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Aims:. To consider secular attitudes to divorce To know and understand some of the Christian attitudes to divorce

Key terms: Divorce Annulment Irretrievable breakdown

Key terms Divorce

Annulment Irretrievable Breakdown
A declaration that a valid marriage never existed.

The legal dissolving of a marriage so that partners are free to marry someone else.

to be broken down beyond repair

Todays Focus
1. To identify and list some key facts on divorce. 2. To identify and explain some of the Christian attitudes to divorce. 3. To reflect on why people get divorced and consider your own opinion on the subject.

Unfortunately, life isnt perfect and things dont always work out the way we had planned. It is very common for people who were once in love to go from this.............

To This .... .... ..

To this...

And eventually to this.....

Starter Question
What is your opinion on divorce?
Give reasons for your view.

Reasons for divorce?

When people seek a divorce they give many Reasons List some reasons why people seek a divorce (5 minutes)

Reasons for divorce?

When people seek a a) Do you think all these divorce they give many reasons are valid? Choose one and explain reasons. Some of them why you think its invalid are: We arent really suited b) What do you think to each other. unreasonable behaviour Theres no spark left, we is? dont get excited by being together. c) People can get divorced Shes had an affair with if their marriage has her boss. irretrievably broken Weve fallen out of love. down. What do you think He hits me. could lead to Shes unreasonable. irretrievable breakdown 10


Before a court can grant a divorce, it has to be shown A marriage is broken down if one that the marriage has broken down. of the following can be proved:
Unreasonable behaviour.

The UK has one of the highest divorce rates in the world. In 1974 there were 113,000 divorces.

Two years desertion

Divorce some facts!

In 2007 there were 141,750 In 2002 there divorces, the were 160,000 lowest rate divorces. since 2000. The couple have lived apart for five years (no consent is needed).

Adultery (having an affair). The couple have lived apart for two years and the other spouse consents to divorce.


Divorce in Christianity In Christian law, marriage is a sacred institution. However, a variety of denominations have different approaches to divorce (the legal separation of a married couple).
But before looking at the Church teachings on divorce it is important to note what Jesus said about divorce. What God has joined

together, no man can separate Mark ch10


Divorce in the Church of England

Whilst the Church of England does not encourage divorce, it has the structure to help and sympathise with those who find themselves in such a situation.

A little History.........
Divorce and the Reformation Until the 16th century CE, the Church in England recognised the Catholic Church and the Pope's authority. However, when Catherine of Aragon failed to produce a male heir for Henry VIII, and was considered too old to give birth to any more children, Henry wanted to divorce her. The Pope refused permission and so the only way for Henry to get what he wanted was to break away from the Vatican and make divorce legal. The Archbishop of Canterbury granted Henry a divorce in 1533 (under pressure) and Henry made himself head of the Church of England. But just because remarriage is legally allowed, that doesn't mean couples have an automatic right to remarry in church.


Religious Views on Divorce

1. Read the Christian

views of divorce sheet

and complete the tasks. Extension: Pick one of the Christian views and write a sermon (talk given in a service) on that denominations view of divorce and remarriage in church. Ex: Do you sympathise with any of these views? If yes why, if no why not?

Refer to Christian teachings such as forgiveness. Start In the name of the Father, Son and Holy spirit, Amen. Today I am going to talk to you about divorce

Roman Catholic = priest CofE = vicar/priest Free Church = Minister


Divorce in the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church has strict guidelines on divorce and do not accept divorce. The Church considers the bond of marriage to be a sacred bond that cannot be broken. It reflects the words of Jesus what God has joined together, no man can separate. Marriage is both a legal bond on earth and spiritual bond which God has witnessed. The promises made before God cannot be broken. What is permitted in the Catholic church is an Annullment. An annulment, is a declaration that the marriage was never valid in the first place. An annulment will be considered if there is reasonable proof that the bond between the two parties was invalid from the first day of marriage. An annullment can be granted if it is proven: The person was psychologically unstable at the time of marriage The marriage was never consummated One of the partners has hidden information such as a previous marriage, impotence or infertility. 15

Protestant approach to Re-marriage

The Protestant Church like the Church of England teaches that marriage is for life. It also recognizes that some marriages sadly do fail. The Church does not generally approve of divorce The Church accepts that, in exceptional circumstances, a divorced person may marry again in church. If it is the lesser of two evils


In the Protestant Church the decision of whether a divorced person is allowed to re-marry in church is down to the priest carrying out the wedding. Such people would also be expected to show remorse for the break down of their marriage and be willing to learn from their mistakes in their next. An increasing number of vicars are offering a blessing after the remarriage of divorced people in a civil (registry office) ceremony, for example, Prince Charles and Camilla. They may try to find out about the intentions of the couple and if it will cause harm to anybody before agreeing to a re-marriage in Church.

The priest carrying out the wedding will consider :

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Does the couple understand that divorce is a breach of God's will for marriage? Do they have a determination for the new marriage to be a life-long faithful partnership? Do they seem willing to explore and grow in the Christian faith? Has enough time passed since the divorce for everyone to have recovered Has either of the parties been divorced more than once? Was their relationship a direct cause of the breakdown of a previous marriage?

If a couple are refused a re-marriage in church they can have a civil ceremony and have their marriage blessed in church afterwards.

Write down the two you feel are most important.


6. Was their relationship a direct cause of the breakdown of a previous marriage?

Charles and Camilla

This last question was very important when Prince Charles married the divorce Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005. Had their adultery contributed to the failure of Camilla's first marriage? The Church thought so. The royal couple could not marry in church. They had to marry in a civil ceremony, although church rules allowed their marriage to be blessed in church afterwards.


Free Churches (Baptist, Methodists)

Many Free Churches (Baptist, Methodists) accept divorce and allow remarriage in a church ceremony. These denominations believe that it is not the physical death of one of the partner which ends the marriage. Rather, the marriage ends with the death of the love between the couple. These dominations believe that it is better for the couple to begin their new relationship with the blessing of the church. This is based on the Christian principle of forgiveness. Everyone makes mistakes but is also entitled to a second chance. It is very important to learn from your mistakes though!


Two views on divorce

Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery. Matthew 19:8- 9 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery." Mark 10:10-12

Re-Marriage in the Catholic Church

Catholics believe promises to God cannot be broken therefore divorce and re-marriage is not allowed. Catholics that do re-marry are NOT allowed to take Holy Communion and this is central to their faith. However, re-marriage is allowed if a marriage has been annulled by the church. This is because an annullment recognises that the marriage never took place legally in the first place. Therefore no vows have been broken.
Britney Spears got married in Las Vegas over the weekend, but the bashful bride was single again less than 12 hours later. The pop star tied the knot early Saturday with Jason Allen Alexander at The Little White Wedding Chapel. Alexander was a childhood friend from Spears' hometown of Kentwood. But 12 hours later the pair put the hook up on hold as they arranged an annulment witnessed by several people, including a lawyer. The couple apparently took a joke too far by getting married after drinking heavily all day. Ms. Spears and Mr. Alexander have filed for an annulment which will become official on Monday. 22

A promise is a promise people should not get divorced

Give two reasons why believers would agree or disagree ( 4 marks)



What has this lesson made you think about?