Divorce Liturgy?

Apparently there is such a thing. Turns out a vow, much less one before God, doesn’t take on the same meaning it used to. This, relayed to us by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus in the latest issue of FIRST THINGS:

Swiss couples are going to church to get divorced. The liturgy for finalizing a divorce, says Pastor Frank Worbs, “helps people get over the separation and achieve definite closure.” Ruedi Reich, president of the Zurich Reform Church, says, “Going through a ceremony like this is a way of showing God that the marriage is over.” So there, God. Now please stop bothering us with your antiquated ideas about marriage.

Ha! Typical Neuhaus humor (wit) while talking about something so sad in our culture. Whatever happened to keeping one’s word? Do we even have a clue what is meant by a vow anymore?

It strikes me as disrespectful to make a vow before God and then, when the vow is broken, go back before God to officialy let Him know. A divorce is a shame, not something to bring before God to get His implicit “seal of approval.”

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3 Responses to “Divorce Liturgy?”


  1. 1 pam July 31, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    I conducted a search for a liturgy to help me draw closure to a 34 year marriage.
    In the marriage there were very few cross words. Morning Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours were prayed almost every morning. 3 beautiful children were raised. My exspouse is an ordained Roman Catholic Deacon. Both of us were (& he still is) very active in ‘the Church’. One day he stated that he hadn’t been happy in 20 years and hadn’t even liked me for the last 5. A divorce followed 5 months after that statement. This was not my desire or intention. It was instigated by my husband.
    It has been 6 years. I have had extensive therapy and feel that tremendous progress has been made. I will begin studying for priesthood in the fall and I feel the need to sadly say goodbye to my previous life and embrace and celebrate my new one with God’s Blessing. Therefore I was looking for a Eucharistic Celebration that would help.

  2. 2 Christopher Curzon December 14, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    I doubt that anyone is “letting God know” about the final dissolution of a marriage any more than at its initial creation. For Isn’t God omniscient? Cynical words help nothing. Rather, we are talking about healing the heart and soul after the “unthinkable” has happened? Why should the church be present at creation, but turn her back at the termination, when there are two hurting people who still need a gracious embrace, or kind and encouraging words, or loving service? A divorce liturgy need not be a celebration, per se, but still it could be helpful to mark a passage and turn people’s hearts forward with hope instead of backward toward shame. Wouldn’t that be good thing?

    • 3 kathrynlanier June 24, 2017 at 6:12 pm

      Especially for the spouse not wanting the divorce. That spouse is still spiritually bound to the other after the other has let go. And what about the personal vow to God to be committed to their spouse? How does one release from a vow to God? How do nuns or priests do it? Something along those lines will offer great healing to the spouse being left behind.


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