Friday, December 18, 2009

Matt C. Abbott: "'The effects of divorce on children'"

Matt C. Abbott column
'The effects of divorce on children'

Matt C. Abbott
Matt C. Abbott
December 18, 2009

The following is a reprint of an article from the December 2009 issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review titled "The effects of divorce on children," by Barbara Meng. Thanks to Mark Brumley and Catherine Harmon of Ignatius Press for allowing me to reprint Mrs. Meng's essay.

The effects of divorce on children

By Barbara Meng

Until 1969 the permanence of marriage was supported not only by the Church, which has consistently forbidden divorce and remarriage, but also by legal and cultural mores. It was only after 1969, when so-called "no-fault divorce" was legalized in California (and spread rapidly to other states) that a seismic revolution was unleashed.

The no-fault divorce laws, written and backed by feminists and other supporters of the feminist revolution, were touted as a way to finally free women from having to stay in unhappy marriages. Prior to this they could divorce only upon proof of adultery, cruelty, or incompatibility. Men, too, rejoiced in the hope of easy divorce without lawyers' fees.

A number of assumptions were made: 1) If parents are happier, then the children will be happier; 2) it would be much better for children to grow up in an environment free from bickering, etc.; 3) even if children are distressed by the divorce, they're resilient and will soon recover.

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(Mrs. Barbara Meng, a mother of seven and grandmother of eighteen, holds an M.T.S. degree from the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C. She has been a speaker at Catholic conferences in Washington, Baltimore and Wichita and is the business manager of Catholic Faith Alive and editor of the Catholic Family Quarterly. She lives with her husband of fifty years in Bel Air, Maryland. Her last article in HPR appeared in October 2008.)

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic columnist with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, Media and Theatre from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, and an Associate in Applied Science degree in Business Management from Triton College in River Grove, Ill. He has worked in the right-to-life movement and is a published writer focused on Catholic and social issues. He can be reached at