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)
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.