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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

A matter of semantics

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The important thing is to give individuals an easier way out from marriages that are irretrievably broken and not prolong the agonizing situations they are in

Once again, Congress is trying to pass a law that will finally allow absolute divorce in this country.

Apart from the Vatican, we are now the only country on earth that does not allow divorce.

The House has approved House Bill 9349 or The Absolute Divorce Act on third reading and will now go to the Senate. It looks, however, that the bill is dead on arrival at the Senate.

The new Senate President, Chiz Escudero, has issued a statement that he favors annulment which is what the Philippine Catholic Church wants.

To him, lowering the cost of annulment proceedings is the solution not divorce.

It is, therefore, more likely that this attempt will also fail. And this is all because of the word divorce that the Philippine Catholic hierarchy apparently does not like.

If this is the only problem with the good Senator, why not change the wording of the Bill to The Marriage Dissolution Act instead of Absolute Divorce Act.

This play for words is so weird considering it means the same thing no matter what people say.

Why our lawmakers continue to oppose the passage of the law is beyond me.

We can understand why there is no divorce in the Vatican but here? Just look around, read the newspapers and watch TV. What do we see? Sin is everywhere.

Yet, it appears that some of our lawmakers who are apparently mostly male, want us to believe they are the guardians of the moral values of the Catholic Church.

As one Congressman who voted against the bill proudly said, “what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

But what do you call those nuns and priests leaving their religious vocations which are supposed to be an eternal marriage with the Lord?

It is called special dispensation but it is divorce nonetheless.

And the separation is even easier than civil annulment because it can simply be initiated with a simple letter.

If that is alright with priests and nuns, why should it be so hard for ordinary people not belonging to religious orders?

Are we not being hypocritical with all this marriage being a covenant with God?

It is true that marriage whether solemnized by a judge or priest should be valued as a foundation of the family.

But we also know that not all marriages have fairy tale endings. Instead of people living in sin, they should be granted an easier way out of unhappy and broken unions.

Our lawmakers and bishops should focus their attention for example on what is happening to our OFWs who have to leave their families to earn a living in faraway countries.

There is no denying the pressures of prolonged separations is one of the causes of broken marriages. Instead, our OFWs are hailed as heroes for bringing home needed foreign currencies for the country at the expense of broken families.

Government priorities seems misplaced.

The government does not want divorce but broken families and all the attendant problems that go with it are alright.

We have to accept we live in an imperfect world.

As they say, we cannot win them all.

The annulment proceedings which is favored by Senator Escudero even if he can lower the cost would always need lawyers and hiring lawyers in this country is not cheap even with PAO assistance.

Furthermore, there is the issue of practicality. Annulment proceedings takes a long time.

This divorce thing has been going on in Congress for quite a while.

It’s time it is decided based solely on its human merits and demerits.

Unfortunately, on this issue, the Catholic Church’s shadow cannot be ignored.

But the Church has also a bit of explaining to do why it grants nuns and priests an easier way out of their perpetual religious vows yet, is so against the dissolution of marriages.

Does it really matter whether it is called divorce or annulment?

The important thing is to give individuals an easier way out from marriages that are irretrievably broken and not prolong the agonizing situations they are in.


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