When a Catholic divorces civilly, make no mistake about it: there's a real divorce, a tearing apart of a marriage and family, and a rip in the fabric of the whole human family. There is great loss, pain and suffering, and every divorced or separated Catholic needs our love, support, and understanding. Not our judgment and finger-wagging.
But the other reality is that the marriage bond may be truly valid—one that had the capacity to image the permanent union of Jesus and His Bride, the Church (all of us!). And that can never be broken. However, no one is in a position to judge this without a thorough investigation into the courtship and wedding of the couple. That's some of what I teach when I minister to civilly divorced Catholics, especially in my new DVD series, The Catholic's DIVORCE SURVIVAL Guide . The series is a parish program that reminds the divorced Catholic that it's the hot flame of God's love that can melt the icy pain of divorce.