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Family Law
Question from LA on 10/24/2012:


I have been offered a promotion at work to work in HR at a law firm that covers all areas of law. I was really excited, until I found they have put me in charge of one of the family law teams.

I understand that civil divorce is exceptable in some circumstances, but how ethical is as a Catholic to work within family law? I would potentially be doing recruitment for lawyers doing mediation in divorce cases.


British Catholic

Answer by Judie Brown on 10/26/2012:

A detailed discussion of the divorce situation can be found on the website of the Peoria Diocese (among other places):

The pertinent parts of the discussion on that website are:

Does the Church consider divorce a sin? The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: • "The separation of spouses, while maintaining the marriage bond, can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense" (#2383). • Divorce, for reasons other than safety and security however, is considered a grave offense because it "claims to break the [marriage] contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death" (#2384). • "Divorce is immoral also because it introduces 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." (#2385). • "It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to [their]... marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage" (#2386).

May a divorced person receive the sacraments and be involved in parish life? A divorced Catholic who is neither remarried nor cohabiting is free to receive the sacraments and to be involved in life of the parish. In many cases such individuals can help their fellow parishioners who may be going through or have gone through the pain of marital separation or divorce.

Since divorce is not considered an "intrinsic evil" and is viewed as legitimate in certain circumstances; and since the people who receive a divorce can still receive the sacraments as stated above; it would appear that having an administrative position in a law firm that does divorces would not be a problem as long as the position did not involve hiring people or taking other actions specifically designed to increase the firm's divorce business.


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