Jewish Journal


May 22, 2011

California’s First Catholic Family no more


I doubt I need to bring you up to speed on the Schwarzenegger-Shriver marriage saga. Just in case, here’s the gist: Arnold and Maria announced this month they were separating after three decades together; then last week it became clear why—the former California governor had fathered a secret love child before winning a recall election.

But what has interested me, as I wrote at GetReligion, has been reporter references to Catholicism. Both Schwarzenegger and Shriver are Catholics, and that may have influenced Shriver’s reticence toward getting a divorce. But the news stories that have mentioned Catholicism have offered little depth on the subject. Which led me to ask:

Is it enough to tell readers that Schwarzenegger and Shriver are both Catholic? Or do we also need some explanation as to how Catholicism shaped their marriage? My guess is that Catholic doctrine meant a lot less to their marriage than, say, that of Tolkien.


The statements Shriver has made about her Catholic faith call into question exactly why she would care about the Church’s position on divorce. It sounds more like a cultural hurdle than a religious conviction.

But, as far as my Google searching ability informs me, no reporters have explored this issue in any depth. Instead all we have are a few meaningless references to Shriver sticking with her philandering husband because she is Catholic and good Catholics don’t get divorced.

Much more here. Tell me what you think in the comments section below.

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