Committed to Defend a Commitment

The Philippine Daily Inquirer printed a letter I sent to the Editor. Thanks to the Editorial Board for this. I will post that letter here. However, the editors removed a paragraph, which I will also include here. I revised it a little bit also. I was not intending to pass a judgment of the Editors; simply to point out an idea in my reasoning.

Here’s the letter as it appeared in the paper:

AN AMERICAN lady, after confirming I was from the Philippines, remarked that ours is “the only country now that’s Catholic.” I presumed she said that because among countries with majority Catholic populations, the Philippines is the only one that has not legalized abortion, divorce and same-sex unions. And though contraception has been “legalized” through the Reproductive Health Law, the Supreme Court has struck down provisions of the law that coerce people to perform acts that violate their conscience. The law has thus lost its binding power.

But will the Philippines continue to disallow divorce? A bill was recently filed, proposing the legalization of divorce. The Inquirer, with its July 7 editorial (“Fresh fight for divorce”), apparently supports the bill.

According to the editorial, it’s about time divorce was legalized: There are so many failed marriages; women suffer and are at a disadvantage if they are not divorced from abusive husbands; and 60 percent of Filipinos want divorce legalized. Also, a senior lawyer at a state agency said the Philippines has to be “realistic” and seriously consider divorce.

Let’s get real.

Statistics (readily available on the Internet) show that divorce does not solve the problem of failed marriages. In the United States, which has a long history of divorce, 67 percent of second marriages end in divorce. Not only that: 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce. Statistics may vary according to who makes them, but the trend is quite clear.

Children of divorced parents suffer, too. Statistics show they are more likely to go into divorce themselves. Is this the reality we want? Broken families? Broken lives?

The editorial is correct to point out that some people consider the divorce bill as “another salvo against the sanctity of marriage…” Webster defines sanctity as “the quality or state of being holy, sacred.” Sanctity is the same as “inviolability.”

Normal people regard spousal love as something that must endure. Evidence of this is found in literature, poems and love songs that say true love is forever. Divorce violates this quality of spousal love. It violates the inviolable and trivializes love and marriage.
Thus, the divorce mentality reduces marriage into a mutual self-gratification contract: If I don’t get what I want, I want out. Thus, its sacredness, its endurance, its inviolability disappear. The institution of marriage is destroyed.

The editorial stated: “The Church says divorce disrespects the sanctity of marriage, but what about the spouses who do not show love, respect and fidelity to their spouses by their acts of marital infidelity, spousal and child abuse, or who continuously fail to comply with the marital obligations? Is that not a form of disrespect to marriage?”

The editorial is obviously saying that since, anyway, people already violate marriage, why not allow divorce (which itself is a violation of marriage—CM) as a remedy for the violation of marriage? I think the logic of this reasoning process is so skewed.

To end, let me remind our people: Section 2, Article XV of the Philippine Constitution binds the state to protect marriage and the family: “Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.” Based on this provision, I think that a divorce law is unconstitutional, as it violates the inviolability of marriage which the state must defend.

This is the deleted paragraph:

When spouses are not faithful to their marriages, yes they disrespect their marriage vows. But note that it is only because we consider marriage as something sacred and inviolable that their acts of infidelity obtain their true colors as infidelities. Their violations of marriage in fact presuppose the institution of marriage as it is: inviolable. Otherwise, their wrongdoings are not infidelities.

In the end, the legal battle I see here is the manner in which the justices of the Supreme Court might interpret the said article of our Constitution.

 

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