DEAR FATHER | The Church supports the faithful in painful situations of divorce

A couple enters into marriage with great joy and hope for the future. When a marriage declines and ends in divorce, it's a painful event on so many levels. What makes it even more painful for a Catholic is the feeling that, because of this divorce, a divorcee can no longer be part of the Church at the time her support is most needed.

The Church, however, is still there for a person in this situation. As at other painful moments in life, the Church is there as the field hospital we need when we are wounded by sins or human ugliness.

Program transforms divorced Catholics from surviving to thriving

Joseph Miller led a group through the Catholic’s Divorce Survival Guide at Pauline Books and Media.

Donna O'Donnell had just met the group of six at a Catholic's Divorce Survival Guide meeting. She hardly knew them, but already had this advice to share:

"I promise, it does get better," O'Donnell said at the gathering in the basement of Pauline Books and Media. Drawing on her experience of being divorced for six years after a 28-year marriage, she said, "you have to rebuild that foundation. But it won't be the first thing you think of when you wake up, and it won't be the last thing you think of when you go to bed at night."

Canadian speaker tells of personal experience with divorce, annulment

PHILADELPHIA -- As the director of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family, Michele Boulva is well-known in the Canadian Catholic Church. Yet at the World Meeting of Families Sept. 23, she mentioned something she had never told publicly before. "I went through the process of having my marriage declared null," she told a session on Christ as the "unifier of a blended family."

Divorced and remarried are not excommunicated, pope says at audience

Pope Francis arrived to lead a meeting with young people along the waterfront in Asuncion, Paraguay, July 12.

VATICAN CITY — Catholics who have divorced and are civilly remarried “are not, in fact, excommunicated — they are not excommunicated — and they absolutely must not be treated as if they were,” Pope Francis said.

Resuming his Wednesday general audiences Aug. 5 after a month’s break, Pope Francis returned to the series of talks he has been giving on the family. It was the 100th general audience of his papacy.

Annulment process should be cheaper and more efficient

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis said the Church's marriage annulment process should be more efficient and perhaps even free of charge, and he decried any attempts to exploit it for profit.

"Some procedures are so long and so burdensome, they don't favor (justice), and people give up," the pope said. "Mother Church should do justice and say: 'Yes, it's true, your marriage is null. No, your marriage is valid.' But justice means saying so. That way, they can move on without this doubt, this darkness in their soul."

Pope Francis to open Vatican conference on traditional marriage

Pope Francis spoke doing his weekly general audience Nov. 5.

VATICAN CITY -- A month after closing a Synod of Bishops on the family stirred by controversy over divorce, same-sex unions and other nonmarital relationships, Pope Francis will open an interreligious conference dedicated to traditional marriage.

The Vatican-sponsored gathering, on the "Complementarity of Man and Woman," will take place Nov. 17-19 and feature more than 30 speakers representing 23 countries and various Christian churches, as well as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Taoism and Sikhism.

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