Divorce and Contraception

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Roman Catholic views on divorce

The Roman Catholic Church states that it is impossible to divorce.

Marriage is a sacrament - God has made the couple into one flesh, and this cannot be undone.

However a marriage can be annulled - annulment means that marriage was never true in the first place.

Annulment can happen if:

i) either partner did not consent to the marriage or didn't understand what marriage is about

ii) the couple didn't or couldn't have sex, or one partner refused to have children

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C of E and Nonconformist Churches views on divorce


Nonconformist Churches ( e.g. Baptists and Methodists) will generally remarry divorcees.

However an individual minister can refuse to do so if this goes against their conscience.

C of E

The Church of England says that divorce is acceptable.

Divorced people can only remarry in church if they can find a minister willing to marry them.

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Quotes associated with divorce

Jesus talked about divorce in the Gospels. Jesus was anti-divorce, but pro-forgiveness.

1) In Mark 10:2-12 Jesus says that Mosses allowed divorce because of people's 'hardness of heart'. But he says that at the Creation of mankind marriages were meant to last for life, and if a divorcee remarries it's the same as adultery.

2) Matthew 5:31-32 and 19:8-9 say the same thing - except that divorce is permitted to someone whose partner has already been unfaithful.

3) In John 8:1-11 Jesus freely forgives a woman caught in the act of adultery. But he tells her, 'Go now and leave your life of sin'.

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Roman Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that preventing conception is against the 'natural law' and that the use of any artifical contraception is a grave sin.

It teaches that humans have an obligation to "Be fruitful and increase in number" Genesis 1:28

However many individual Roman Catholics disagree with this, especially because of concerns about AIDS.

The Roman Catholic Church allows natural family planning - by only having sex at the times during a woman's cycle when she's less fertile.

Other Christian Churches views

The Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches are in favour of contraception, suggesting that it lets parents plan their families in a responsible way.

Many Christians believe that contraception should be a question of individual conscience.

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