Church. Prior to 1971 I think ? A Catholic who divorced was Excommunicated in the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Pope Paul changed this and lifted ALL excommunications in 1971. In the new Code of Canon Law 1983 it is not there. So that is where some people get this.

The stand of the Church is this. Divorce is not a good thing. It destroys Marriages, it destroys families, it harms children as well as adults. It is even referred to as evil. However sometimes it is necessary. The important word here is "necessary". Civil Divorce should only take place when there is a need to protect persons or property. Divorce is only a civil action and does not in any way disolve the Marriage bond only the legal bond. Civil divorce is looked at by the Church as a permanent legal separation. It does not exclude either person from membership in the Church or access to the Sacraments.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
Wed, 06-16-2004 - 8:43am

What Br. Rich and Kim have said are true.

"Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases." - Thomas Jeff