FOR decades, the legalization of divorce has been the subject of numerous debates both in the congress and senate halls. Years gone by and we still go toe to toe with the Vatican City of which should remain as the last state standing that does not legalize divorce. Vatican of course will not yield to the demand to legalize it until magisterium come up with a new interpretation to the words of Jesus about marriage that no human can separate what God made as one.
With the coming of the modern era, people believe that even the meaning of this teaching depends on the context of time. The circumstances at the time of Jesus, when He uttered those words, was totally different to the backdrop of our life today, so they say.
This time, the divorce bill found its way to congress again, refiled, with more supporters lobbying for its passage. Senator Hontiveros and co. have built a strong case for its acceptance but the opposition still remain a solid wall to be dealt with.
The bill – “The Divorce Act of 2019” — seeks to include as grounds for divorce the psychological incapacity of either spouse, irreconcilable marital differences, marital rape, or being separated for at least five years. The people are forced to rethink, reevaluate, whether this country is ready for its impact upon its approval, in case, it survives the resistance from both branches of the legislative body and the executive office.
Our government officials and the Church are aware of the huge implication of divorce to the society and its fate should be carefully decided upon or it will create confusion especially among ordinary citizens.
Are all marriages salvageable? Pro-divorce groups believe that there are marriages that cannot be saved. Psychological incapacity is not a common word we use every day but as I see it, it is when a spouse fails, in a consistent basis, to do his/her responsibility to his/her spouse in many aspects of their marital life. Failure to treat the other with respect. Incapacity to act as a wife or husband.
Irreconcilable differences happen when the couple fight in almost every thing because they have opposing belief and idea on every issue. The differences can be brought out by having totally different culture, values, or orientation. Those who oppose argue that all or majority of marriages can be saved no matter how problematic the relationships are.
Personal experiences of couples dictate their vote on this. Others may not believe that all marriages can be saved but they, including the Church, contend that legalizing divorce desecrates the sacredness of marriage. Marriage, as taught, is a gift from God and it should be treated with respect. Talk about couple who have divorced after days of being married
Do we believe that there are marriages that do not work out? If people are into this kind of marriage, should they keep making ways until they work it out? Do we consider them prisoners trapped in a failed marriages that can no longer be freed because of the absence of divorce law? We also have wives or husbands experiencing physical and emotional abuses from their partners and advocates of divorce feel it is only just to give them a way out from their suffering. I believe that people make mistakes, including the decision to marry, and out of love and compassion, they should be given the chance to start anew.
There are two reasons holding us up to embrace divorce as part of our way of life. First is our strong family-orientation. We put so much value on family. I have written articles about values and family is always part of my discussion. We call those who have separated parents, children from broken homes. The children inevitably suffer. This is the truth about divorce, separation, even annulment, that makes it hard for us to swallow.
Second is our solid religious foundation. We believe that divorce does not only adhere to our cultural value but the mere separation of parents causes various problems to a lot of people. We still see that legalizing and accepting divorce is a form of disobedience to the teachings of Jesus about marriage. Filipinos maintain a belief that disobedience to God always merit negative consequences.
Legalizing divorce in the country threatens the sacredness of marriage and solidarity of family. It will mark a big shift on our values. If the country allows this to become a law, we must be ready for the consequences. We do not want couples getting divorce out of petty misunderstanding. We do not want people rushing to get married just because they know they can still divorce if the marriage does not work out. Marriage is not a testing stage to check the compatibility of spouses. Marriage is God’s gift to humankind out of His love. But if this same marriage given to us for us to experience joy and love, destroys individuals, then have the courage to say “go.”