“As pastors of the Catholic Church in the United States, we state as clearly and strongly as we can that violence against women, inside or outside the home, is never justified. Violence in any form”—physical, sexual, psychological, or verbal”—is sinful; often, it is a crime as well. We have called for a moral revolution to replace a culture of violence.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, When I Call For Help
Domestic violence is present in a relationship when one spouse seeks to maintain power and control over the other. It can include physical or sexual violence, but also emotional abuses such as insults, financial control and isolation. Abuse varies by degrees and often escalates. It occurs in every cultural, economic, geographic and religious background, and happens to both men and women.
Although the Bible and Church teachings are often used to justify abusive behavior, the Church has always taught that spouses are equals who should love and respect one another. Although the sacrament of marriage is sacred, it is never the requirement of the Catholic Church that any spouse remain in an abusive and dangerous living situation. The Church should be a place of practical help and spiritual support for all who are suffering in an abusive situation, whether they decide to leave or stay.
If you suspect that you or someone you love is in an abusive situation, or if you would like more information on how your parish can help those who are, please see the resources below. If you have questions please contact Brad or Libby DuPont, Marriage and Family Life consultants: (913) 647-0301, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.