.- Divorce contradicts the value of marriage and changes its very nature, the bishops of Malta have said. Noting the failed promises of divorce advocates, they emphasized that Christians must be accountable to Jesus in matters of marriage and divorce.
Responding to those who âpromote divorce,â the two bishops of the island nation issued an Oct. 15 letter explaining the Christian view of marriage.
Archbishop Paul Cremona and Bishop Mario Grech cited Jesusâ response in Matthew 19 to the question of whether a man can leave his wife for any reason whatsoever. Jesus referred his questioner to the Book of Genesis, teaching that a man and a woman âbecome one fleshâ and that âwhat God has put together, no man should put asunder.â
Jesus said Moses permitted divorce âbecaush of the hardness of your hearts,â the Maltese bishops commented. âNot only did He enlighten them on the beauty of everlasting marriage, but also highlighted the way this could be achieved.â
It was impossible âto embrace a value and at the same time concede to a reality which goes against that value.â Divorce âalters the intrinsic nature of marriageâ and once it exists âone cannot speak of stable and everlasting marriage, as ordained by God from the very beginning.â
âAt no point does Jesus specify any form of condition or manner in which divorce could be instituted â he simply insists that once there is divorce, then there is a shift in the nature of marriage,â the bishops wrote.
They suggested Jesusâ response to contemporary support for divorce is the same as it was in gospel times: âIt is because of the hardness of your hearts.â
âNo Christian would have expected a different reply from Jesus. So, even today, how can we expect him to say âStrengthen marriage by introducing divorce!â?â they asked rhetorically.
Stating that attitudes must change, not marriage, they noted that other countries introduced divorce to solve problems with marital breakdown. âInstead, the problems multiplied.â
Christian teachings against divorce are not an imposition but a contribution to society, they wrote, appealing to all Christians to protect these teachings.
âMay Jesusâ words be a light for the Christian conscience: a moral responsibility which must be upheld. It is to Jesus himself that the Christian must be accountable, even in this matter of marriage and divorce!â