"The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18).
Divorce is a painful reality for many couples and impacts many families. The Catholic Church understands the deep suffering of those caught in this situation. When permanent separation is the only possible recourse, the Church offers support to those involved and encourages them to remain close to God by participating in the sacraments - especially the Holy Eucharist - for those in good standing with the Church. In this instance, “good standing” means being chaste until an annulment has been granted.
So, what does the Catholic Church say about divorce? Jesus told His followers that "anyone who divorces his wife (or her husband) except for unchastity and marries another commits adultery" (Matthew 19:9) ... because when the two are married they "are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matthew 19:6). In order to remarry, the Catholic Church requires an annulment. But isn't an annulment just a "Catholic divorce?" No. Read more about the myths associated with annulments and divorce here.
For those who are recovering from divorce, the Family Life Office provides two support groups - Hope and Healing for Divorced and Separated Women and Catholic Divorce Survival Guide Support Group.
Hope and Healing for Separated and Divorced Women is offered at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church in spring and fall for eight week sessions. This grief ministry is for divorced/separated women. It is structured around Scripture readings highlighting the Lord accompanying us as we walk the journey of healing. Topics include: “Letting Go of Outcomes”, “Self-Care”, and others. Group sharing is encouraged with an emphasis on moving forward in one’s life.
Also, Catholic Divorce Survival Guide (CDSG), for divorced/separated men and women, is a structured program of DVDs where experts and divorced Catholics share their advice and experience on a range of pertinent topics - both spiritual and practical. Topics include: “Dealing with Anger”, “Handling Money Wisely”, “Family Matters," and others. Participants will do some sharing, but the focus is on faith in the Lord as our Divine Physician and entrusting everything to Him to heal us. Twelve sessions take place in spring, summer and fall at Shrine of St. Bernadette and St. John XXIII in Albuquerque and at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Clovis. CDSG facilitator training is available through the Family Life Office upon request.
Both ministries are confidential and offer referrals to counseling, family law and decree of nullity experts in the Archdiocese; are conducted by trained facilitators; offer a range of a little to a lot of personal sharing with others; and emphasize the journey we take with Jesus, our Divine Physician, who heals hearts.
Newly single adults, 35 and over, can find common ground through the Catholic Connection ministry, which provides an opportunity to socialize and meet new Catholics in a prayerful environment.
Catholics who want to begin the process of applying for an annulment - declaring that the marriage is no longer spiritually binding - should visit the ASF's page on annulments here. Additional help and resources are available for those who feel they need grief counseling or more Healing After Loss.
If you are interested in becoming a facilitator for a Divorce Recovery support group, visit our Ministry Trainings page.
For dates and times of all ministries listed above, visit events. Contact the Family Life Office at 505-831-8117 for more information.