By Lisa Cipriano
Nobody who is getting married ever plans on getting a divorce or an annulment. But, sometimes well intended marital unions simply don’t work out.
The national divorce rate lingers at about 50 percent. And, the Chaldean community is not immune, despite the heavy religious and social implications.
Divorce and annulments are a complicated issue legally, spiritually and emotionally. It can be even more challenging within the confines of the Chaldean Catholic church.
The February 20, 2019 episode of The Mom-to-Mom Show hosted by Lisa Denha and produced by the Eastern Catholic Re-Evangelization Center, touches on all of these complicated angles.
The live show, featuring Iklas Bahoura-Bashi, Lubna Seba and Channelle Kizy-White, explored how the Chaldean Church views divorce and annulments, explains some of the legal issues involved in these processes and talks about the resources available through the ECRC’s newly developed divorce ministry program.
Until recently, there were little to no emotional support resources specifically tailored to members of the Chaldean community who are dealing with the emotional process of divorce or marriage annulments.
Bahoura-Bashi, a licensed therapist and Christian life coach, explains how she developed ECRC’s divorce ministry program after a member of the Chaldean community who had went through a divorce, told her of the healing that she had experienced through a divorce care program offered by the protestant church.
After realizing that there were no similar resources available to Chaldeans going through divorces and annulments, Bahoura-Bashi said she consulted with the church and developed the ECRC divorce ministry support group program based on a Catholic program on surviving divorce. So far, they have held three successful sessions.
She explained the importance of seeking psychological support after a failed marriage, reflecting on mistakes made, working on correcting them, grieving the loss of a marriage and healing before moving forward into another relationship.
Kizy-White, a family lawyer, touched on the often complicated legal process involved in divorces and annulments including financial, property, and custody issues. She discussed how these issues often re-emerge post-divorce when entering into a new relationship and creating new families. Kizy- White also explained the effects that she has seen divorces have on children and the conflicts that can arise between families.
The church’s annulment process is a detailed, complicated and often confusing one that many have questions about.
Seba, who is the annulment coordinator for the St. Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Diocese, explained how the Chaldean Catholic Church views divorces and annulments, how to apply for an annulment and the in-depth and often lengthy process in which an annulment is granted.
She also outlined some of the church’s views and specific teachings on how to move forward spiritually within the church and in relationships after a divorces and annulments.
The panelists also discussed the sensitive subject of infidelity from their own unique, professional viewpoints after a viewer of the live show submitted a question about the common misconception that cheating in a marriage is automatic grounds for annulment.
Seba quickly cleared that up for viewers by explaining that the annulment process is only based on what happens in the relationship prior to marriage and gave a number of examples of what the church looks for in its annulment application questionnaire.
From a therapist’s standpoint, Bahoura-Bashi explained how couples actually can and do move past infidelity and their marriage can emerge even stronger with proper counseling to help regain trust.
As a family lawyer, Kizy-White agreed that, although it is no excuse for cheating, there are underlying problems in a marriage that lead to infidelity. She agreed that couples can successfully work through their problems through counseling and has even seen it happen in her practice.
The importance of pre-marital counseling was also addressed in this informative and comprehensive episode of The Mom-to-Mom Show. The Catholic Diocese has responded to the increased need for couples to learn, before walking down the aisle, about possible issues that could arise in a marriage. Seba explains how ECRC is working to bring more awareness of the sacrament of marriage and what it means through its pre-marital counseling program.
Despite its title, The Mom-to- Mom show is not just for moms. It covers a range of important topics for parents and members of the Chaldean community in general. You can watch it and learn by becoming a member of The Chaldean Moms of Metro Detroit Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/ groups/2208482049379404/