Wedded to Traditions

Could God’s smite scare a person into remaining in an unhealthy marriage? Here, the study is unclear.

From the Washington Post:

“Among Christians, Catholics are substantially less likely than Protestants to get divorced, according to a 2004 study by the Barna Group, a religious research organization. Among Catholics, it found, 25 percent have had a divorce, compared with 39 percent of Protestants. (Among the largest Protestant groups, Pentecostals were most likely to get divorced, and Presbyterians were the least likely, the study found.”

Yeah, Catholicism!

The study neglected to investigate whether Catholics are more or less happy than their Protestant counterparts in their marriages. Since Catholics can’t escape and all. I mean they’re trapped. I mean they’re bound to their partners in the sacrament of marriage and risk “committing a grave offense against the natural law” if they were to leave. Could God’s smite scare a person into remaining in an unhealthy marriage? Here, the study is unclear.

What is it about Catholicism that leads people to remain married? Is it the church’s extensive teachings on sexuality and marriage? Is the church more efficient in drawing its families into the church community? Or does it use spiritual scare tactics? And what about the distance between the teachers and the taught:

Does the vantage point that celibacy grants allow the church institutional to make more clear pronouncements on the nature of sexuality and marriage?

Or are these teachings rendered irrelevant by the distance between the lives of those who develop the theology and the lives that are affected by the theology?

Yes thank you celibate men who will never be married for telling me, a woman who desires to be married, how I should behave within my relationship.

And thank you, group of Presidential Candidates, who are 95.6% male, for letting the world know what women should do about their unplanned pregnancies. Your political maneuvers are really improving the situation for women.

Ideals are crucial in the development of the human soul. Being a soul myself, I am motivated, improved and challenged by these lofty calls to holiness and virtue and prudence.

But we live in a broken, fallen world. And what happens then?

 

Image courtesy of Blaine Alleyne 

Elizabeth Tenety
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  • Still Married Catholic

    Elizabeth,I think I can answer at least part of this, as a Catholic married for 31 years now. Now anyone married as long as that will have contemplated divorce on numerous occasions. Anyone saying otherwise is probably not being truthful to themselves.But having the Church’s teachings against divorce just might act as a “cooler”, giving one a chance and an incentive to work things through, rather than getting a divorce, because it’s “easier”. Imagine two people tempted to commit suicide – one has a gun in the house, and the other doesn’t. The likelyhood (sp?) of the first person doing something rash is far greater than for the second. The same thing in a marriage. If you don’t have anything stopping you from divorcing, then you have a far greater probability of taking what appears to be the easier route, and just splitting up, rather than solving or at least accomodating whatever problems come up along the way. I’m pretty sure that my own marriage was saved on more than one occasion by regarding divorce in an unfavorable way.By the way, my own experience has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on cases of people suffering from abuse, or those in similar circumstances. As the saying goes, “That’s different”.

  • Wu-Ching Cheng

    In regard to why protestants are more likely to have divorces than catholics, as I Protestant, I think it is because the grace message is preached more than the responsibility message in Protestant churches. The grace message is that salvation is free, just come as you are and accept Jesus as your personal savior, and He will forgive you and make a place in heaven for you. We do not emphasize enough that Jesus also calls us to repent of our sins and to follow Him wholeheartly, which means obedience to His commandments, meaning faithfulness to our spouses and commitment to our families. We have made confessions of faith too easy while Jesus said “count the cost”.– Wu-Ching, Christian 28 years, married (only once)for 12 years with 4 children, non-demonminational Protestant.

  • Mary Cunningham

    Elizabeth,IMO where the Church is influential is its teaching on abortion. In my experience Catholic women have an almost visceral dislike of it. It certainly influenced me when I fell in love & married (I am a Catholic woman still married after over twenty years). I knew I hated it, I knew I would/could never have one. I remember dating a Catholic man who made a coarse comment that he thought it was a great idea/ every girl should have one—something like that—and he meant it. Funny—before that he had seemed manly and cool, afterwards he seemed harsh and crude.Hope this is helpful. Remember: correlation does not equal causationRegards,

  • Mary Cunningham

    PS I probably didn’t make my abortion case clear. I think this visceral–this instinctive, emotional unreasoned–dislike of abortion in young Catholic women acts as a filtering device. They would seek men who would eschew abortion, would tend to find these attractive. Men who dislike abortion probably tend to be more committed to the woman they marry and to the children they might have with this woman. I do know in the UK there has been some research about the effect of abortion on unmarried couples, not really relevant. However, FWIW, about 80% of couples living together where the woman has an abortion will split up within 18 months of the abortion. Doesn’t prove much, though.Anyway, all the best,MC

  • Papal

    “And thank you, group of Presidential Candidates, who are 95.6% male, for letting the world know what women should do about their unplanned pregnancies. Your political maneuvers are really improving the situation for women.”huh?