The Philippines and Vatican City are the only Catholic countries and in fact the only two countries which do not permit divorce. Though The Philippines is a democratic country, and over the years, the evolution and transformation of the ways of life and the ways of thinking there have undergone dramatic changes, adopting other cultures and traditions, the nation remained religiously contained and oriented, which indicates that the majority of Filipinos still value their beliefs in the Supreme Being.
A Divorce Bill, also known as House Bill 1799, is currently a controversial hot topic in the country. Though annulment, which is filed under Article 36 of Family Code in the Philippines, is duly being applied and allowed in the country, most of those who are pro-divorce would say that is not enough intervention for those couple who can’t live together anymore.
Annulment is too costly for the marginalized sectors or common people to get approved in the Supreme Court. Thus, it only means legal separation but not actually ending marriage. This involves a claim that a marriage even from the beginning was defective and is thus null and void. Infidelity, battery or abuse, gross irresponsibility, homosexuality, impotency, and some sexually transmitted diseases in either spouse can be grounds for annulment.
Furthermore, the increasing rate of abuse of women and children is an ongoing reason why people want divorce to be legal in the country. There are about 22 women per day reporting physical abuse by their spouses and that in itself is an indication that it is about time to pass a divorce law, according to the pro-divorce.
For the anti-divorce, however, the sanctity of marriage is always highly regarded in respect to divine law made from the Holy Scriptures. The fear of God and the religious belief system remains intact among the majority of Filipinos, be it non-Catholic Christians or Roman Catholics. Thus, this is also a good indication of how Filipinos greatly value their families.
The divorce law is not an answer to decreasing the rate of abusive relationships or partnerships. In fact, it will actually worsen the situation. The abuse will happen not only once, twice or three times once the divorce law gets approved, because chances are that the abusive spouse will do the same thing from one partner to another. The history of domestic violence would most likely increase.
The trauma divorce can cause to children would have a great impact on their wellbeing, and it is not even healthy to raise children in a broken family. There is still nothing better than to be raised in a family with a strong bond and good relationships where there will be an image of father and mother who can continuously guide and support the children.
Moreover, it raise the risks to moral and social obligations. There will most likely be a greater chance of infidelity and immorality, grave acts of sin which are not only against constitutional law but also against divine law.
For the anti-divorce, divorce is not and will never be an answer for the ongoing domestic problems in the country. Counseling remains the top intervention prior to marriage, which includes seminars and proper teachings in responsible parenthood. Counseling also remains the proper intervention for solving any domestic problems and making a struggling relationship work again.
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