The Superstition of Divorce

Here is a quote from G.K. Chesterton regarding marriage and divorce. I believe he wrote this in 1918 in a series of articles called, “The Superstition of Divorce.”

“The obvious effect of frivolous divorce will be frivolous marriage. If people can be separated for no reason they will feel it all the easier to be united for no reason.”

Then, he argued that divorce was not an act of freedom but rather an act of slavery. He reasoned that a society where vows can be easily broken is a society that is not free for a free society cannot function without people keeping their commitments to one another. To those who objected to his characterization of divorce being an act of slavery he referred them to the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin in which the oldest and simplest charge against slavery was that it broke up families.

He then went on to discuss how the family is before the State or government, before the office or the factory. He talked about the family being a triad of Mother-Father-Child. I  think he made, without realizing it, a strong case against same-sex marriage.

Log on to: G.K. Chesterton for more on this.

Somethings to think about, no? What do you think?

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.
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7 Responses to The Superstition of Divorce

  1. Karen Querna says:

    So Bob,
    I hear what Mr. Chersteon is trying to say, but what happens if one partner is unfaithful, abusive, mean, or cruel reapeatidly? Divorce or annulment?

  2. Deacon Bob says:

    I believe Chesterton was referring to divorce for no serious reason. No one is obliged to remain in the same house with an repeatedly abusive spouse.

  3. Ron Amundson says:

    Its almost been a hundred years since Chesterton wrote that, and if anything frivolous marriage and divorce have multiplied since then. In addition, the emphasis of teachings within much of Christianity is the logic of the family, and the logic of marriage… the divine aspect seems to pale in comparison.

    I wonder if such isn’t the elephant in the room. Logic and reason only go to the limit of which a given human being can internally process, and many will consciously, or unconsciously put up roadblocks. Divine is another matter entirely. On the other hand, perhaps the divine is like many of the sayings of Jesus, its just too hard to hear, so we make do with logic and reason? Not sure…

  4. Deacon Bob says:

    Glad to see you are still stopping by, Ron. Thanks for the comment. Yes, it does seem that frivolous marriage and divorce have multiplied.

    Much of what Catholic theology has to say about marriage has foundation in the natural law upon which it builds with what we know from divine revelation (Scripture) and the consistent witness of the Church through the ages. I am not sure if I would agree that the “divine is another matter entirely”, although I may not understand clearly what you have expressed here. I think what I know from revelation and what I know from human reason support each other.

    My experience in working with couples for so many years does indicate that most couples have a poor appreciation for the divine in their marriages…. it seems to them, as I think you have said, just too hard to hear so they turn a deaf ear. Said in a different way, they view their marriages as agreements/contracts that need be fulfilled or terminated, rather than as a covenant between a man and a woman.

    John Paul II’s theology of the body is a wonderful synthesis of reason and revelation in reference to marriage.

  5. Karl says:

    Chesterton was right.

    But the pastoral attitude of the Church supports marital abuse
    in its many forms. The whole thing is a horrid mess.

    Vows mean nothing except to those who respect them, and, I
    hope, God. If I did not believe that in the end, g

  6. Ron Amundson says:

    Bob, I think you pretty much picked up on what I was getting at, the focus tends to be on the contract aspect, almost to exclusion of what God does.

    I read John Paul II’s theology of the body a ways back, I need to go and review it again.

  7. Deacon Bob says:

    Karl, your comment seems to have been transmitted only in part. I would love to hear all you had to say about this.

    I don’t agree though that the pastoral attitude of the Church supports marital abuse. I suppose that there have been instances in which individuals may have experienced that, but as a Church we do not support abuse within marriage, and the pastoral practice has changed in that past 50 years or so.

    No one is obliged to remain in the same house with someone that abuses. There are many who do remain for their own reasons, but no one need suffer from repeated abuse.

    I strongly encourage all of us to read Pope John Paul II’s theology of the body. You will find in it a wonderful explanation of the Church’s view on marriage. In it, there is no support of marital abuse.

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