Pat Robertson has a reputation for saying strange and nutty things. This Tuesday on 700 Club, Pat Robertson made a really alarming statement. When discussing a married man who had a wife in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease, he gave the opinion that the wife was already dead and the man was released from his wedding vows.
You can imaging the headlines (MSN news) Pat Robertson: Divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer's is justifiable; Associated Press in USA Today and ABC News: Pat Robertson Says Alzheimer's Makes Divorce OK. An accurate analysis of what Robertson really said is found here.
Is Robertson right that divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer's is justifiable because the disease is "a kind of death?" Doesn’t this fly in the face of the “in sickness and in health until death” (assuming people still use traditional wedding vows)?
Without diminishing the intense suffering of Alzheimer's, saying the spouse is “kind of” dead is clearly blowing smoke. This will not allow us to “kind of” dodge Jesus clear teaching on divorce and remarriage.
“Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery” (Luke 16:18).
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (Mk 10:11-12).
The Church has consistently urged us to recognize marriage as indissoluble and that a marriage between a baptized man and woman which has been ratified and consummated “cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death” (CCC 2382).
Death is the separation of the soul from the body before the resurrection, not diminished mental faculties.