A no nonsense talk about a divorce bill
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - September 19, 2019 - 12:00am

I was watching the TV news of the first Senate hearing on the proposed Divorce Bill and I couldn’t help but recall that this type of Senate hearing was discussing something medieval in character. I’m saying this because very recently I saw the movie on the life of King Henry VIII in Netflix, where he wanted to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon, but the Pope or the Vatican would not allow this divorce to happen. So King Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church and became the head of the Anglican Church, then he divorced his wife Catherine and married Anne Boleyn.

As we all know, King Henry VIII divorced his wife because she could not bear for him a son to become the heir to his throne. So in marrying Anne Boleyn, he put her in charge of the reformation in England to become another Christian church. However she still could not bear a son for the King. In the end he had Anne Boleyn beheaded and ended up marrying Jane Seymour who died in childbirth, then married a German Princess Anne of Cleves.

King Henry VIII then married Catherine Howard, the first cousin of Anne Boleyn, a marriage that did not bear any children. She was the second wife to be beheaded by King Henry VIII. He ended up marrying the last of his wives Catherine Parr, but by then King Henry had become too old and he died without a son for an heir. The reason why I brought up the history of King Henry VIII is due to the fact that the King solved the issue on divorce without creating any laws on divorce. Rather King Henry VIII simply and officially divorced himself from the Catholic Church and created the Church of England with the King as the new head of the English church.

Before I continue to discuss what I saw on TV with the Senate hearing, let me tell you that during our high school days when we studied religion in our Catholic schools, we learned what our Lord Jesus Christ said about divorce, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder… and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” This is a divine revelation and God himself giving us a lesson that marriage cannot be dissolved by human laws.

This has always been our reality, even if we know that some marriages failed simply because the love that a couple found for each other has vanished. In short, while we commiserate with couples in a failed marriage, we should not bring down the sacrament of marriage because a few people who went into a marriage perhaps blind to the responsibilities of married men and women failed in their obligations.

Let’s now discuss what happened during that Senate hearing. Ana Santos, an independent journalist, said the divorce ban in the country has spawned scammers who take advantage of married couples breaking up. She added saying, “There’s a complex web of corruption, forgery and duplicity surrounding this divorce ban and it just compounds the pain and the anguish of those who are heartbroken and just want to legally sever their marriage.” Finally she said, “Legalizing divorce is not only a humane thing to do… Legalizing divorce will also make for good governance.” I do not dispute the various incidents that happened to people seeking a separation.

Of course, Sen. Risa Hontiveros brought into that Senate hearing her friends who are desperate to have a law that allows for divorce in the Philippines. But let’s ask ourselves, of the millions of Filipinos who are married today, how much percentage are those seeking for divorce? I would like to believe that they are a small minority in the millions of married Filipinos. But then this is the problem with today’s politicians who support for instance the SOGIE bill or the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Equality Bill where Senators who are for this bill does not want to discriminate the LGBT groups. But if you studied these groups totally, you will realize that they are truly a very small minority so why should we give them equality in our laws?

In my book Congress should not enact a divorce bill knowing fully well what our Lord Jesus Christ pronounced 2,000 years ago. I also think we shouldn’t create such a law allowing for divorce simply because we are the only Christian nation (of course there is tiny East Timor) in ASEAN. I mentioned the fate of Anne Boleyn in order to neutralize what the witnesses told the Senate hearing about the harrowing times quarreling couples had to endure because we have no laws on divorce. Look at the fate of Anne Boleyn or Catherine Howard who lost their heads.

At this point, I propose to those who have lost the love of their lives, separate so as not to antagonize each other. I further suggest that they move away from the Catholic Church and join other Christian sects that allow divorce, rather than change the doctrines of the Catholic Church.

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Email: vsbobita@mozcom.com or vsbobita@gmail.com

CATHOLIC CHURCH DIVORCE BILL
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