Skip to comments.Robertson: Divorce Your Wife With Alzheimer's
Posted on 09/15/2011 11:20:05 AM PDT by Sopater
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson told his "700 Club" viewers that divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer's is justifiable because the disease is "a kind of death."
During the portion of the show where the one-time Republican presidential candidate takes questions from viewers, Robertson was asked what advice a man should give to a friend who began seeing another woman after his wife started suffering from the incurable neurological disorder.
"I know it sounds cruel, but if he's going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her," Robertson said.
The chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, which airs the "700 Club," said he wouldn't "put a guilt trip" on anyone who divorces a spouse who suffers from the illness, but added, "Get some ethicist besides me to give you the answer."
Most Christian denominations at least discourage divorce, citing Jesus' words in the Gospel of Mark that equate divorce and remarriage with adultery.
Terry Meeuwsen, Robertson's co-host, asked him about couples' marriage vows to take care of each other "for better or for worse" and "in sickness and in health."
"If you respect that vow, you say `til death do us part,'" Robertson said during the Tuesday broadcast. "This is a kind of death."
A network spokesman said Wednesday that Robertson had no further statement.
Divorce is uncommon among couples where one partner is suffering from Alzheimer's, said Beth Kallmyer, director of constituent services for the Alzheimer's Association, which provides resources to sufferers and their families.
"We don't hear a lot of people saying `I'm going to get divorced,'" she told The Associated Press. "Families typically respond the way they do to any other fatal disease."
The stress can be significant in marriages though, Kallmyer said, because it results in the gradual loss of a person's mental faculties.
"The caregiving can be really stressful on a couple of levels," she said. "There's the physical level. There's also the emotional level of feeling like you're losing that person you love."
As a result, she said, it's important for couples to make decisions about care together in the early stages of the illness, when its effects aren't as prominent. (AP)
What premise? Robertson’s?
Pat, a ‘word of knowledge’ for you. Step away from the microphone before a lightning bolt ZOTS you.
It’s awful but I’m not surprised. Part of the moral disease that’s infected our culture is the belief that your marriage is all about you instead of about the both of you.
Pat has lost it completely. He’s been teetering on the edge for awhile, but clearly, the tipping point has been achieved.
You mean that dementia is grounds for annullment? Dementia that existed before the supposed marriage, yes. But not if the person was of sound mind when he made his vow. That can’t be undone just because one spouse suffers from mental illness or some other grave ailment.
I don’t know where you are getting your claims about Catholic doctrine. Your idea that function makes one a wife is absurd from a Catholic viewpoint. What makes a woman a wife is her free, uncoerced, knowing vow with a man who makes the same vow. If she ceases to be able to do X or Y she, the person, who made the vow, does not cease to be a person and the marriage remains.
And in your first posting you wrote, “a man is not a monk.”
Sheesh. Your implicationis that men can’t live without sex so if a wife can’t give it, she’s no longer a wife, so find a new woman while taking care of your old woman.
Monks are men who show that men can live without sex. So too are all the faithful men throughout time who honored their vows even though it meant living without sex.
You demean men when you imply that a man has to have a woman for pelvic gratification.
Talk about “modern American culture” lenses.
Why don't you just go ahead and move to Saudi Arabia? Y'all take a bit here and a bit there and turn the Bible into a big hammer you use to hammer on everybody (unless it's you, in which case you find all those handy "mercy" verses). I'm not going to waste my time posting how many times Christ was chided for hanging out with adulterers. I seem to recall one he saved from your type of judgement. I also seem to recall Christ saying something about even looking at a woman being adultery. Are you saying, Oh Glorious One, you've never ever spent a few extra seconds looking over someone?
Hey, I ain't this guy and I ain't this guy's priest. He'll get judged for what he does and that's God's business, not mine, and it's sure as heck ain't your's to declare the death penalty over. I will say that if some smarmy little weasel tries to stone somebody for not making what they deem to be the "right" decision, they'll have to make it passed me first. So do us both a favor and either move to Pakistan and join your Taliban brothers or stone yourself for looking.
Show me from scripture where God says it is okay to put away a wife because of illness.
I think Mr. Robertson has been declining steadily for a decade or more and needs to retire. Does he have a board of directors or something? What hideous and callous advice. Callous towards the Alzheimer’s victim AND their spouse.
“If she gets the flu real bad can I cheat on her just once?”
Follow Pat’s logic and a guy ought to be able to get day-passes for the old “I’ve got a headache tonight”.
I am not arguing with you. The marriage contract can be impeded by Ecclesiastical or natural law. The condition of Alzheimers is a natural occurance, one of natural law, which naturally can impede a contract. Right? Annulments and dissolution of the marriage contract do occur all the time for these natural reasons that are quite apart from human fault to which Christ addresses his warning against human fault. Right?
You are equating Christianity with Islam.
A person who faithfully follows God’s Word is the antithesis of the Taliban, for heaven’s sake.
Think before you write.
I'm expecting him to show up on late night TV, face all up in the camera, smoking a cigar, shouting out orders to call in with 5000 dollar donations.
How un-Christian, Pat. Obviously your thinking has become quite confused. Perhaps your wife should get a divorce???
Grounds for annullment must exist before the purported marriage was “contracted.” Do you really not understand this?
You cannot, 40 years after the marriage vows, say that a condition that began years after those vows, annuls the marriage.
I can’t quote the Bible, but I remember my wedding vows. In sickness and in health.
No, I'm equating nonsporting's perverted view of Christianity with Islam.
Annulment does not end a marriage. It is not an analogue to divorce. Robertson was speaking of divorce, which, in his view, does end a marriage and permit remarriage. Annulment declares no sacramental marriage ever existed.
Alzheimers cannot be a basis for annulment unless someone had advanced Alzheimers at the time of marriage. This is next to impossible at normal ages of marriage. If a couple in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s tried to marry and one of them was in advanced Alzheimers, then they should never have been issued a license by the state nor should family or clergy have let the “marriage” happen. If undiagnosed Alzheimers existed in a, say, 70-year-old at the time of the marriage, then it wouold have to be demonstrated that he or she did not have sufficient sound mind to make a promise. But if that’s NOT what Robertson was talking about. He was talking about someone who married sound of mind and long years later gradually reached the point of advanced Alzheimers.
There is no analogy between what Robertson said and Catholic teaching on annulment. None. Nada. Zero. Zilch.
From a biblical perspective, a marriage is not a contract, but a covenant.
Things that happen after the marriage contract do not come into the equation, only that which occurred before. That’s why Catholics are supposed to talk with a priest before they get married, to winkle out anything which might impede a valid vow, such as a desire to contracept, or intending an “open” marriage, or yes, a current diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
Right. “Porneia” is a generic term indicating immoral sexual activity. Marriage is a covenant. Porneia breaks the covenant. (Alzheimer’s does not.)
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson told his “700 Club” viewers that divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s is justifiable because the disease is “a kind of death.”
So does he next take it to euthanasia?
how about a newly married 20 year old whose spouse has a stroke or gets into an accident and is going to be in a vegetative coma for the next 50 years?
these artificial life support situations would have never accured in biblical times
McCain and Gingrich are waiting with bated breath.... :)
How terrible, you’re loved one gets sick so go out and found a new husband or wife, I’m ashamed of him for saying that.
Unfortunately, this happened to my brother. Shortly before his 26th birthday, he was hit by a car. He was in a coma. As soon as she got her money from the insurance company, she dumped him. Fortunately, my mother was there to take care of him.
His wife went on to have a miserable life with her second husband and their children never got to know their father.
In that case, what you have is not a marriage vow given to a person, an identifiable individual human being to whom you pledge your life and loyalty, but rather a contract with a service-provider which can be nullified when the other party can no longer perform.
If that's what you want, fine. But it's not marriage.
Shame on him. What part of “til death do we part” does he miss?
I’m surprised Pat didn’t recommend polygamy!
"This premise is Catholic doctrine"? Either you will have to define "This premise" as "the indissolubility of marriage," or you will have to retract this statement.
Perhaps there is some misunderstanding here.
I’m no Robertson fan...but the headline is deceiving.
“I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her,” Robertson said.
He is advocating divorce before flagrant adultery.
I guess I needed to have pulled out an hour or two of research in Cannon Law & the Catachism before I launched. Still, my understanding is that this tragic condition supplies the grounds for annulment, dissolution of the marriage. I appreciate correction and want to be correct.
Jesus said, in the context of Matthew 19, that divorce was permitted by Moses (not God), because of the hardness of one’s heart. He also reiterated the original command that what God joined together, let man not separate.
Exactly what "Catholic doctrine" is Pat Robertson promoting?
“No, I’m equating nonsporting’s perverted view of Christianity with Islam. “
Nonsporting’s post was Biblical. The punishment for adultery was stoning; adultery is a disastrous sin that destroys lives and entire communities.
Jesus may have abrogated the death penalty for it during His ministry (He stopped a stoning in the gospel of John, and there is dispute about whether He wanted to stop just that one for some reason or whether He was ending the death penalty for adultery all together.)
Christian (biblical) view of marriage:
One adult man, one adult woman (polygamy is mentioned in the Bible but NEVER endorsed), woman consents to it, till death, unless adultery occurs, or DELIBERATE abandonment (not illness), wife is to be loved as a man loves himself, wife is to respect and submit to her husband ONLY IN THE LORD, marriage bed is honorable, man may not beat wife.
Muslim view of marriage:
One adult man, as many women as he likes, also girls, apparently also boys; women don’t get to refuse the marriage; divorce ok by simply saying “I divorce you” three times; sex is shameful; femininity is shameful; female adulterers are killed; no such thing as a male adulterer because they can just claim to have married whoever they are doing, even temporarily married for an hour; man may abuse wife at will.
Way beyond comparing apples and oranges. More like comparing heaven and hell.
Frankly the late Dr. Gene Scott made more sense than Pat Robertson much of the time.
My mother suffered through dementia in her last years and my father took great care of her though out. It was a very hard time for all of us. But my father fulfilled his mission and his commitment to her and it was a beautiful thing. His care defined the institution of marriage.
You'll have to cite Canon Law here. It's online
If a person is mentally incompetent at the time of the marriage itself (e.g. if the bride or bridegroom were suffering from dementia at the time of making the vows) the vows would be null. A demented person cannot make a binding vow.
Suffering from dementia after validly marrying cannot retroactively "nullify" anybody's marriage vow.
I guess “until death doe us part” has a new meaning now. Wow! Dump your spouse right as they really need you.
Wrong on all counts. Marriage, according to Catholic doctrine, is a Sacrament, not a contract. Your account of it is quite mistaken.
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Terrible. What about "in sickness and in health"?? What about divorce for other ill health issues? Gaining weight? Losing weight? Losing muscle tone? Loss of job? Hair? Robertson is so, so wrong.
Being a “wife” is a vocation. Wife or Husband does not define personhood. A vocation is defined by a role one exhibits freely. It includes functions and duties, to the husband, family, the Church and the community.
The fly net I have caught myself in is more an arguement about the promise of the vow, the marriage contract, marriage covenant. I was saying that the Church will permit annulments, in some circumstances, which I understood can include these grounds. Opponents say, no, unless at the time of the marriage the condition impeded the free exercise of consent. Something like that. As I said, I should not have launched without sure examples from cannon law, etc. for discussion. I’m checking it out.
I appreciate you pulling that up for me. Now I am left to investigate why I would misunderstood this as to be grounds for annulment. Our family also has some experience with a similar and tragic situation. However, annulments were granted. You can imagine my confusion and need for further research as to why I was informed differently. Oh, my.
Mention the Bible's explicit punishment for adultery and people go nuts!
I'm not going to waste my time posting how many times Christ was chided for hanging out with adulterers. I seem to recall one he saved from your type of judgement. I also seem to recall Christ saying something about even looking at a woman being adultery. Are you saying, Oh Glorious One, you've never ever spent a few extra seconds looking over someone?
You need to reread John 8 and discover why he did not condemn her. The requirements for executing judgment were not met. Her accusers failed to bring "BOTH" parties.