"Let no one split apart what God has joined together." Mark 10:9
Christ's teaching seems clear and unequivocal.
So, at the risk of unpopularity let us consider this teaching in today's modern world. We live in a broken society indeed, and everywhere, the pursuit of self seems to be put to the fore at the expense of personal responsibilities and promises made under oath to God and one's spouse.
It is indeed true and achievable that a couple remain together through thick and thin "till death do us part!" Previous generations managed it all right; so why not us, one would wonder. Why is the rate of divorce so high these days? Have we made it easier and guilt-free perhaps?
In Christ's teaching above, He seems to make an exception as to when divorce is acceptable, or allowed. But what would He teach in modern society?
When one spouse is perhaps addicted to drink, drugs, gambling, crime or indeed there's violence in the marriage?
Does "till death do us part" still apply? Would God want that a couple remain together in a living hell where violence to the spouse and children are almost a daily occurrence?
Does God want us to "stand by your man" (or woman), come what may and treat the affliction as a disease, which perhaps it is, and suffer "in sickness and in health"?
Let us not make light of divorce. It is arguably the most shattering of experiences one can go through in life and causes immeasurable hurt not only to the spouse, but to children and family and friends too. The feelings of betrayal, failure and complete despair never goes away with some people. But tragically, divorce is a fact of life.
There are cases where, for the safety and well-being of all concerned, divorce, with all its ugly implications, is the only way ahead.
It is wrong, totally wrong, but at times one should do the wrong thing for the right reasons.
Many churches have now pragmatically accepted that divorce is at times necessary. One would hope and pray that God too sees it this way when we get to meet Him.
Life after divorce can be re-built in some cases, but sadly not always. The fear of betrayal runs deep sometimes jeopardising any future relationships.
The Catholic Church has a complicated procedure as to when a divorced person can marry again, and a previous marriage can be nullified; and when it would be adulterous to marry again or live with a new partner.
To nullify a marriage can be a long and difficult process taking months, if not years, depending on which priests, bishops and dioceses are involved. In some cases marriages are not nullified meaning that a divorced person cannot re-marry or have a partner under pain of being adulterous and therefore excommunicated - cannot take Holy Communion. Not surprisingly, under these conditions, many Catholics choose to ignore their Church altogether and either marry in a civil ceremony or in another denomination.
Perhaps the Catholic Church needs to reconsider its teaching and dogma on this matter. But this is a debate for another day.