Discerning the Will of God
Relationships and Family
Finding Meaning in Work
Health and Wellness
Nurturing the Creative Spirit
When Life Hurts
Profiles in Faith
Submit an Article
Growing in Faith When A Catholic Marriage Fails
by Antoinette Bosco
Resurrection Press, July 2006,
paperback, 128 pages
Reviewed by Lisa Hendey
In day to day life, when I meet people and discuss the fact that
I build and write for Catholic web sites, I occasionally
encounter individuals who are bitterly separated from the Church
owing to circumstances involving an ended marriage. The common
denominators in these meetings are the sense of pain I feel
emanating from the separated brethren, and the discomfort I feel
in advising them on how to reconcile with the Church.
Thanks to a new book from Catholic author and mother of six
Antoinette Bosco, I now have the perfect resource to offer these
types of friends and acquaintances. "Growing in Faith When a
Catholic Marriage Fails: For Divorced or Separated Catholics and
Those Who Minister with Them" (Resurrection Press, July 2006,
paperback, 128 pages) is the perfect resource for any Catholic
wanting to know more about the Church's ministry to those whose
marriages have ended. Bosco, herself a divorced Catholic, shares
not only her own personal story and perspective but also the
truth about Church teachings, doctrine and processes. This book
is a work of great love, encouragement and hope. For those
dealing with ended marriages, it offers support and practical
wisdom. I plan to keep copies on hand to share with those I meet
who need support an advice when dealing with the difficult
issues of divorce.
I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Antoinette
Bosco, author of Growing in Faith When a Catholic Marriage Fails
and am happy to share her thoughts and insights.
Q: Antoinette Bosco, author and mother, congratulations on the
recent publication of your book Growing in Faith When a Catholic
Marriage Fails. Would you please tell our readers a bit about
yourself and your family?
A: I like to let readers know, first and foremost, that I am the
mother of six children, and also had a son I adopted way back in
the 50's, who was a homeless kid, and turned out to be the most
terrific son one could have. I had an arranged marriage. That
was the custom my Italian father - a wonderful man - believed
in. Unfortunately, the marriage was a disaster, except for the
wonderful gift of having these specific and special children.
The marriage ended in divorce in 1967, and I became a single
parent who had to fully support my family. Not bad news, though,
because this necessity forced me to do an awful lot of writing
and speaking, which also became my ministry of helping people,
after my youngest son Peter, suffering from bi-polar illness,
committed suicide, my son John and his wife were murdered by an
18 year-old, and my adopted son Sterling died of a failed heart
and kidney transplant. I have been a syndicated columnist for
Catholic News Service for 32 years, and I have written 16 books.
Q: Toni, what prompted you to write this book, and what is the
primary message you hope to share with readers through it?
A: I wrote this book because I got a call from Emilie Cerar,
editor at Resurrection Press, in the fall of 2005 asking me if I
would write on this subject of Catholics and divorce.
"Coincidentally," (of course, we know there are no
"coincidences") I had been asked to be the keynote speaker for
the North American Conference of Separated and Divorced
Catholics at Notre Dame University for June 2006. I felt it
would be helpful to have the information I had learned about
Catholic divorce available in book form at the conference, so
that the attendees, leaders in their parishes and dioceses,
could have one more volume of hopefully helpful information to
bring back to Catholics in troubled marriages. So I said yes to
Q: For divorced Catholics who may be separated from the
Church at this time, what steps of healing and hope would you
A: I specifically asked Emilie to title this work," Growing in
Faith", because I believe too many Catholics wrongly believe
that if their marriage fails, they are no longer welcome in the
Church, and that is far from the truth. I wrote this book to
tell the history of the Church's work to help these hurting
Catholics, and to encourage them to stay close to their
baptismal faith, which is their heritage. If they have had a bad
experience with seeking an annulment with a marriage tribunal, I
offer hope that they should try again, perhaps going elsewhere,
because there is always hope that an undiscovered factor was
indeed present that made it impossible for this marriage to be a
truly Christian and valid one.
Q: In your book, you discuss the
possibility that divorce and/or annulment can actually increase
one's faith. Could you please comment on this for our readers?
A: It may seem hard to believe, but I have found many Catholics
who, sadly, had to go through a divorce, and yet found they
emerged stronger as a person, and more connected to God. Why?
Because a bad marriage is a defeating, debilitating situation
for anyone to be in, and it makes one weak, unsure of both the
present and the future, grappling with a terribly diminished
self-image, and often shooting anger and blame at God. When a
Catholic in a bad marriage finally gets the courage to act, that
is, to free themselves from that destructive situation, then one
can begin to move into freedom, and once you are free, then you
can grow in the good ways one deserves. With freedom, you learn
again that God is worthy of your love, and then faith grows.
In your book, you discuss efforts by the Church to minister to
divorced Catholics. Could you please describe some of the
efforts and possibly share some success stories?
A: The Church began to minister to divorced and separated
Catholics in the early 70's. I was part of the first effort in
the country to begin such a ministry, and I saw it grow with
excitement, especially when Bishops would support such groups.
Most every diocese now has a "Marriage Tribunal" staffed by
people well versed in Church teachings, but who are also
professionals, be it in human relations, psychology or theology,
who are available to help Catholics in troubled marriages. Many
Catholics who felt they would be turned away from the Church
found out that, no, they were always welcomed, and many of them
were able to understand that they never really had a "valid
Christian marriage," and were eligible for an annulment, which
gave them the freedom to marry again, if they so wished.
all know friends and family members who have feel alienated from
our Church because of divorce issues. What words of wisdom do
you have for those of us who would like to reach out to family
members and help them reconnect to the faith?
A: To reach out to family members who feel alienated from the
Church because of divorce issues requires great sensitivity. No
one must ever judge, or be critical. Only someone who is inside
the marriage really knows the problems that cause the
destruction of the bond. Never put your love for one on the
line, meaning they must adhere to your criteria or be out of
your life. Just offer love, and practical help, if needed. And
if you have a problem with loving them, just ask yourself, "What
would Christ do?"
Q: Are there any additional thoughts or
comments you would like to share with our readers?
A: I am a person of faith, and for me that means I must be -
fed, nourished - with the Life of the Lord. I believe that is
the truth for all baptized Catholics. And so, my strongest
urging is that divorced Catholics never accept that a failed
marriage makes them unworthy to be nourished by Christ. I would
urge them never to give up on their right to have a full and
deep examination of a prior marriage and why it went wrong. Put
their situation in God's hands and trust in the help of the Lord
For more information on Growing in Faith When a Catholic
Marriage Fails: For Divorced or Separated Catholics and Those
Who Minister with Them visit
Lisa M. Hendey is a mother of two sons, webmaster of numerous
web sites, including http://www.catholicmom.com and
http://www.catholicmom.com, and an avid reader of Catholic
literature. Visit her at http://www.lisahendey.com for more
© Spiritual Woman Press, 2007. All rights reserved.