Children are severely harmed by separation but don't expect a priest to take that into account, because they virtually never will.
Nor is it likely a priest will do due diligence problem solving by speaking to both spouses, let alone speaking at length to both spouses, before offering permission to separate. They will offer a solution without even knowing what the problem is, and even worse, they will offer the most drastic and destructive solution possible.
They are like a doctor suggesting the drastic solution of invasive open heart surgery when all they have to go by is chest pain.
And likewise never expect a priest to help with any kind of reconciliation with your spouse once there is a separation. Once the separation occurs what you can expect instead is advise to apply for an annulment. That is, what is instead offered is wholesale destruction of your family and the concomitant harm to your children that inevitably follows.
As bad as the pedophile (read homosexual) scandal is, it is minor compared to the separation scandal and the annulment scandal because not only are the effects of these scandals commonplace, but the severe harm to our children caused by them has the stamp of approval from our local priests and bishops.
It is far better to not trust your marriage problems to a priest now, than to regret the consequences that cannot be undone.
Of course the local priests and bishops look the other way when it comes to virtually every sinful act while offering inane homilies, so why expect better with the separation and annulment scandals, but that is just more reason to not trust a priest with your marriage until he has proven he can be trusted.
Years ago we did have locally a priest, Fr. Joeseph Ganssele, who took our marriage vows seriously, and who in turn gave us good advice. But he died years ago, and not one single time since that I know of has a priest offered advise other than giving permission to separate.
In contrast to the harmful advice commonly given by priests, the Pontifical Council for the Family. Jubilee of Families, October 14-15, 2000 says it like it really is.
9 "Children, Orphans of Living Parents"
"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh" (Mt 19: 5).
Grave problems for children.
Divorce is immoral also because it intorduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents, and often torn between them and, because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.
What is needed then is for human societies, and the families who live within them, often in a context of struggle between the civilization of love and its opposites, to seek their solid foundation in a correct vision of man and of everything which determines the full "realization" of his humanity. Opposed to the civilization of love is certainly the phenomenon of so-called "free love"; this is particularly dangerous because it is usually suggested as a way of following one's "real" feelings, but it is in fact destructive of love. How many families have been ruined because of "free love"! To follow in every instance a "real" emotional impulse by invoking a love "liberated" from all conditionings, means nothing more than to make the individual a slave to those human instincts which Saint Thomas calls "passions of the soul".
But is anyone listening?
I know of a Pius X society marriage with a number of children that was annuled because of lack of form, which may be correct according to the letter of the law, but what should have been done is the marriage tribunal right then and there should have blessed the marriage giving it the form it was lacking.
The lack of form was an excuse by the spouse to get out of the marriage, and the tribunal treated the marriage and children with the same lack of respect.
Recently, Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland, Calif. was praised for saying homosexual marriage is unjust to children. And of course it is unjust to children, but what of the separations and annulments that are regularly granted in his diocese that are also unjust to children?
The bishop was praised for standing against what he has zero control over, while he lets stand the injustice that he does have control over.
I suppose what it comes down to is I no longer have any patience with priests who never learned how to be men, and in turn do not take vows seriously. Whether it be their own vows, or my own marriage vow, or the marriage vows of others I know who are married.
If you liked this post, you may like my others on the same subject:
The annulment scandal
Stressing the unitive aspect of marriage only makes the problem worse
Marry a hot Catholic babe with a 2-year long marriage contract and receive a guaranteed annulment because of "lack of due discretion" when the contract runs out
The Seven Canon Laws that Urge Separated Spouses to Reconcile
1152.1, 1153.2, 1155, 1446.2, 1676, 1695, 1713
Canon 1152.1 urges a spouse, out of Christian charity, to pardon an adulterous partner.
Canon 1153.2 instructs spouses to restore their common conjugal life when the reason for separation ceases. (This canon needs to be reinforced today.)
Canon 1155 says that “the innocent spouse may laudably readmit the other spouse to the conjugal life, in which case he or she renounces the right to separation.” (To be forgiven, we must forgive.)
Canon 1446.2 In the early stages of litigation, and indeed at any other time as often as he discerns any hope of a successful outcome, the judge is not to fail to exhort and assist the parties to seek an equitable solution to their controversy in discussions with one another. He is to indicate to them suitable means to this end and avail himself of serious-minded persons to mediate. (Discerning successful outcomes could be facilitated by calling to mind the trauma the children of divorce suffer. The judge should have a long list of these before him on a handout to set before the Petitioner and Respondent.)
Canon 1676 says that “before he accepts a case and whenever there appears to be hope of success, the judge is to use pastoral means to persuade the spouses that, if it is possible, they should perhaps validate their marriage and resume their conjugal life. (Hope of success is facilitated by reminding those who make vows that there is no place in heaven for those who break them. The judge should have this teaching on a handout to give to the parties seeking nullity.)
Canon 1695 says that “before he accepts the case, and whenever there appears to be hope of success, the judge is to use pastoral means to induce the parties to be reconciled and to resume their conjugal life. (Hope of success can be facilitated by having quotes of early Church fathers, St. Charles Borromeo, and others who have spoken on the seriousness of keeping vows and setting a good example of the permanence in marriage for the good of the children and of society.)
Canon 1713 In order to avoid judicial disputes, agreement or reconciliation can profitably be adopted, or the controversy can be submitted to the judgement of one or more arbiters.