The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Catechizing Children of Divorce: A Reflection

Authored by Jessica Littler in Issue #8.2 of Catechetical Review

In the United States, approximately “1,000,000 children a year experience their parents’ divorce.”[i] This is a staggering statistic, and it does not account for children whose parents are still married but separated, or who were cohabiting and have gone their separate ways. As catechists, it is certain that we will minister to people from broken families, if we have not done so already. As we encounter these people, we may find ourselves asking whether the experience of parental divorce impacts the faith of children of divorce.[ii] And if so, how can we as catechists respond to their needs? As a child of divorced parents, I have been pondering both of these questions for some time. In sharing my reflections, I am inviting you to ponder these questions with me in order to discern what answers the Holy Spirit leads you to in your particular ministry.

Before going further, I want to clarify that I am not condemning parents who divorce. Divorce is painful for everyone involved and parents never intend for their divorce to negatively impact their children. The hard truth is that it does. Through personal experience and research, I have learned that divorce can affect one’s faith profoundly.

A helpful analogy for understanding the impact of divorce is that of a culture. Children of divorce experience a different “culture” than people from intact families. Addressing the issues arising from parental divorce catechetically involves a process of inculturation. In this process, the threefold catechumenal model—with its pastoral, liturgical, and catechetical aspects—provides a helpful framework for addressing the needs of children of divorce.


[i] “The Need,” LifeGivingWounds.org, 2021, https://www.lifegivingwounds.org/the-need.

[ii] For my purposes, the term “children of divorce” refers to people whose parents have divorced, are separated but still married, or had been cohabiting and are now separated. In this context, “children” of divorce refers to all age groups, because study has shown that experience of one’s parents’ divorce has a profound impact even into the adult years.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting [email protected]

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections— The Eucharistic Congress and the Missionary Year
By Dr. James Pauley
Catholics in the United States have a long history of hosting both national and international Eucharistic congresses. The first of these was in Washington, DC, in 1895, and the last was in Philadelphia in 1976. If your ancestors were Catholic and lived in North America, they may have participated in one of these congresses—in St. Louis (1901), or... Read more
Missionary Worship
By Sr. Jude Andrew Link, OP
There is an interesting phenomenon that occurs in nearly every culture across history: man ritualizes worship. All over the world the similarities are astounding—animal sacrifices, burnt offerings, gifts of grain, the joy of ecstatic praise. It points to a universal sense within man that not only recognizes that there is a God but also knows that... Read more
Ask, Seek, Knock: The Pitfalls and Potential of Catholic Door-to-Door Evangelization
By Joshua Kenny
“He’s just too small,” sobbed a woman we had just met. It was a sunny summer day, and the pastor, transitional deacon, and I were out knocking on doors within our parish boundaries. This woman’s door was within eyesight of the rectory, and it happened to be the first one we had visited. The conversation had started off just as awkwardly as one... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now