Divorce is not just a legal question, but above all a source of suffering for the couple, the children and their loved ones, the note observes.
The document states that the majority of families still live in "a firm and faithful union," including in countries where the problem of couples in difficulty is more acute.
Yet, "the precariousness of the conjugal bond is one of the characteristics of the contemporary world," says the Vatican note. "It does not exclude any continent or social environment and makes society fragile."
The document refers to the most important issues addressed during the last plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, held from Oct. 17-19, which focused on "Family Pastoral Care and Couples in Difficulty."
Noting the growing "divorce mentality" that "weakens spouses," the council's statement explains that "that to give up without a struggle is something very frequent."
"Divorce is not just a legal question; it is not a passing 'crisis,' but affects the human being," the document says. It is a problem "of a destroyed relation," which will "forever mark" each member of the family, it adds.
"It is the cause of financial, emotional and human impoverishment," the note states.
In particular, the Vatican statement tries to protect children, who are the most vulnerable in these ruptures.
The council attributes the situation to the increasingly secularized world, and the disintegration of the family because of financial difficulties. It also attacks the "false idea of freedom, fear of commitment, the practice of living together, the 'trivialization of sex.'"
The council believes that this culture promotes "lifestyles, fashions, entertainment," which cause doubt about the "value of marriage" and "propagate the idea that the reciprocal gift of spouses until death is something impossible."
Thus, the family institution is disqualified, in favor of "other pseudo-family 'models,'" which even find legal expression in some states, including homosexual unions that ask for the right to adopt children.
The Pontifical Council for the Family calls for a re-evaluation "of love not as happiness-passion, but as a plan of life of integration and openness."
This requires an effort of reflection and formation at the parish and diocesan level, but also of future priests in seminaries.
The council summarizes this commitment of the ecclesial community with three verbs: "anticipate, support, pacify," then "start again."
All these energies, the council's statement concludes, must be "renewed and directed," because "for the couple, a crisis that is overcome might be the starting point of a new stage in their history."