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67. Divorce

1. To achieve its full natural end, essential andsecondary, marriage requires the permanent union of husband andwife. Therefore, permanence in marriage is a requirement of thenatural law, at least in the secondary precepts of that law. Andwhat is required by the natural law is required of all men withoutexception, Christian and pagan, Greek and Roman, Jew and Gentile.It is not just a requirement of church law that a man should cleaveto his wife in permanent and unbroken wedlock.

2. It sometimes happened in the Old Law, that a man puthis wife away by "a bill of divorcement," and that thisexceptional act was sanctioned by Mosaic precept. But such aseverance of the marriage bond is not possible when the marriage isalso the sacrament of matrimony.

3. Our Lord himself tells us (Matt. 19:8) that the Mosaicpermission for divorcing a wife was granted on account of thehardness of the hearts of the people, and adds, "From thebeginning it was not so." It seems that this Mosaic permissionamounted to a dispensation from the marriage bond to prevent theterrible crime of wife-murder to which the people were prone.

4. Yet it is not clear that the Mosaic "bill ofdivorce" permitted the separated spouses to marry again.

5. But it is clear that a husband, having repudiated hiswife by a "bill of divorce," could never take her backagain.

6. Doubtless, hatred of a wife, and whatever gave rise tothat hatred, could be adduced as reasons for giving her the"bill of divorce," but it seems that these reasons hadvalue only because they could lead directly to wife-murder.

7. The causes of the severance of spouses were not givenin detail in a Mosaic "bill of divorce," but wereexpressed in a general way.

"God looks neither at long nor beautiful prayers, but at those that come from the heart."
The Cure D'Ars

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"The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy. Do not be proud, therefore, because of your learning or skill. Rather, fear because of the talent given you."
Thomas á Kempis

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"Obedience is a short cut to perfection."
St Philip Neri

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