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“There is this feeling that divorced women are loose women. People think that you’re free to live the swinging-singles life now that you’re no longer married.
For six years after the divorce all I did was go to work, come home, take care of the kids, clean the house, go to bed, get up the next morning and go to work again.
I travel all over the place, and I’ve found this is the single largest reason people are leaving the church today.” Father James Provost of the Canon Law Society of America (CLSA) says he lacks adequate statistics to reach any conclusions about divorce among U. Catholics: “There are no hard data available; the federal statistics don’t ask for religious background.” But Kathleen Kircher, executive director of the North American Conference of Separated and Divorced Catholics (NACSDC), says that “Catholics are pulling their fair share of the U. divorce ratio and represent about 25 percent of the population and account for about 25 percent of all divorces.” A 1980 Gallup poll concludes that Catholics are just as likely to divorce and remarry as any other group in American society.
It’s a shame that so many divorced Catholics like Ruth believe they don’t belong in a parish anymore, says Eunice Dohra, a divorced mother of seven.
“I think we need to take into account these people’s sensitivity, their high quotient of hurt,” says Father Barry Brunsman, another priest who counsels divorced Catholics.
“Their antennae are out for any kind of rejection that they might otherwise shrug off. “Very few communities are willing to face up to the trauma divorce causes with the community itself,” says Don.
And another myth, that children of a nonsacramental second marriage are illegitimate or should be denied the sacraments, is completely false.
These have caused so much pain.” Divorced Catholics enjoy the same good status of any other Catholic in regard to the Mass, Eucharist, and any liturgical function, says CLAS’s Provost.
‘Every night when I get home from work,’ I reply.” “The insensitivity can be enormous,” says Marie.
I didn’t go to except to church.” “I was amazed to find out how many people blame women when a divorce occurs,” says another woman.
“They think that relationships are women’s business; and, if they fail, she is to blame.” “I think there’s a real onus on women who don’t end up with custody,” says Don.
Says one woman, “Even though our priests have announced from our pulpit that we are free to come to Communion if we are free in our own consciences, we have lay ministers who keep saying that we are unworthy, that they will refuse us Communion.
I find this the hardest of all, that many people in our community are not as accepting as the hierarchy is.” Says Pat, “Suddenly the parish I’d worked in for 19 years considered me a bad person.” “I found out right away who my friends were and who they weren’t,” says Mary Ellen.