- Posted by Mary's Advocates
- On April 29, 2017
Does Rose Sweet’s divorce program or new E-booklet have permission to publish from the bishop?
Does the updated divorce DVD-series, leadership guide, and personal guide have an imprimatur from author’s bishop of that of the publisher? A publication pertaining to theology, canon law, or religious or moral disciplines cannot be exhibited, sold, or distributed in churches without the publication having the permission of the ordinary of the author or the publisher (i.e., usually one’s bishop). See canon 827 §§2-4.
[ (note added May 2, 2017) I learned the 2017 Surviving Divorce Personal Guide shown here, does not have an imprimatur. I own five other Study Sets from Ascension Press, and they all have imprimatur.]
In 2014, Ascension Press distributed a divorce program: “The Catholic’s Divorce Survival Guide: Helping You Find Peace, Power and Passion After Divorce.” That program included a 12-part DVD series (seen here), leader guide (here), and Personal Survival Guide paperback book (here). The paperback personal guide is copyrighted by the author (2010); the DVD series is copyrighted by the publisher (2014); and the leadership guide is copyrighted by the publisher (2013).
Those three items do not have an imprimatur or permission to publish from a bishop or ordinary. In February of 2016, I sent some comments about the series to the author and publisher, some of which are shown below.
Recently, a free E-booklet has been published by the publisher, Ascension Press, about an updated divorce DVD program. The E-booklet, visible HERE, is titled “A Quick Guide to Divorce and the Catholic Church.” There is no imprimatur or copyright information on the E-booklet. Does a print version of this E-booklet have an imprimatur or permission for publication from the bishop of the publisher or author? If not, churches that follow canon law, will will not exhibit, sell, or distribute the booklet.
The updated DVD program is available, titled “Surviving Divorce: Hope and Healing for the Catholic Family” (seen here). It also includes a 12-part video series, leader guide, and personal guide paperback book. The titles of the DVD videos are identical in the 2017 series as the 2014 series, with four exceptions. The four changed 2017 video titles are so similar to 2014 titles that it is not clear whether the content of the DVD’s has been changed. Has the content been changed?
Original DVD – – – New Name
# 4. Finding Perfect Peace – Dealing with Depression.
# 8. Finding Perfect Power – – Learning to Let Go
# 10. Relearning How to Date – – Deciding about Dating
# 12. Finding Perfect Passion – – Finding Love that Lasts
Do the 2017 updated DVD’s, personal guide, and leader guide have an imprimatur, or permission for publication, from the bishop of the publisher or author?
Marketing a Surviving Divorce series–that makes no mention of the injustice in unilateral no-fault divorce, wherein no distinction is made between the one who reneged on marriage promises and the one who was counting on the promises being upheld—seems as ridiculous to me as marketing a program for Surviving a Communist Slave Labor Camp while making no pleas to right an unjust system and defend those bullied by the system.
The US divorce system routinely deprives children everyday access to a spouse that has never done anything grave justifying separation of spouse. The US system routinely forces innocent spouses to support abandoning spouses and adulterous spouses. Furthermore, the US divorce system forces permanent separations on a spouse who is manifesting a behavior that is only grounds for temporary separation until the behavior is remedied (i.e. dangerous temper fits).
Bai’s comments on 2014 Divorce Program
Below are some comments, I sent in February 2016, about the Divorce Program (see 2014 program here).
In the Personal Guide, on page 90, 96, 100, and 106, the reader is taught to cooperate with divorce.
In the DVD about dating (session 10), absent is any encouragement for the person who is in a valid marriage. The divorced in the session talk about the healing process of annulment. Grounds for annulment are not mentioned.
In the Personal Guide, on page 132, is shown, “Consider staying single. I know some have already made a decision to remain single, perhaps wisely or perhaps simply out of fear or hurt. Think about it; pray about it; talk about it with a therapist or Spiritual Director. But don’t let shutting the door on a new marriage make the children the center of your life or your reason for living – – that’s idolatry. And it will hurt your kids in the long run.”
In the DVD about dating (session 10, minute 26:20 – 26:50) is discussed the option of staying single. This is inappropriate language for Catholics because after divorce viewers are not single; they are married and separated. When a viewer/reader takes the default position favored in canon law, they are told to see a therapist or spiritual advisor.
In the Personal Guide, nowhere could I find any acknowledgment of the possibility that a viewer is truly married to the person from whom they are separated or divorced. The book always uses the secular language and refers to the previous partner as the ex-spouse, or other parent, former spouse, and “we need to come up with a way of seeing the other person that is loving and appropriate but not as a spouse.” (pg 122, 83, 84, 57, 72, 83, 84, 150).