Divorced Catholics

Of the Catholics i know, only a tiny percentage are divorced. Of the divorced Catholics i know, almost all of them have recieved a decree of nullity, like myself.

Also, like myself, most divorced Catholics i know, have also felt that being a divorced Catholic,with a decree of nullity or without a decree of nullity, stigmatises a person somewhat, even within a parish community.

I was pleasantly surprised then, to come across this website for people who are going through or have gone through, a divorce. I wish i had access to the site when i was going through the annulment process.

It is sad that there is a need for such a service, but i imagine the site is also a blessing to many who are struggling to put the pieces of their shattered lives back together again after divorce.

There really is very little support for we divorced Catholics so it’s good to find some somewhere, even if it is in cyberspace.

Edited to add: Many thanks to Jean for providing the following link also…

Beginning Experience

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18 Responses to Divorced Catholics

  1. Suzanne says:

    I just want you to know that I guess there are alot of folks who don’t feel the support they should and I apologize if I have ever seemed unsupportive to anyone in my parish. There are alot of Catholics, more noticeable women, who come to Mass and are married, but either their husband just doesn’t come or he is not Catholic and yes, this happens the other way around, also. There are even teens who come to Mass at our church after they get their driver’s license and come by themselves because mom and dad don’t or won’t. Then there is the elderly widows and widowers. There are also singles ..just because they are and they feel unsupported and alone. There are people who come to Mass ..just checking out the Catholic church and they often come alone. Yes, there are cute little families who do sit together and within some ..not all but some of those families, are people with problems that we may never know about..struggling to do what is best and maybe some with their marriage hanging on by a thread. I don’t come here to cause you to think that I don’t agree with you, but just so you know that I’ll bet you, there are very few whole and happy complete families that come to Mass versus all of the other different situations.
    I know that our parish is like that because I’ve gotten to know alot of folks over the 14 years or so we have been there and that is the way it is.
    I guess I mainly came to say that we wouldn’t need the Church or the Mass if everything and everyone was came wrapped all up in a neat little package…although, that is what we always keep working toward.., well at least a better little package..hmm??? So, this is a good site you’ve found, I guess and I just also want you to know that no matter what, all divorced folks who are coming to Mass in a sincere way, are our brothers and sisters in Christ and I love them for all they are going through and trying to come through with Grace and in this way, I came so say ..I do support you. I’ve been supported through some tragedies and so I know..it is important that we feel uplifted and encouraged at different times in our lives. Good post.

    • ukok says:

      Suz,

      Excellent comment. Very insightful, positive and encouraging to all divorced Catholics. Jolly well said!

      Personally i have never had huge problems in the parish community (with the exception of a certain situation in my former parish, which you are already aware of!) but i know others who have.

      I think if you are a divorced woman you can tend to be seen as a threat to married women and their husbands but that happens everywhere. It’s especially sad though, when it happens in a christian community..

      I think what you wrote about singles of all ages is v. important. I don’t think our elderly singles get enough support sometimes and it is definately something that i am praying about becoming more involved in myself.

      We all have our own lives to live, we all have our own challenges. For the most part people are welcoming, but i think there is also an element of ‘what’s wrong with him’ or ‘whats wrong with her’ when some people with very narrow minds come across divorced Catholics.

      Also, when you are a divorced Catholic with children, it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to meet other single Catholics…and i have been told by Catholics online (at two VERY popular Catholic singles site that i am no longer a member of) that i had my chance and blew it….that i shouldn’t want a ‘second bite of the cherry’ etc.

      Some traddy Catholics especially can be really verbal….even when i have stated that a nullity issued for lack of form has nothing to do with a tribunal assessing the annulment of a marriage i have been told that i should have ‘stayed married’ and to get my feet out of the singles pool!

      This was a few years ago now. I just thought it would be a good way to interact with other single Catholics around the world, but it didn’t work out so well.

      Most guys wanted a virgin bride who had no children from previous relationships, they didn’t want to know divorcees or even those of us who had a Decree of Nullity.

      The irony being that most of them were crogging on in years, were rather the worse for wear, some of them even had kids themselves but held their potential spouse to a higher account.

      Ah what fun those days were. not.

      LOL!

  2. I hear you on being stigmatized. Not just at church but in general society. All of a sudden your female friends are seeing you as potential bait to take their husbands away. It’s very wearying. Or friends drop you because they are doing “couples only” things. Even if it’s just a dinner! You have my prayers!

    • ukok says:

      Oh yes Angela, there’s the half laughing ‘ooooohhh, now dare i leave my husband with you while i make a cup of coffee’ comment, or the ‘i swear that my husband spends more time with you than he does with me, his wife!’…or ‘if i didn’t know better i would think there was something going on between you and my husband…’

      yada…yadda…yadda…

      As soon as i got divorced 10 years ago i was struck off the friendship list by people who i had once considered close friends.

      In a way it was good because i found out from the getgo who my true friends were, in another way it was devastating on top of being divorced and the whole court drama that that scenario entails etc, it gets so messy when children are involved, doesn’t it?

      I am grateful for your prayers Angela. Family has been my biggest support, so thanks be to God for them, and i have a couple of really good friends, but the rest have shown their true colours over the years, so to speak.

      Hopefully the links in this post will be of benefit to others in a similar situation as i found myself all those years ago.

  3. Jean says:

    I felt very stigmatized when I was divorced, as there were no support groups for Catholic divorced people at that time. Later on Beginning Experience was founded to help separated, divorced, and widowed people. I know several people who have benefitted from this organization.

    Check out their website and locations here http://www.beginningexperience.org/.

    • ukok says:

      Jean, i’m so sorry you experienced stigmatism too, but i am glad in a way that you know what i am saying as some people may find it difficult to understand, especially if they haven’t been in such a situation themselves.

      Jean that link is great and i thank you for including it in your comment, i will pop it in the above post for the benefit of readers who may stumble across this post and find it helpful.

      Here in the UK there is very little support that i am aware of, especially in the realms of Catholic support for divorced men and women and their children. It’s a shame really. Bless you for your comment!

  4. Moni says:

    Guess I am very lucky as I never felt stigmatized in my home parish. Maybe I like my community there so much as they are such a great group of people?

    • ukok says:

      Moni, I have no problems with this at my (new) parish either. I think sometimes we are just unfortunate to be where we are and to be mixing with the people we have no choice but to mix with, for one reason or another 🙂

      Prayers continue for Bobby.

  5. Incredible timing with this post. I just received an email *this morning* from a dear friend telling me that they have ruled in the affirmative on her petition for a declaration of nullity and now I have a resource to share with her.

    I must also add that I am absolutely confuddled that women suddenly do not trust their husband’s after a female friend is divorced. Weird. I figure they guy is trustworthy or not as there were plenty of “fish in the sea” (pirrhanas, actually! LOL) before that. And anyone who says, “I swear my husband spends more time with you….” I think actually has a problem with her husband!

    Anyway, thank you for this. I don’t think I’ve ever stigmatized anyone, but this post reminds me to be more sensitive to those who suffered through a divorce. Even if I’m not mistreating them, someone else might be and I have an opportunity, through kindness, understanding, and charity, to in a sense “undo” the harm someone else may have done.

    • ukok says:

      Becomewhatyouare,

      so sorry that your friend also has gone through this process of petitioning for a Decree of Nullity…but i am glad she has a friend in you and also that these links may be of some use to her.

      I completely agree with you that ‘those’ comments made by women (or men perhaps if the shoe is on the other foot)are made by insecure women!

      I doubt very much that you have ever stigmatised anyone, or been insensitive to anyone who has experienced divorce and the process of petitioning for a Decree of Nullity,but you are right about how sometimes all it takes is a little compassiona nd understanding to undo the harm caused by others. God Bless you for saying that 🙂

  6. mum6kids says:

    Interesting post Deb. There are a few divorced ladies in our parish. Not met any divorced men as yet. I think our parish is fairly welcoming and not too gossipy. My friend (who attends our the same Church) is a single mum. I know she has had a couple of comments over the years. But I think there is always someone with a mouth engaged before brain somewhere. I’ve had comments about being a disabled mum who home educates-right after Mass!
    I do wish there was more family support in parishes. It is a lonely and bloomin’ difficult task bringing our kids up these days. Perhaps a bit more solid support at parish level would save a marriage or too-or even prevent some before it’s too late!
    I hope you get good support in this group you have found. And I don’t see why you shouldn’t see if there is the right man for you out there.
    God bless you Deb.

    Ironically it’s our 21st wedding anniversary today. lol.

    • ukok says:

      Shell, it seems to me that there is always a higher percentage of divorced/annulled women than men in the parish community. I don’t know if that’s because more women seek solace in the arms of Mother Church after divorce or what (even taking into account that the man and the woman will in all likelihood attend different parishes once they are no longer a couple), but it seems to be the case…but for every divorced/annulled woman, there is a divorced/annulled man, somewhere. Where they are all hiding i don’t know. I’m not sure i want to know really, but it is interesting.

      I agree with you that it would be good thing for there to be more support at parish level, i think the problem is that :

      a) everyone always expects someone else to do it or to set up a support network for families (of all flavours)…and it is a lot of work for one person to do alone, there is such a lot to consider from premises to paying the lighting bill, the investment of time required would be pretty hefty i would imagine too.

      and

      b)there has to be a real depth of trust and communication between members of the parish community, to offer that kind of support. Even those we think would unquestionably support us in times of distress, difficulty etc..notably the priest of the parish…can turn a blind eye to the needs of his parishioners. I think most priests do put their parishioners first, listen to them, support them etc, only a very small minority do not heed the cries of their parishioners i would imagine.

      Also, there are some extremely hard working priests who give up all their time to their parishioners, who cover more than one parish etc, and they simply don’t have the time to become involved in anything else, though they may well support the group in general terms etc.

      But even so, it basically comes down to parishioners supporting parishioners. Marriagecare is an organisation that works with people preparing for marriage and counsels married couples experiencing difficulties. Marriagcare workers are dedicated, but basically, unpaid professionals whose organisation relies on the generosity of people giving charitable donations.

      I don’t know that they work with the divorced/annulled.

      But then of course, we are talking about family support and family is every member of a parish so elderly people, single parents, single men and women, families with young children etc, are all in need of support.

      For me, i think it is too late to seek support from groups such as those mentioned in this post….i’ve already gone through it all and i really just want to let sleeping dogs lie, so to speak…but if this post can be of use to others who are going through similar things themselves, great!

      God Bless you Shell and thanks for your input.

      And Shell, Congratulations on your 21st wedding anniversary!

      p..s. I made a kind of resolution regarding men…it’s up to God to find him for me if he exists, in the meantime i will just live out the vocation he gave me and find contentment where i am in my life 🙂

  7. Suzanne says:

    I think some of the people and comments you have mentioned that wives think or say around a divorced woman are because they have either had their husband go out on them once before and they are insecure about more women married and divorced alike or single checking him out again and OR they NEED to look at what kind of wife they have been themselves. Perhaps it makes them realize they better be a little more considerate and look over their ways too..maybe reality of divorce hits them when they never thought it could possibly happen to them, but see that it does.

    As far as the old geezerds go that think you need to back off even when you have an annulment are sure not anything I’d be looking for in a future spouse! Creeps! Ha! Give me a break! Maybe I’d be hurt at first until I thought that one out and then, I think I’d laugh my a double s off! Really!

    • ukok says:

      Suz, exactly!

      As i wrote to Shell in the above comment from this one, when we let God direct our lives it is really up to Him to do things his way. If i have learned anything from my divorce/annulment, it is that you can’t make a thing something when it isn’t.

      I ended up in that hellish nightmare precisely because i directed my life, for the last 10 years i have had so much peace, so much healing going on, there is no way i would ever self direct my personal life ever again.

      It is all in God’s ‘hands’, His will be done.

      And saying that, you know it really takes the pressure off. I no longer buy into the mentality that i ‘need’ a man to validate me. I don’t feel that way at all.

      Just to put a funny spin on this, today i clicked a link on The Crescat’s blog that took me to the following page.

      Now, not meaning to disparage anyone pictured there as i am not so ‘hot’ myself, but i’m afraid it just all seemed so ‘desperate’.

      Ok. i laughed. i know i shouldn’t have but i did and i can’t tell a lie.

      Here’s the link.

      Hope none of my readers are pictured there (I wouldn’t want to offend them).

  8. Karl says:

    If you want to help people in an authentically Catholic way you should psot links to here:

    http://www.marysadvocates.org/

    and here:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/defendingmarriage/

    Almost every other group is very supportive of “divorce”, which is NOT a Catholic position.

    And if any of you are familiar with the SOS(Save Our Sacrament group) this is not Catholic either. It is a group that wants to change Church teaching towrds heresy as well.

    As far as I know only Bai Mcfarlane’s group is really Catholic. There may be others but I do not know of them and I would be cautious of wolves in sheeps clothing.

    I am a divorced, non-annuled geezer, who remains faithful to his vows. I fought the annulment and won. Bet you guys don’t not know many like that, do you? Most don’t care. This usually separates those who are catholic from those who call themselves catholic and those who call themselves catholic who are usually considered “conservative” catholics but not when it comes to their groins! Al la….. Mel, Deal, Newt, Randall……..

    By the way, I left the Catholic Church, formally over its “liberal” divorce and annulment policies.
    I am waiting for it to become “Catholic” again but not holding my breath.

    • ukok says:

      Karl, i read your comment and while i certainly appreciate your belief in marriage (i believe in the Sacrament and the indisolvability of Holy Matrimony too) but i also found your comment to be very judgemental.

      There is such a thing as a lack of form. That was why it was found that in my case no valid marriage had ever existed. My Catholic (ex) husband married me in a civil ceremony WITHOUT a dispensation AND i was not baptised. Do you believe that in such cases as lack of form a marriage can still not be dissolved, i wonder? If so then you surely admit to also not believing in the requirements for a valid marriage…which would be a total contradiction.

      The last line of your comment killed it for me. You have separated yourself from the Catholic Church because you don’t believe it is truly Catholic.

      So you are holding yourself in the lofty position of claiming you have the authority of knwing for a fact that the Catholic Church is no longer Catholic?

      It begs the question….do you also not believe in Sacred Scripture, that the Church will never be bought into error?

      Mathew 16:18 ~

      “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it”.

      Thanks for your comment, i am sorry that you have experienced a breakdown in your marriage.

      God Bless you!

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